The problems of success
As pointed out last week, Mad Genius Club has been around for over 10 years, now. This means it’s older than the average career of a fiction writer… and more than twice the lifespan of the average indie writer. The advantage of a group blog is that as writers get burned out, they can take a break or leave, but the group is still here – and thanks to Dave Freer, Sarah Hoyt, and Amanda Green holding down the cornerstones and surviving through it all, this place is still awesome. (Check out their books! Good stuff, and thanks to long careers, they have lots to choose from!)
As the bloggers and commenters have been here a while, the questions start to change. Starting out, the problems are simple, clear, and everybody has them. How do I tell the story in my head? How do I get published? How do I get noticed? But when you’ve been around long enough, you have the problems of success, and the problems of having a career. When and how do I end a series, and how do I minimize the impact to my income, and draw readers to other books? When do I rebrand all of my covers, and rewrite my blurbs? What are the advantages and disadvantages of anthologies, or of going hybrid? How do I get my rights back? When is it time to incorporate? What provisions do I make for a literary trust in my will?
Hopefully, we’ve answered a lot of these to your satisfaction, as well as helping the authors who are just working on their first, second, or third books – or pointed you to someone who can!
Speaking of people with the long-term perspective on a writing career, Kris Rusch this week tackled the question of writers who want to write a book of the heart instead of the series or genre they’re locked into. What is a book of the heart? It’s the thing you really, really want to write, instead of what you’re contracted to write or your fans expect you to write, or your series momentum depends on you getting the next one out in this month / this quarter.
For example, Peter wants to write another western – but the main cash flow comes from the space opera & mil SF. How do we work that in, creatively and cash flow wise?
Also, she links into that piece on another timely topic: burnout. As the days get shorter, the dark crashes in an hour earlier and gaining, and everything seems frantic and getting in the way of writing with the holidays approaching, it’s good to take some perspective and take stock.