An Interesting Quote from Ecclesiastes for Indie Authors – 2

Yesterday I posted this quote from Ecclesiastes 7:

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”

I gave one lesson from it for indie authors. Here’s the link to Lesson 1 from yesterday:¬†HERE!

Lesson 2 for Indie Authors: Patience is better than pride.

Oh my. If there is ever a group of anxious people who need to learn to practice patience, it’s indie authors. If there is ever a group people who are prone to pride, it’s indie authors.

Let’s tackle the pride first. Pride, of course, isn’t all bad. It’s fine to pat oneself on the back when a book is finished or if one receives a great review. But the unhealthy pride can jump up and bite you pretty quickly if you are left closed off to criticism and suggestion. And this comes with the territory. After all, we aren’t called independent authors for no reason. We are fiercely individualistic, are confident in our skills, and know exactly the type of story we want to tell. But without proper input from others, we can easily lose sight of the bigger picture. We can turn off readers and put off reviewers with a prideful attitude. If everything is always about ME-ME-ME, it can get tiring pretty quickly. This is the sharp two-edged sword of promotion. An indie author must wield it skillfully, inflicting the least amount of annoyance onto readers while trying to get the message of your book across. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s extremely difficult. I struggle with this a lot. I hate the promotional aspect of selling books, but I understand how important the presence on social media is and how one has to put oneself out there in front of readers if one ever wants to be discovered. It can build one’s pride to unhealthy levels.

And this is where patience comes in. Patience is probably the virtue most needed by indie authors. Writing and publishing is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint. If success is ever achieved, it will happen in the long term, not as an immediate flash in the pan.

When do indie authors need patience?

When waiting for someone to review their book.

When waiting for the next sale.

When waiting for the next promotion to roll along.

When waiting for the next writing period.

In other words, indie authors need patience at all times.

Now I have to figure out a way to minimize the pride and increase my level of patience. I’ll let you know if it works.


A Failed Novel Resurrects Itself

Put this one in the category of never giving up on a project.

About 10-12 years ago I got up the gumption to write a novel – something I had never attempted before. I had a certain premise in mind, 3 generations of Americans who had somehow been affected by Vietnam – one at the tail end of WWII, the other during the Vietnam War, and the third in modern day Vietnam. I even fleshed out the opening scene which would help thrust the story into action, a tragic accident upon which the rest of the story would hinge. It was perfect in my mind, and so I tried.

I wrote the opening few pages of the first chapter. And then I stopped.

I reread it. Left it alone awhile. Reread it again. Left it alone. Again and again until I finally realized that it wasn’t going anywhere, and so I abandoned it.

That was a failure. Or was it?

Fast forward ten years, and after I had written Beauty Rising, I knew I wanted to attempt a second novel before I ever published or did anything with my first. I wanted to prove to myself that it wasn’t a fluke. And so I sat down to try and resurrect that failed novel, but as I began to ponder my options, an image of a man in a red hat captured my mind, which sent me down a very unexpected path leading to my second novel, The Recluse Storyteller – now only a month and a week away from release!

But before I released The Recluse, I wanted to write my third – you know the drill. I wanted to prove that number one and number two weren’t flukes. And suddenly, what do you know? That original novel idea bloomed.

It flowed. My original opening scene was pushed back another 15,000 words to better set the scene. The three generations of Americans just fell into place and within two months the story was finished Рmy longest novel to date entitled The Reach of the Banyan Tree.

So here are a couple things I learned:

  • Starting a project in which I fail is not a failure.
  • Failed projects just might need more time to prove themselves.
  • Go where the words take you.
  • Be patient.
  • Enjoy.
  • And lastly, I love writing.

Thank you, failed novel. I hope that 2014 will bring you success after twelve years. But I realize now that you are not late at all.