Aw, Heck! I’m Not Doing This Again! Numbers and Mistakes We Make
November 23, 2013
Google directs people where they need to go to find out information. Most people are educated enough that they know that search terms they should type in so that they will most likely find what they are seeking. The internet is both a blessing and a curse to many people. It can foster mass education, and share mass disinformation. It is harder to be a writer when you need to be an Internet savvy marketer and a book promoter. Heaven help you if you are seen as being something you are not.
It seems that the more people think they know about the topic you write on, the more you need to defend your position and the more you will need to do so, over and over again. It almost makes a writer want to cry. If the pressure gets too strong, it can lead to small mistakes. One of those mistakes can be trying to publish something when it isn’t ready; another is publishing something that is too ready. Another mistake is far more deadly, and the it’s the one I refer to as, the Internet research writer.
In and of itself, looking for information about what you love to do isn’t a bad idea, but I recommend that it be avoided in large doses. It is so easy to focus on finding your facts and figures on the Internet and not deal with the cold hard figures in front of you. The money figures, or the time figures that come with each and every book. It’s when you turn to Google and ask how long should a book take to publish? (The answer is: as long as it takes for you to make it a great book with edits and graphics that are professional.) Or, How much can you earn per book? (It depends on your market and the price of your book in both electronic and paperback form.) These sorts of questions have many answers, and you should not blindly believe numbers that are too high or too low.
The problem is that every writer does this more than once. We love to play with numbers, and to dream about things going our way. We don’t like to admit to our mistakes, even once, because it means that you might have fallen for the same mistake twice (or maybe more times?) Resist falling for numbers such as “an average book will sell 41 copies beyond family and friends” when you know that half of your family expects free books, or when you know that you don’t have time to market your book, if you are honest. If your book targets a niche market, then these figures might not be relevant. Then again, if you have more than a few people who follow your blog, you might sell more copies of your book.
You might not want to admit that you’ve done it, but it’s happened to everyone, myself included. I might put my foot down and say I’m not doing it again, but it will happen. Writers make mistakes because they are human, like everyone else. It is a lot like writing a blog, we write and make mistakes, but always learn from those mistakes and look on the positive side. It will get better if you look at the numbers and understand them.