I just finished a book. I'm setting it aside for a month to mellow, as is my new procedure.
This is a good time to think about what I'm trying to do.
I can write no end of stories, apparently. And maybe that's what I'll do. I seem to be almost addicted to the process. Life feels a little empty when I'm not writing.
But I'm not sure what I'm accomplishing.
I mean, writing for my own well-being is a worthy goal and in the end maybe all that matters. But there is no way to break through to a wider audience that makes any sense.
I figure if I did all the marketing I could do, the chances of having a good result is maybe 10%. Better than the 0% if I don't do any marketing, but not good enough to spend all the time and effort and social cost.
I've always had the idea that if I wrote a good enough book that word-of-mouth would take off. Well, either I've not written that book, or word-of-mouth isn't going to do the job.
I've had more success than I expected. I've been published (paid) by 10 different publishers in my career. So it's not a fluke.
And if I do say so myself, they are a lot better than I thought I could do when I started.
It has been my decision from the start not to try very hard to break into mainstream publishing, which I think is a snakepit. I was invited in--and sure enough, it didn't go well. Someday I'll tell that story--but I rather thought it was an abusive relationship and who needs that?
I've allowed myself to write what I want when I want. I think this is the right decision. I don't chase the marketplace--in fact, often when I start a book I'm aware it isn't very commercial. I'm also trying to allow myself to experiment.
For instance, this latest book is more about mood and ideas than it is about action. The mood and ideas are hanging on a very lean action plot, which I think is cool. But I'm not sure it works. That's the point--not being sure what works and what doesn't but trying anyway.
So philosophically, I'm not sure what I want to do next.
More practically, I have a series of books that I either didn't quite finish or which need extensive re-writing. So far, as long as there was a new book in the works, I've done that instead. But someday it would be nice to set aside some time to get those other books ready, even if they need to be published under a penname.
But re-writing is actually harder for me than doing a new book, and if these books are weak, the equation has always been--write a new book and try to be better.
But....seeing 10 stories that I liked and which I thought had potential just sitting there is kind of maddening.
I basically want to get drunk, run them through a quick rewrite, and get them out and damn the quality. But...
So anyway, as of this moment I'm probably going to pick up my first book again, Faerylander, and give it one more try. Really try to assert my author's voice, see if I can't make it work.
It's a daunting task.
A lot more daunting than just taking a kernel of an idea and starting a new story.
4 days ago