So I sat down to tally everything up. It was terrifying, mostly because as an Indie writer and first time author, I have few metrics for comparison. What the heck is success supposed to look like? Feel like? Would someone please tell me, 'cause I've been a big bundle of "I don't know" for a while now. Gifts of the Blood is the first book I've ever written. Ever. Unlike most writers I know, whether traditional or Indie, I have never received a rejection letter. I've never sent a query letter, entered a contest, or sent a manuscript to a publishing house. The closest I've come is a writer's workshop where the Gifts series started as an exercise.
6, 617 books
I'm officially out-earning my last two jobs
As I'm finishing up the third Gifts book, I'm facing a lot of decisions. I'm finally making enough money at this Indie gig that I could conceivably do this for a living. I'm blessed that I work in education, which gives me a great degree of flexibility should I decide to go back to the classroom and write at the same time.
But more importantly than that, I circle back to the question of what to write next, and how? Should I write for an Indie release? Or try for a traditional agent/ publisher? It matters because I don't want to start plugging a series on my own and then try to pitch it to an agent/publisher.
It would be easier if I had strong Indie ideals. I do strongly believe in the value of an Indie movement, but I've said from day one that I think of "Indie" as an aesthetic ideal rather than strictly a financial one. To me, Indie simply means enhanced artistic and creative freedom, which ultimately leads to better art. It gives me the power to choose. I have no axe to grind. Maybe it's time I rack up some rejection letters of my own, or maybe I'll succeed in going traditional. Who knows? Maybe I'll stay right where I am and keep releasing books. That's a winning scenario: happy fans with reasonably priced books; a happy writer who keeps learning with each release.
Looking forward to Round 3, I'm thinking about tweaking the writing goal slightly: 5 days with fewer word counts instead of four days of massive 1500 word chunks. More blogging but shorter, more informal posts and as always, more accountability about "the business of books." I had hoped to have at least one more release by now. Some things were beyond my control, like the month of killer tornadoes or the single one that destroyed my house and injured my husband. Some other things were on me, like the fact that I just refused to release Darkness in the Blood before I felt it was ready. Readers wanted that book ASAP. It shocked me. Having fans was a pleasant surprise, but fans who want Darkness now now now? Downright shocking. But by waiting I have both a product I'm happy with and a much better sense of my writing pace.