Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Different Marathons

Over the past couple of weeks, I've come to realize something about the publishing axiom "it's a marathon, not a sprint". I think the phrase needs a caveat added to it. I would add something like: "Compare results all you want, but in reality we're all running different marathons".

I've spent the past year or so putting books up on Amazon. I've also spent the past year analyzing stats, reading countless online articles, and looking at industry trends. I've also realized as of late that I've been spending more time studying stats than actually getting any writing done. It has also changed my outlook from hopeful to guarded to depressed and back again.

I've also realized some authors came into the world of self-publishing with a huge backlist of titles in the traditional publishing world. Others have audiences they've built up over the years and for them, e-books just represent a different, newer market. In other cases, the genres they work in have seen great success over the past couple of years.

I don't have a massive backlist to work with. I do have several manuscripts in storage, however, and am writing lots of new material. So, in comparison to some of success stories I've read over the past year, I do have some things in common (lots of material to work with) but in other ways my books are spread out across multiple genres which makes things "interesting" but more difficult.

That said, I crossed a finish line of sorts last night. I completed work on my first non-fiction offering, "Gathering the Wind: What the Bible Says About God, the Weather, and Climate Change". I've even recorded an audio version for some people to listen to (although the audio quality would have to improve if I were to release it on a large scale). This book is a first for me in terms of non-fiction, but also a first in terms of the extensive research that went into it. The Bible contains hundreds of verses that talk about the weather and trying to distill those all down into a format that is easy to read through was a little tough. Again, though, I learned a lot and the process has produced a template which I can use on future non-fiction books.

The book should be ready to go in the next 2-4 weeks depending on how the formatting process goes. It is a relatively short book at only sixty pages or so, but I'm okay with that. I'm also working on another collection of short stories and another novel which will indirectly tie-in with this non-fiction book.

After all of this, though, I've realized many of us truly are running different marathons. What I consider a success may be very different from someone else. I've also learned I'm much more productive and focused when I don't spend my time watching everyone else run their marathons. In fact, I still like to think of myself as the kid who discovered a manual typewriter in the basement all those years ago and typed up stories late into the night simply for the love of storytelling.

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