Last week, I read a blog post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an established writer whose list of works and accolades is as long as my bucket list. Since writing is her full-time occupation, she’s kept herself informed about the comings and goings of the publishing world for self-published authors and traditionally published authors alike.
Apparently, in 2014, authors did more goings than comings.
According to Rusch, authors have been disappearing from the publishing landscape. Some without so much as a farewell. Others with grand public announcements.
Even self-published authors who had boasted great sales.
Even traditionally published authors who had firmly established themselves in the business.
As Rusch put it, 2014 was the “Year of the Quitter.” Exit Stage Right. Adios, muchachos.
I was really surprised by this news, probably because in 2014 I kept my head in the sand, ostrich-like, working on the second Kari Hunter book. I did that intentionally, because every time I poked my head up long enough to look around, authors were running circles around me, boasting how fast they were publishing, how much money they were making, what new genres were hot and earning them a bazillion dollars. And now I find out most of those people are leaving because they’re fed up with publishing or marketing or the gold rush is over or… I don’t know.
I’m an ostrich, remember? This quitting thing is news to me.
For me, 2014 was the year of getting my sh*t together. I spoke before about how I was working hard on the Kari Hunter book even though I sort of had no idea what I was doing. I backed away from social media and my blog. I went silent on author friends. I started practicing Non-Zero Days.
I suppose I could have talked more about this personal journey, but, quite frankly, you would have found it a very boring read. And for me, well, it would have felt akin to lifting up my skirts and giving you a peek at my unmentionables.
Seriously. I know we’re just talking about writing silly books and it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It should be easy, right? Sure, if I want to keep taking four years to write a single book. (No, thank you.) When it comes to changing habits and life processes, there’s a mental game involved. Suddenly I’m fighting a host of inner demons that tell me to procrastinate or I’ll never be good enough or whatever.
I admit there were times I felt like quitting. It’s been two years and the next book still isn’t finished. The stress of that alone is enormous—because every time I pulled my head up out of the sand to check things out, industry “experts” and “successful” authors were saying I was taking too long to write my books, no one’s going to care if I write anything else, and I shouldn’t even bother at this point.
It’s interesting that lot of those experts and authors have dropped off the face of the earth.
And I’m still here. So are you.
I resolved long ago to march to the beat of my own drum, and not those of authors and industry experts around me. There’s something inside me that makes me want to zig when everyone else zags. But I don’t think that’s bad. In fact, I’m proud to be different. My goal as a writer has never been to make a bazillion dollars or hit bestseller lists. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be sad if that happened, but it’s never been a goal. What I want is to contribute to the urban fantasy genre in a way that makes people take it a lot more seriously than they do now. I want to write really great books—books that also march to the beat of their own drum.
If the standard for 2014 was for writers to quit, I’m glad to be different. And if my readers are still here, maybe it means you’re different too.
A lot of readers have sent me notes, saying you’ll wait for the next book, however long it takes. I want you to know that I truly appreciate it. Now I owe you a story that’s worth the wait.
The “Year of the Quitter?” Not for me. Call it the “Year of the Ostrich” if you will. Head in the sand, working everything out.
2015 shall be the Year of the Drum. Or maybe the year of Stubby.
Happy New Year.
Drum photograph courtesy of ctrl_lost.