Happy New Year! It’s 2018, and I’ll turn forty in a few weeks.
Some of my peers have enjoyed major leaps forward in their career, or their family, during the past year or two. I don’t feel as if much has changed for me. That’s a frustrating feeling. When I look back at what I accomplished in a year, it doesn’t seem like enough. I finished the final draft of Book 1, and I’m halfway through finalizing Book 2. I also began writing Book 6. I’m on track to finish my enormous epic series this year or next.
But where’s my audience? Shouldn’t I be building my readership? How do I expect to compete with the millions of other SFF authors who are busy promoting and cross-promoting?
Yeah. That’s what I need to work on.
If you are one of my readers, please understand how grateful I am. My blog posts sometimes veer into naked angst, as I’m on the journey to becoming an “authorpreneur,” or self-made author. My heroes are Scott Sigler, Hugh Howey, Andy Weir, Drew Hayes, Michael J. Sullivan, and a bunch of other self-made authors who built an underground following and made it into the mainstream. I want a career like theirs. I write epic sci-fi and fantasy, and I’m confident that I’ve got something original and unique, and, well, exceptionally good. But proving that is different from doing it. There’s writing books, and then there’s selling books, and those two endeavors are not the same.
Before I publish Book 1, I need to send out ARCs (advanced reader copies), and ask for reviews and endorsements. I need to firm up my launch plan and set a date. I need a good cover artist, and I need to find a good audiobook narrator. I want to hire a virtual assistant to help me with ads and promo and newsletter activities. I’m afraid of blowing a lot of money on the launch, only to have the whole series fizzle and die along with my author career. This launch will be the culmination of decades of hard work, for me. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime risk. I’ll publish other series, but I doubt I’ll ever put this much effort and stress into one again.
You can help by asking for a copy of the first book of my series. It has an ending, so even if you’re not a series reader, you’ll still get a kick out of it, especially if you have any interest in exploring crowd psychology through a SFF lens. I’ll be happy to send you a free e-book version, in exchange for an honest review when I hit the “publish” button.
Here’s a few highlights from my past year:
- I enjoyed a vacation in South Korea, right when all those nuclear threats were flying around.
- I visited New Orleans for the first time, during the French Quarter Festival.
- I made a few dollars worth of passive income, through RedBubble, 3DExport, and TurboSquid. I only have a few illustrations and 3D art assets for sale, so it’s cool whenever someone buys one, because I know they’re a random browser who doesn’t know who I am.
- I’m very proud of the short story I have published in the Futuristica sci-fi anthology. This is one of my best.
- I got into trading cryptocurrencies, and it looks like I may make a few extra hundred or thousand dollars, although nothing is guaranteed in the crypto underworld. It’s a lot more exciting than investing in stocks, since it’s so volatile, with so much mystique.
And a few things upcoming in 2018:
- I’ll have an article published by Writer’s Digest.
- I’m going to get a Lasik consultation. Since my eyesight is -10, I probably won’t be eligible for the surgery, but I’m curious about new alternatives, such as lens implants.
- My travel plans include the Cayman Islands, thanks to the awesome company where I work.
- And I’m likely going to take a trip Europe later this year, possibly to Scotland, or to Austria.
- I’m still co-hosting the Stories for Nerds podcast, but I’m considering attempting something strange and new on Twitch.tv.
- I will try my best not to let being forty years old and single get me down. Treasure what you have.