February 18, 2021 in Dag

I need the time to make it shine

There’s a writers group I’m in on Facebook.

Actually, there are several writers groups I’m in on Facebook. Not that I participate particularly actively in any of them. Generally, I kind of lurk. It helps to get a sense of what’s happening in several different subsets of the writing world. Maybe, just maybe, I might learn something useful. Plus, I’m a terrible stickybeak, always interested in poking around for information and seeing what other people are up to.

To be honest, those writing groups are pretty much the main reason I’m still on Facebook. With everything going on in recent years and all the hoohah about the behaviour of the social media companies, I’d happily rid myself of the lot. But…as much as I hate to say it, they do provide an interesting window into various aspects of the world I just can’t drag myself away from.

Anyway, enough about that. I’m talking about this particular group. I won’t name it. Hate for them to realise I’m spying on them. But it’s a group focused on strategies for successful self-publishing. And the main thing I can glean from the limited time I spend on it is that quantity is king. The real key to successful self-publishing is to keep up a busy publishing schedule. And I mean really busy.

In this group, you see regular posts from participants crowing about their ‘production rates’. It’s pretty standard to see people talking about 5 6, 7 books being published in a year, and even in some cases double figures.

Now I can’t criticise this modus operandi. Especially not if it’s leading to success for these people. But if this is the only way to get any kind of a return from being a self-published author, I have to say I’m proud of my lack of success. Because this is a rate of production I could never, and would not ever want to, aspire to.

The idea of producing a completed book in a matter of months, or at worst a couple of weeks, is something that horrifies me. Partly, this is because unfortunately writing is still a part-time, whenever I can squeeze it in, type of activity. But mainly, it’s because to me, the writing of a book is something to be savoured. You need to draw out every aspect of the narrative. You need to tend to it and polish it and take the time to make it shine.

Even with my shorter novella-length works, the time between getting the first word down and hitting publish is usually over a year. And as for a novel-length work, this is something that will take several years. It’s been almost four years since I started on my current WIP, and I’m still likely a year away from completion.

Maybe I’m playing this all wrong. Maybe if I adopted this production-line approach, I’d actually get some return for my efforts. But I could never do it any differently. I aim to make my books as special and unique as I can. Maybe nobody else will ever know the difference. But I will.

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