Saturday, January 11, 2014

If It Falls, It Might Break Your Legs

Since the New Year began, I've been in the process of moving into the box room in my house. It took a day to move the bookshelves and bed downstairs, and then there were several long waits between getting the correct shelving put up on the walls. I'm still waiting on a couple of CD shelves.

The most noticeable addition to the room is a large square shelving unit from IKEA, Land of the Stylish Furniture, Home of the Ridiculously Convenient Storage and Shelving Units. It sticks out over a foot over my bed, and came with the warning from my older brother, "If it falls, it will break your legs." That's a rough paraphrase, but you get the point.

I like to think of this massive shelving unit as a worthwhile risk. Part of its job is to remove clutter from my desk - I have a set of boxes, one of which will hold miscellaneous office stationary - while also holding a couple of items for storage and some for display. It looks amazing. It will look more amazing when it has been filled with light-enough items. And if it falls, it will break my legs.

I don't think I can stress that part enough.

The reason I bring this up is because, having just finished reading The Curve  by Nicholas Lovell, I'm beginning to recognise the importance of taking risks. In every industry, someone has to take a risk for that industry to survive. Someone has to experiment. Someone has to try something new. Someone has to risk it falling down on top of them, breaking their proverbial legs.

It's probably not the most user-friendly metaphor for risk.

The book was an insight into the world of business, and it helped me make a decision I had been thinking about for a long time. When I publish book three of the Modern Irish Myth series, the books will be put on hiatus in terms of publishing. I will still promote the books. I will still work on the later books in the series - albeit without the immediate intention of publishing. I will still love the books.

The problem isn't how much I like them. The problem is how little they sell for how much time I put into them. That's not a complaint, just a statement of reality. I'm still working on building an audience, generally speaking, and I think maybe people need a different type of book. Heck, I need a different type of book, and I need to see how well I can sell the existing books in the Modern Irish Myth series. I'd also like to redesign the covers. Simplicity doesn't do it, any more. (That actually goes for all my older ebooks. I'd like to do new covers for them.)

This kind of falls into the same sort of thought patterns I had when I was reading The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard, and when I was putting together the plan for a new series of books. I can't just write all of these books that aren't selling as well as I want them to, not if I need the little bit of money I can get from writing others books that are more likely to sell, and that I also really like writing. (It's a rough guestimate, without really having done the maths, but I think Planning Before Writing has earned me about 95% of my royalties in total, and it's only 99 cent, USD.)

So, I'm taking a risk. I'm going to write other books and try them in the market. I'm going to try different things in my life that are based around the other books I'm writing. I may be setting up a small business from this. I don't know yet. (I know I want to, and I know what I would do, I just don't yet know how well I'd be able to do it. I still have more to learn on that matter, but I've been getting there for the past four and a half years, even though this is a more recent idea than, you know, when I started in college.)

Basically, my life is changing and I want it to. I've learned a lot about writing, about business, and about myself in the past few years. I like where my life is heading when I get passionate about something, and I have a magic green folder in my room that says I need to do this. I have articles in magazines telling me to write the things I need to write (for money) that I love writing, and I have books telling me to plan my life in the best way that the money I'm earning is nearly on automatic and whatever other time I have is extremely valuable.

I've needed someone to tell me that, and several authors did in their own ways. That's awesome.

With all of this said, I should probably mention a new book on its way to publication within the next couple of weeks. I finished writing everything but the conclusion earlier this week. Later this month, I'll be publishing 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block (While Improving Your Writing Skills). I'm very excited about it. There are some really simple ideas in it, and some that I think are just wonderful. Every chapter has either a writing exercise to help you develop some aspect of writing while working on getting back to your current work in progress, or some tool for helping develop yourself as a writer and/or a person. (It really depends on what you take from the book.)

I still need to write the conclusion. I need to edit the book. I need to design a cover and write a blurb, and I need to do all of this while also working on my next big project. Before all of that, I need to decide on what my next big project will officially be. I have ideas. I know what I want to publish in March/April. I just don't know if I'll have another in February/March. There's a big one, and a smaller one, and I like them both.

Basically, I'm spoiled for choice on books I love the idea of and really want to write. (These are all writing books. Aside from book three in the Modern Irish Myth series, I don't have a planned novella for publication until September. That's assuming I nothing changes between now and then. That's very possible.) This is a very exciting time to take a risk by abandoning one thing I love writing for another. It could break my proverbial legs if it falls. Or, it could hold up well and look great doing so. Right now, with everything so unpredictable, I can only do my best, go in with a plan, and be prepared to fail spectacularly.

This is why it's so exciting to be a publishing author at this point in time, and even if there's a little bit of mess made along the way, if it all works out well, it really looks well.

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