Encouragement Day Q & A …by Susan Lute

IMG_4162 Hands Pushing Through 2 A wonderful thing happened Saturday. I went to Rose City Romance Writers Encouragement Day. Nine of us gathered together at a local eatery. We ranged from brand new writers to old dragons like me – I won’t name names. And we talked about everything under the writing sun, starting with what each of us are currently working on, what we hope to accomplish this year.

Here’s how it went:

Q. Should we traditionally publish, or go self-pub? Answer: It depends on the book. Consider – is it strong enough to go all the way? Some novels lend themselves more to traditional publishing and others to indie. Advice from the dragon ladies: try traditional first. There’s so much to be learned from pitching to agents and editors, having your project requested, submitting, flirting with possible acceptance and contract, then learning from rejection. And if your novel is super polished, and ready for a different kind of big time it’s good to self-publish too. It gives you a whole different perspective on publishing in general when you’re in charge of production from beginning to end.

Q. What kind of writer am I? A pantser or a plotter. Answer: There’s no “right” way to write a story, and every writer is different. Personally I’m an organic, linear pantser who plots each scene, but not the whole book. Because it makes perfect sense to plot, I try, but every time I do, the more mired I become. Then I can’t write at all. Sooner or later I give up and go back to the way that is natural for me.

Q. How many hours a day do we write? And how do some authors write more than one book a year? Answer: Good question. It led to another question – how many held full time jobs and how many were full time writers? It was about half and half. Interestingly, those of us who hold full time jobs talked about writing hours per day or weekend. Those who write full time talked in terms of words per day. Time management tip: write in 90 minute increments. Also, check out this book by Rachel Aaron, 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, And Writing More Of What You Love.

Not a Q. Windtree Press has an exciting year coming up. Stayed tuned.

Q. Anyone having luck with rights reversions on traditionally published books? Answer: NO!bigstock-opened-book-lying-on-the-book-12763865

And the most debated Q. Does engaging in all the social media, blog hopping, and book tours really effect sales? Answer: Not so much. Advice: Step away from full frontal marketing and write the next book. The more novels an author has for readers to read, the greater their sales.

In the end, as we gathered out coats, it was observed – writers have a voice all their own, and no matter what genre they write in that voice stays the same. The chances of an author changing her voice to suit the market is probably zero.

Final conclusion: all we can do is write the next unforgettable novel. Impossible? That would be a big, fat NO!

PS. Once again I thank Jessa Davis for the use of her hands.

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About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on February 3, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. How did I miss this post? See you Saturday!

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  2. I’m so glad you were able to do this! What a wonderful idea!

    Thank you for sharing all this information, Sue and everyone who commented!

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  3. A great recap, Su! It was a fun time and highly productive. As one of the old dragons, I think the best point made regarding all the potential publishing routes an author can take today relates to the audience. Are we writing to a global audience or a niche market? Niche markets are easier to find through social media now.

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  4. I used to get all worked up about making sure I kept things going for my social media, but I have made a resolution to create blog posts (and then schedule them) only on Mondays. This frees up the rest of my week for working on the next book.

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  5. Social media can suck up so much of a writer’s time. If it isn’t truly effective in encouraging book sales, then as you said, spend the time writing the next book. I’ve heard that advice, over and over again. So, today, I’m ignoring social media (after this morning) and writing the third book in my trilogy.

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  6. It was a wonderful get together. I am only sorry I had to leave early. I do have one other comment about indie vs traditional pubs sales trajectories. I’ve read this in other places and I’m just starting to experience it myself.

    In traditional publishing the push for discoverability, word of mouth, and sales tracking is all in the weeks leading up to release and perhaps a month or so after that. This has been the way of print books for decades and it has trained most of us “mature” authors in looking to the sales we generate in the first month or two and believing that’s it. So, if we sold only 100 books we think that’s the end of it. It used to be that making it on a bestseller list was all about velocity–how much you sold in a few weeks, because after a month your publisher had already moved on to the next months push.

    In epub and indie pub, the trajectory is completely backwards from that. It is more of a slow build than a fast burn sales trajectory. You get the book out there and it starts to build through reviews, one person telling another, perhaps a large blogger picking it up. About 8 months later you start to see the build. This is where writing the next book also comes into play. When the next book gets released (let’s say it is released at month 6 or 7) that gives another opportunity for your name to catch on. “Oh, I’ve heard of her before. Oh, I remember someone mentioning she wrote book x and it was pretty good. Wow! She actually has more than one book out!”

    Each book builds on the last (assuming you have a similar readership for each book), and as it gets passed around and people talk about it momentum begins to build. For many indies the sales become more noticeable in month 8 and 9 and year 2 and 3. So far, this has been my experience as well. My first Indie book (released in July 2011) started making more consistent sales around Spring 2012 when my trad pub book started getting more reviews and notices. It then picked up even more in July and August 2012 when I released my next indie book–even though the first was SF romance and the second was Romantic Women’s Fiction (RWF). The new RWF release didn’t get a lot of bites, but the old SF release just kept climbing. Now that I’ve released the second book in my RWF series, the first book is selling as much or more than the second book. As readers review a book and they like it, they want to read the next thing I write and go back to look at what else I have available.

    As for blog tours, advertising, etc. I’m still collecting data on that for myself. At some point I’ll share that at another Encouragement Day get together. 🙂

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