Posted by Christy Hayes
As a self-published author, I belong to several yahoo loops where authors can ask questions and discuss the business. This post came directly from author Athena Grayson in answer to someone’s question about self-publishing. It was too good not to share and I think it speaks to all writers. Every time I read it, I get more out of it. Thank you, Athena, for allowing me to repost your words.
1. Nothing–I repeat, NOTHING–is more important than telling a good story. Tell the best story you can, always. Doesn’t matter if it takes you ten minutes or ten years, the reading public will still be here when you’re done.
2. You have a conscious choice in the current times to pursue your writing as a career professional, a hobbyist, or place yourself anywhere on the spectrum between the two. Where you place yourself is a personal choice, and it will affect what advice is most useful to you at that time. And IT IS OKAY if you just want to be a hobbyist. No one would criticize you for not being the editor of Knitting magazine whilst enjoying knitting baby hats for friends, neither do you have to be a career author to want to understand the industry.
3. Having said that, it’s not a bad idea to keep in mind that anything you put out for consumption by others should absolutely be the best work you are capable of (again, at that time–we do as we know best, and as Oprah says, when we know better, we do better). Cross your i’s and dot your t’s, if you will. 😉
4. If you are incorporating money into your writing, keep in mind Yog’s Law: Money Flows TO The Writer. In the era of self-publishing, there are some necessary costs, but they are specific services provided by people you employ for specific jobs, and they exist because as an indie author, you are acting as a publisher, and those costs are incurred by you as publisher, NOT you as writer. Also, you are free to fire them if they do not perform as expected. There are a lot of people in the world who realize there’s money in selling dreams, and there’s a Special Hell waiting for them in the afterlife. Don’t pad their coffins in this life with your cash, though.
5. The best advertisement for any piece of work you put out there is the next work. Whether you’re seeking dollars or eyeballs, new content is king.
6. There will always be somebody out there who’s selling more than you, faster than you, or who’s written more than you, faster than you. That person is not important to your accomplishments. This is not a contest, and it is not a zero-sum game. Time, brain cells, emotions, and self-esteem are WASTED comparing yourself to others, so don’t do it. As a writer, your only competition is yourself. There is NO ONE out there who can be more YOU…than you.
Athena Grayson spends her time hacking the Great Narrative through quirky love stories about people who are just a bit left-of-center. She shares her life lessons about redefining herself at her blog at www.athenagrayson.com and on Twitter at @Athena_Grayson via the #lifeact2 tag. Her latest novel, Rude Awakening, tells the story of a man’s Otherworldly mid-life crisis, and the woman who could be his second chance at happiness, if they can allow themselves to believe in magic again.