Digging Out of Distraction: Learning to Pivot in Author World
Romancelandia has been very noisy during the last several weeks. Many negative things have happened which have made sitting down to write words difficult. Romance authors have taken a lot of hits, myself included, and I bet most of us are questioning why we're even doing this anymore. I know I have questioned sitting down for hours alone in a room to write stories which, quite frankly, are part of an ocean of romances that are underpriced and many of us are struggling to sell a book for less than a high priced mocha latte.
The biggest hit to my career was Amazon's sudden announcement that they were closing down Kindle Worlds in July 2018. This came out of nowhere (I had just blogged about how much I loved writing romantic suspense in this world less than a month ago) and the World Author owners along with the many writers who contributed to these worlds are still trying to figure out what to do. I was ready to start working on my third story for Elle James' Brotherhood Protectors' Kindle World, but decided to park until my wonderful leader, Elle, made some decisions about what to do next. We all love the world. We all adore Elle. There is good news on the horizon, but that's a blog post for another day.
I had to pivot away from my stories that I'd planned and refocus my energy in a new direction. What would I work on after I finished my current boxset novella for the Royal & Reckless Boxset? And where did I want to put my energy for the next several years to come if Romancelandia continues to become more difficult to navigate?
The first thing I did was reevaluate my strengths and what I loved doing the most. I love writing, editing, and encouraging/motivating people. Deep content editing as a Drill Sargeant at Bootcamp Edits along with story coaching gives me the opportunity to encourage and motivate romance novelists to improve their craft and stories. Writing my romances fulfills me and I love creating new worlds with new people. Exploring how two people grow to be the perfect people for each other despite their flaws and developing their journey toward their happily ever afters is something I enjoy despite how much work goes into the process.
Because these stories aren't easy to write. They're hard work. Every book presents a different challenge. The same process goes into developing a well-crafted long romance as into a short romance. The only difference is the number of words required to complete the story. Add to that I have become 100% independently published. I'm all Indie all the way. This means getting my own work to editors, hiring cover artists, formatting, and uploading every book I write myself along with marketing the books prior to and after publishing. I wear a LOT of hats. I say NO to a lot of things because I wear a lot of hats.
Every cut into my income stream impacts how and when and what I can do for my stories. I also want to deliver quality love stories to my readers. To be honest, I'd love some help with marketing these books because it's not really in my wheelhouse to check algorithms and make perfect Facebook Ads (I don't even try anymore where that's concerned) and doing the marketing stuff kills my creative brain as quick as a person stepping on a bug.
But I am trying some new things, out of the box things, that might reach readers in a different way. Hopefully, these methods will translate into more sales and more reach via using a strength that is in my wheelhouse: connecting one-on-one with people in real life and via other media outlets.
However, for now, I have to get back to where do I need to focus my energy today so I can sustain a lifelong career as an author? First, I gave myself a little Royal Wedding Break, then gave myself permission to take a break from writing romances during the month of July. I've got a non-fiction project I want to work on instead. My dad's memoir about his life which includes being interred in a Japanese Concentration camp during most of his adolescence. So that's what I'm going to do and I'm thrilled to dig into this project. And, fun fact, I alluded to this memoir in TEMPTING THE HEARTBREAKER: Hollywood Heartbreakers Book 1.
Then, as I waited to hear about what would happen regarding my Kindle World books' future, I continued working on my fun, sexy Reckless & Royal story and made plans to revise another story for an October/November release this year. I also dusted off a story I'd written last year that was going to be part of a small town series I had in mind for future publication.
A funny thing happened along the Brainstorming Trail. An older idea I had for the small town series began bubbling to the surface and wouldn't stop pinging me. I let the idea continue to germinate and opened my mind to ALL the possibilities. Voila! A new, different, fun, exciting series is being discovered. This is GOLD! Platinum. The best part is I don't have to rush it. Because I've decided to pivot in another way which is the polar opposite of what I'm "supposed" to do in Indie Romancelandia.
I'm taking my time. I'm not rushing this series. I'm thinking long term. I'm still writing some standalone romance novels and going to participate in other cool romance writing projects, but this series is going to carry me through a lot of years if I remain focused on the end game. Best of all, I'm very excited to work on this ongoing project/series.
I'm not pivoting to chase the next "this is what's hot in romance now" stories. I'm pivoting to create a series that'll sustain my creativity and my writing soul while actively pursuing other projects and enjoying my personal life too.