The Business Rusch: Popcorn Kittens!

 

 

The Business Rusch: Popcorn Kittens!

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Last June, my friend, the marvelous writer Dayle Dermatis, sent me a kitten video.  Now, this exchange of cat videos is not uncommon among a certain group of us.  Yes, we’re the ones that keep all the YouTube cat videos in the top 100.

Anyway, this video has become important because its title has wiggled its way into the lexicon of a rather large group of writers.  First, watch the video even if you don’t like cats or cat videos.  I promise this little moment of your time will have more value than simple entertainment.

The key reason Popcorn Kittens worked its way into our lexicon was timing.  The video arrived in my e-mail box as I started to realize that this indie publishing thing was going to work. The problem with that is…I have a million projects that suddenly clamored for attention.

No longer was I bound by the rules of traditional publishing.  I have a dozen novels that I couldn’t sell because they crossed genre lines or (in the case of science fiction) they had been done in 1965, and so of course we couldn’t do that same old thing again.  (Nonsense! If that were true, then the entire romance and mystery genres wouldn’t exist.  People falling love? It’s been done.  A murder in a back alley? It’s been done.)

Then there were the series that I had to abandon because of the changes in publishing.  In the 1980s and early 1990s, book publishers loved series.  More than that, they loved poaching series from another publisher.  Publisher A couldn’t make your series work? Publisher B was happy to snatch up the next book—mid-series—and prove to Publisher A how stupid their marketing department was.

But with the collapse of the distribution system in the late 1990s, the consolidation of publishing houses, and the layoff of countless employees, suddenly this poaching practice stopped.  A series wasn’t doing as well as it could for Publisher A? Well, then no other publisher would touch it.  A series was doing passably well for Publisher A? Then no other publisher would want it mid-book, because they’d have to grow the series—and that wasn’t a guaranteed bestseller.

I had one series die in that mess, but I saw the warning signs on the wall, so I wrapped up as quickly as I could.  I sold three other series in that time period, and they continued for years—into the new century, when a new problem struck with two of those series: they weren’t growing fast enough.

I’ve mentioned this before in my blog, because I think it’s the stupidest trend in traditional publishing. Series after series—and not just mine, but dozens of others—get abandoned by their publisher because the sales figures, while increasing, aren’t increasing by some set percentage established arbitrarily by bean counters somewhere.  In the past, any smart publisher would have been happy with a one- or two-percent increase per book.  Suddenly, the books needed 10% or more.  (I had one poor editor tell me that 10,000 new readers coming in to the print edition from a promotion one of my subsidiary rights publishers was doing “wasn’t enough” to sustain the series.  Um…what?)

Two of my new series fell to that silliness. And the third, well, the publishing house so mismanaged that series (to the point of sending me on a book tour but not providing the books to the bookstores) that they effectively murdered it.  This series, which is a bestseller overseas, was making me crazy, because I wasn’t sure how to sustain it now that the American publisher had abandoned it.

Enter indie publishing through the side door.

Let me pause here, and repeat something I’ve said in previous blogs (which a lot of you ignore, but here I go again): By indie publishing, I do not mean just e-publishing.  I mean paper books as well.  Indie publishing has grown easier for the writer. She can put her books up as e-books, but she can also make a trade paperback available through many, many retail outlets. See my husband Dean Wesley Smith’s blog series titled “Think Like a Publisher” for examples of how to do both effectively.

I started looking at indie publishing in the spring of 2009. That’s when I began posting regularly here on my blog, thanks to help from Scott William Carter and Michael J. Totten.  I took the plunge so that I could write a book that I felt needed to get published at the beginning of the recession, and I knew that no publisher would even look at the manuscript quickly enough, let alone buy it, publish it, and support it, to get it out in time.

So I wrote the book chapter by chapter online.  I finished last summer, then published it.  The book is my Freelancer’s Survival Guide which is available as an e-book and as a trade paper as well as free here on this website.  I discovered some freedom as well.  I buy a lot of business books, paying full price when often what I want is just a single chapter.  So I decided to put up parts of The Freelancer’s Survival Guide as individual e-books, organized by topic. For example, if all you want is the section on negotiation, you can read it on the blog or you can order the separate short e-book.

I would also like to revise at least one chapter of the Guide, because circumstances have changed my opinion over time.  When I get the chance to do that, I can turn in the revision, and within days, the revised Guide will be for sale again.

But when I’ll get to that is anyone’s guess….because, well, you’re seeing a popcorn kitten here.  And I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Freelancer’s Guide convinced me that indie publishing was a viable road for my own special projects.  I knew that indie publishing would be part of my writing income, but I figured it would be a small part.

Then, in January, we put up three novellas, one connected to my Diving universe books (The Spires of Denon) and two connected to my Retrieval Artist universe (The Recovery Man’s Bargain andThe Retrieval Artist).  We did no advertising. Because we were learning the format was bad and the covers were worse.  (We have since fixed most of them.)

But the books started selling at numbers that, while small, were significant.  And Dean, bless him, did the math.  (See his post on the math here.)  We realized even without a blow-out bestseller, like J.A. Konrath had, we could make a lot of money indie publishing.  In fact, the math showed that not only was economically viable to continue the three series that New York had passed on, it was one of the soundest business decisions we could make.

At the same time, I sold my novel Wickedly Charming to a traditional publisher, reviving my Kristine Grayson career.  And then I sold six more books to the same publisher—four of which I had to write.  I sold two more novels to my sf publisher in the Diving universe, both unwritten.

I also had promised short stories to various outlets, and of course, I had my blog.

And, and, and…suddenly I had more work than I had had in years.  To make things more complicated, the moment I decided to continue the older series, the subsidiary rights publishers wanted them and were willing to contract ahead.

Deadline after deadline, project after project—and, and, all these other projects, the books that hadn’t sold, the sequels to those that wanted to be written, the short stories I hadn’t yet done because markets for that type of short fiction had dried up, and and and…

Into that mental mess, the Popcorn Kittens video arrived, and it perfectly illustrated my state of mind. Those kittens, on that tarp, represented my viable writing projects.  They milled about in my brain—free at last from the prison that traditional publishing had relegated them to—and they all wanted attention.

One would jump, then another, and then another. Occasionally one peered at the camera longer than another.

Each time I realized I could write this project, I got distracted. Then a moment later, I realized I could write that project, and I got distracted all over again.  This weekend, a writer who hadn’t heard the popcorn kitten analogy described the experience using her dog as an example:  She’d be working along and then—squirrel!—she’d get distracted like her dog would outside and then — squirrel! — she’d get distracted all over again until her brain became squirrel, squirrel, squirrel.

It’s a great problem to have, and one that’s caused by a freedom I’ve never had as a published author:  I can write what I want, and it’ll be published guaranteed.  In the past, I could also do what I wanted, but I risked working for months on a project that never sold. As you can see from my mention of unpublished inventory above, it happened to me often—especially in the last several years.

Granted, what I write and publish might not sell well by New York standards.  Or hell, I don’t know, it might all take off.  But I do know that I have thousands of fans per series who have been clamoring for the next book.  Those fans, at least, will be happy when the next book arrives.

I also get to stretch my wings and continue projects that I started for the love of them, but couldn’t continue because no publisher wanted to take a risk on them.  And I’m seriously considering side projects on existing works—things I know are not marketable in traditional publishing, but would be fun as hell to write.

And, and, and—

(Breathes deeply as she tries to control the popcorn kittens, suddenly springing up inside her brain—Squirrel!)

I’m not the only writer experiencing popcorn kittens.  Most writers who understand what kind of freedom this new publishing world gives us are also experiencing their own version of popcorn kittens.  Established writers are joyful and overwhelmed.  New writers are frightened, overwhelmed, and relieved that they no longer have to play games to get their novels read—and they’re worried about rising above the noise. (See my post on promotion to answer that problem. [link])

I’ve had the popcorn kitten problem for a year now, and it’s finally starting to ease.  It’s not abating, not really, and I still get overwhelmed with what I want to do.

But I’ve mostly got it under control.

First, I built a schedule.  It has the firm deadlines on it—the ones that come from outside forces like traditional publishers or subsidiary rights houses.  It has the internal deadlines on it—when I need to have a story to coincide with a new book release or when I need to have background work done.

And it has time built in for all of my various projects from short stories to stand-alone novels to series novels to nonfiction.  I’m happily busy.  My biggest worry these days isn’t whether some editor in New York will buy one of  my books.  My biggest worry is pacing myself so that I don’t burn out.  I want to continue enjoying my work.

So I adhere to the schedule (mostly) and sometimes I have to remind myself that the project I’m working on is one I really wanted to write so that —Squirrel!— I don’t lose focus and move onto the wrong project too quickly.

I’m also careful to make sure that the only voice in my office is my own.  I know that my Kris Nelscott fans want the next Smokey Dalton novel, and my Kristine Grayson fans (who just got Wickedly Charming) want the next Grayson novel ASAP, and my Diving fans want the next Boss novel (January: It’s called Boneyards) and the Fey fans want the Place of Power novel, and, and, and…

If I think about that too much, I won’t write the surprise novels, the ones that might please the Fey fans as much as the Smokey Dalton fans.  And if I have too many people’s voices in my office, I won’t get anything done.  I work at home, alone, for a reason.

And that reason is so that I can let the creativity flow uninterrupted.  I thought the creativity was flowing uninterrupted before. I tried to keep market considerations out of my office, but apparently they had crept in anyway, like Carl Sandburg’s fog, on little cat feet.

Now that they’re gone, I — Squirrel!

Ah, heck. Go watch a kitten video, think about the freedom we can all have in this new world of publishing, and realize that this freedom is a really, really, really good thing.

“The Business Rusch: Popcorn Kittens!” copyright 2011 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

 

 

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46 Comments

  1. I love the kitten video. And thanks for sharing this. It’s good to know I’m not alone in feeling kinda overwhelmed by all this opportunity. With four novel projects I want to finish, and a couple that I’m working on getting published, and there’s those short stories that I maybe could do something with, and … Well, some days I’ve ended up cleaning out closets to try and clear my mind. And I hate cleaning closets. Building a schedule sounds like a much better plan!

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  2. LOL for me its not squirrel or pop corn cat but
    its — DWS, no KKR, no DSW, no KKR, …. : ) and a whole new world of fun

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  3. Thanks Kris, and speaking as a fan, I have the same problem with books I want to read. Rediscovering series from authors that are getting up their backlists, or discovering books that I haven’t read. Plus all of the books on my shelves that I haven’t read, and more coming out all the time from great new authors and it’s the same thing.

    Then add in the writing and publishing projects and —

    squirrel!

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    • Forgot to add that I’m having the same experience you are, Ryan, with the books I want to read. I have 189 samples on my Kindle–books I want to read or check out or bookmark to remember to order. Not counting the books stacked on desks, the stories and novels former students are putting up that I know are good, and and and….

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  4. Love this, Kris! All of it. Thanks for sharing the video and your thoughts. I’ve been having the same problem, and it’s a great problem to have. Squirrel!

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  5. Good thoughts as usual, popping like kernels in my brain, for sure. We all have a certain amount of freedom regardless of our work situation. For those of us with 9to5s (I’m a middle school teacher, so it’s more like 7to7, lol) the challenge is – at least for me – disciplining myself to write during those “free” times. Haven’t figured out how to do that yet! :)

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  6. Another great post, Kris.

    The freedom is one of the best things about indie publishing IMO. Suddenly, there is a market for all those unmarketable novella-length works, for the quirky short story that every editor loved and none of them knew what to do with, for the story or novel in a dead genre or that violates some random taboo and so on. And it’s a great feeling.

    I’ve recently dipped my toes into indie publishing, largely due to the encouragement by you and Dean. So far, I’ve mostly put up stories that were previously published, but also one story that never sold, because there was no market for it. And my sales, while not great, are still better than I would have expected for the first month. Now I have long out of print stories, stories and novellas that never sold, because there was no market and new ideas all clamouring for my attention. Popcorn kittens – it’s a great problem to have.

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  7. See, I thought I was just unable to prioritize. Now I realize that I…squirrel! :) Thy name is freedom.

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  8. Kris! Great post. We started the day by watching the popcorn kitty video — my wife, our two boys, and me. We all agreed that we loved the furry gray cat the best, and I’m not even a cat person.

    Now I need to get my wife to read your entire post, so she’ll see why I often get a glazed look in my eye when it comes to all my various writing projects. There’s SO MUCH I want to do, I get overwhelmed. And distracted. The new world of publishing is amazing, and I often don’t know which project to work on next — novels, comics, stories, or something else…

    Also, I like how you focused on projects you wanted to work on, stuff that would be fun and from the heart. :)

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  9. Hi Kris,

    What an awesome post. I’ve been feeling this myself, lately. On my desktop, I have six files to six different projects — one novel, three short stories, two pieces of nonfiction — and I could easily bump that to eight or nine.

    For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing that Isaac Asimov, Jack London, and Louis L’Amour did — work on one project until I get stuck, then move on to another project. However, I feel pulled to all of them because I know as soon as I finish, they’ll be available to readers.

    I think the hardest thing about this New World of Publishing (besides keeping myself from checking sales too often) is not letting the speed at which I can get things publishing get me off track from keeping a balanced writing schedule. Right now, with the kids at home for the summer, my goal is 5 to 10 new pages a day, which is solid, but it *feels* so slow because of the speed of the publishing side.

    I think I need to take your advice and set a reasonable schedule for myself.

    Whew. One more step along the process of becoming a *professional* writer.

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  10. You have put your finger on the very problem that has overwhelmed for three months and kept me extremely unproductive. Thank you! Now, I have an idea of what to do about it.

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  11. I laughed my head off at this post. The Squirrel! analogy fits me to a “T”. It almost paralyzed me for two months when I realized the full implications of the new publishing world.

    Like you, I had to create a schedule with the projects lined up in the order they needed to be done. The schedule is flexible and I’ve already changed it several times. Mostly due to finishing projects much faster than I expected.

    Faster output…

    I see so many writers complaining that indie publishing takes too much of their time. Uh, are you kidding me? Doing research for queries, writing them up, creating the synopsis, researching markets, and so on took so much more time. Instead it’s finish the work, several hours for a cover (I’m an artist, so I really enjoy the painting), a couple hours to get it up on the various websites, and then DONE! That project is finished and it’s on to the next one.

    Now, granted, I don’t get on the marketing/promotion merry-go-round, as I view my time better spent writing new product, but still.

    It’s a good thing I have too many ideas for novels than I could ever hope to write in a lifetime, because suddenly I’m writing up a storm.

    Squirrel!

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  12. Kris,

    You’re right – this freedom is a very exhilarating thing. I’m working on several projects I had set aside as too unconventional for mainstream publishing; for example, a novel set in the hippy era about telepaths, drugs, sex, etc. – all the fun stuff. Having the option of going traditional or going indie is a wonderfully liberating feeling.

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    • Great posts, everyone. Glad to know my friends and I aren’t alone. :-) I got overwhelmed by it all too, and if it weren’t for real world deadlines, might have stopped writing while I contemplated what to do next. (Or distractly popped for a while). Jeff, you’re right: Have to make sure to find writing time in all of this change. JA, I agree about publishing taking time. Not when you count all the lost time to traditional publishing habits! (I’ve spent the last two weeks chasing an overdue check, writing cover copy for one of my publishers, and dealing with a weird contract negotiation. Took a lot of time.)

      Thanks for all the great comments!

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  13. Yep. And work begets work, too. The recession smacked into me pretty hard and I had to re-trench. Not a happy place for somebody who hadn’t had a dry spell as a writer for thirty years.

    So when the e-train came along at just the right time, I was ready to take a trip. I got busy with it.

    (My experience with POD hasn’t been fruitful, and I’m not making that a priority, but ebooks are starting to be bery bery good to me.)

    Got a lemon, made lemonade. I had enough on my plate, I decided, doing original ebooks, and when I didn’t need it any more, a traditional book deal popped up. Plus a ghostwriting gig. And more potential in the latter arena.

    Always seems to work that way: Feast or famine.

    Ram Dass has a concept about desire from *Remember: Be Here Now,* he calls The Big Ice Cream Cone in the Sky — there’s always something else to incite your lust Doesn’t mean you can’t want it, but if you aren’t attached to the notion of it, that makes it mo’ bettah.

    If it truly isn’t going to bother you if you don’t get work? Work tends to appear.

    Plus, if you keep on truckin’ and don’t stop, you can sometimes get through a desert …

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    • Exactly, Steve. I’m in a similar situation. And I’m getting more traditional publishing opportunities too. I think you’re right: if you don’t focus on it, you get it. I love your last quote about the desert….

      I do have to admit, I’m enjoying all of this. Popcorn kittens and all. :-)

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  14. Kris,

    Perfect, as usual. I feel like I’ve been almost hyperventilating for the last six months in regard to the “…and, and, and…SQUIRREL!”. Like you, I have two series I’m in the process of reviving midstream, a partially finished novel that readers went crazy over but NY wouldn’t ever contract, more books to write that I haven’t had any time for in years but keep calling to me, those short stories I swear I’m going to write/revise/resurrect each week, and, and, and…

    Jeff, your comment resonated with me as well. Like you, I move from project to project, making progress but feeling further behind each week because of the speed of publication. I can look back and catalogue what I’ve accomplished–which is A LOT–but then I still feel further behind than I was last month.

    Off now to tweet this post, of course, at which time I’ll get temporarily derailed by thanking everyone who has mentioned me and my books during the last week in Twitterdom, then I’ll move on to setting up that Lightning Source account to get my books out in print, and, and…

    Nice to know I’m not alone…and, I may be overwhelmed and exhausted, but I’m having fun.

    Read all those downloaded samples? Who has time for THAT??

    –PJ

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    • LOL, PJ! Great stuff.

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  15. OMG, the ‘Squirrel!’ has been in heavy rotation around my parts ever since the “Vampires Suck” Twilight parody came out last year. I have squirrel moments 30x a day, it seems!! Hilarious!!

    I just realized when I was looking over my old stuff that I have been doing under a different pen name that I still have a couple of short story series that I never completed. HUGE squirrel!

    This all gets very overwhelming. And I wonder if this very freedom and the ensuing overwhelment (new word) that ensues is part of the reason for some of the pushback against indie publishing.

    I also think this is a reason why the big 6 will still be around in a few years bc there will be a whole population of good writers who can produce fast, quality, and commercial…but only on an outside deadline. Needing a publisher to be that for them will be their crutch. A very expensive crutch, of course.

    Anyway, love your posts, Kris. I’ve bought a few of your shorts tho not a novel bc of all of the squirrels.

    Kate Madison

    PS- Hi Jeff!

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    • Good post, Kate. Yes, outside deadlines are important, but there are other ways to get them besides the traditional publishers. Fans will provide them, for example. George R.R. Martin experienced fan pressure for years now. I’m happy I’ll be able to provide my fans with new material. But fans can read a book in a night. I can’t write one that fast. No writer can. So fan pressure will help. And there are a million other ways to impose outside deadlines without the traditional publishers. You just have to believe the deadlines are real.

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  16. O god, this is me. I went from having a trilogy put out within three months to a dead-in-the-NY-water career without actually noticing it much, because I was also involved in building BookViewCafe.com. And the more stuff I publish, the more I want to publish, and the more mostly-finished projects pop up and scream for attention…

    It really is heaven. In my own lifetime. Damn!

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    • I agree, Jennifer. It is heaven.

      Thanks for the post, Pam. Congrats on getting all the work out there!

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  17. What a great and timely subject. After joining an indie support group and finding your blog I have been busier than ever, and more creative, driven, and happy. It’s not that I haven’t paid my dues. I’ve written and published short stories, articles, copy, you name it (well, not novels). I’ve listened to critics rip my work apart, crawled into a corner to lick my wounds, crept back out and took another class. Now I’ve found self publishing and I am working even harder than ever. I have one novel out as an eBook with another coming soon. I have one novel going POD and a series in mind, and the list goes on. Since the day an agent said, “I’ll consider you if you can show me a platform of 1,000 readers…” and then went on to list all the things she expected, I’ve known the only real support I have is me. But that’s okay. I know I’m a hard worker! Anyway, thanks for the words that keep me going. I believe I attended a writing conference on the Oregon Coast and met you a couple years ago. Hopefully we’ll meet again. I’m finding this writing world is smaller than I used to believe.

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  18. Loved this post.

    And, may I say, that I’m a fan of your business writing? I think that this new world of publishing needs as many voices as it can get that sound the chords you do!

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    • Thanks, Marion. :-)

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  19. “You just have to believe the deadlines are real.”

    That’s my problem. I set a deadline, then find something else that needs to get done.

    I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I think what I need more than anything else right now is some kind of list of all the projects on my plate. Not only my writing projects, but also my publishing projects. For example, I have a proof of my POD 5-story pack on my desk for a week, and I haven’t gotten around to looking at it. Wow! It’s because I keep forgetting. And it’s so easy to proof a book, too. Five minutes here, five minutes there, and bam, it’s done.

    I’ll stop thinking out loud.

    Thanks Kris.

    PS — Hi Kate!

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    • Yes, but if you can get a way to impose the deadlines from the outside, Jeff, then you’re covered. Dean used to do this back when he was broke by telling another writer he’d buy her a steak dinner every Tuesday when she finished a story and he didn’t. He couldn’t afford the dinner, so it had a lot of value to him to finish that story. If she didn’t finish, then she had to buy him a dinner. That became a hard-and-fast deadline for both of them, because they were broke. I’m sure you can find a similar incentive somewhere…

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  20. Hi, Kris, thanks for writing about this. Oh, my goodness….squirrel… it’s happening again….popcorn kitty…. squirrel… sigh, there goes my…squirrel kitty! brain. Yep, I needed the inspiration again…squirrel kitty! glee!

    Karen
    (Now GLEE! where did I Popcorn squirrel…put my Glee kitty CALENDAR!!!)

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    • Exactly, Karen. :-)

      Thanks, Marilyn. Sounds like you’ve had some luck getting those popcorn kittens under control. It’s hard though. I love the analogy: avoid looking at all the squirrels. I had a cat who did just that. I wouldn’t take her out on a leash if she attacked everything in sight. So if she saw something attackable (squirrel), she would pointedly look the other way. I thought it hilarious.

      To look the other way, I make notes about what I want to do, then put them in a future file. My mistake is what I did yesterday: Never read the future file in the middle of a different project. Whew. That took a while to settle the popcorn kittens….

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  21. Oh my goodness, what an awesome post! I know exactly what you mean, and it’s so much fun discovering other writers experiencing this new world of publishing in the same way. Self-publishing in today’s market is so exciting, it’s difficult to slow down and take one thing at a time. Sales for my Kindle novels and short stories are increasing daily, but I’m making myself stick with one project for the next few months because that’s what I really want to do. I’m rewriting a complicated science fiction novel for the third time, and I’m so thrilled with writing this particular novel in this particular way, I want to complete this project before I move onto anything else. And I have an idea for the book cover and a fantastic artist in mind, and I’ve been talking to website developers about an exciting PR campaign for this rather different novel. When all that’s done, I’ll be diving into other writing projects, but I really want to do all this work on this particular science fiction novel first; and in this brand new world of publishing, I know I have the time. It definitely feels like popcorn kittens, and I have to avoid looking at all the squirrels, at least for the next few months. :) Thanks so much for such a great blog post!

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  22. Great post, Kris.

    Over at MWi I’ve been shouting long and hard about the New Renaissance being brought about by the e-publishing revolution, but far too many people are just seeing this in dollar signs.

    It’s great to see someone wth a proven record in the old world not just proving the new world is financially viable, but also celebrating the freedom of writers to be artists.

    Sales are important. We need the money to live on, but being able to write for our readers is what we live for.

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    • Thanks, Mark. Exactly. Being able to write is what I do live for. Money is a bonus, imho, and always has been. It’s quite cool.

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  23. Kris, what a great idea. I never thought about setting some kind of deadline for writing *outside* of writing. I’ll have to mull this over. Thanks!

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  24. “My biggest worry these days isn’t whether some editor in New York will buy one of my books. My biggest worry is pacing myself so that I don’t burn out. I want to continue enjoying my work.”

    Kris, I think you’ve nailed on the head a major hazard of this terrific new era. The urge to sprint is SO alluring since the opportunities are so numerous and the feedback loops so quick. It’s easy to get dazzled and forget that a writing career is a marathon

    Even though I KNEW better, a while back I got sucked into sprinting, and neglected doing anything fun or getting enough exercise. The only reason I was able to break out of that pattern quickly was past experience–I’d been in jobs where I’d worked myself into bad health, and recognized the all-to-familiar symptoms when they flared up this time. So I made myself step back, take a deep breath, and come up with reasonable schedule.

    I found I had to put exercise and fun on my formal schedule, or I’d blow them off. I keep reminding myself that they’re on the schedule for a reason–to keep me in good health and clear-headed. Has anyone else noticed how muddled the brain gets when burnout is in the advanced stages?

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    • Thanks for the post, Lisa. I almost got sucked into the same thing, seduced by a knee injury. I had to rest the knee, so I couldn’t exercise, and I got some much…less writing done because I had so little energy when I cut out the exercise. Although I do resent the time away, sometimes, because writing is such fun. But…I also like reading, and two hours of reading is now on the schedule every day. I usually miss and only get an hour, but it’s still important. Great comment on approaching burnout. Thanks!

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  25. Well, at least now the condition in my brain has a name!

    I’ve discovered that having an editor who is very good, very busy, and booked six months in advance is useful for putting some deadlines in place. I’ve promised due dates for books I haven’t started yet (I know that’s common for those of you with publishing contracts, but it’s a new experience for me). So I grab the squirrel by the ears and tell it to get in the editing queue before it bugs me again.

    Sometimes it actually works :).

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    • “Grab the squirrel by the ears.” I’m taming a feral cat right now, so my first thought was, “Don’t you get bit?” :-) Great post, thanks.

      Reply
  26. Read a blurb of your post on Mark Williams’s blog and just had to come read the whole thing. (The kittens totally cracked me up, by the way.)

    Yep. That’s totally my brain right now. lol Glad I’m not the only one!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Shéa. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. And the kittens are fun, aren’t they? :-)

      Reply
  27. Ear grabbing is a ninja-like art :D.

    Reply
    • LOL!

      Reply
  28. One advantage of Indie publishing is that writers are no longer forced to please gatekeepers (publisher/editor/marketing/bookstoreclerks) and can focus on telling entertaining stories (a bit of a novel concept, eh wot?) and enticing readers to try them (much easier now that gatekeeper albatross isn’t hanging round your neck.)

    What all this means is that a different set of skills is required to succeed as a writer: instead of schmoozing publishers/editors/book reviewers you have to learn to herd cats.

    The stories about publisher decision making are symptomatic of a problem Hollywood has suffered since Lucas & Speilberg arrived: Blockbusteritis — instead of making a film for $2M and hoping to bring in $10M, they’re spending $150M and hoping for $300M (people who understand ROI know this is crazy thinking, but some professions attract more such than others.) I recollect a pinball machine I once played, based upon baseball; the temptation was to go for the homerun but a steady run of singles (easy to hit) loaded the bases and brought in a steady supply of runs. Sure, making the best-seller list is great for the ego and biz-card, but long-term steady sales keep the cupboard from going bare.

    Reply
    • All excellent points, RES. I particularly like the baseball analogy. You’re right about the different set of skills, and the cool part is those skills are better suited to writers in general.

      Reply
  29. This is eye-opening. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    As a new author, I’ve been dipping my feet into the pond with trepidation, knowing that the publishing industry is undergoing upheaval and that things change every day. Your blog helps in navigating this endless maze. Much appreciated.

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, Elizabeth. Thanks for the post!

      Reply
  30. I had to share this on my facebook page. Thanks for the post!

    Reply

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