I wrote a couple of weeks ago about where I’m at with Indie publishing. It was hard to do, but freeing at the same time. And before I wrote that and since I wrote that, I’ve been thinking and considering and listening, both to myself, and to others.
And I’ve come to some decisions. The first is that I’m going to change the way I approach my writing. From day one I’ve viewed this as my profession, I’ve done it full-time, and because of that I’ve worked my ever-loving ass off to do everything possible to sell books. But no more. I will never stop writing and publishing, but I have to leave the earning worries behind. I want my writing to be a joy again, and these days it can’t be that when it’s also my full-time job.
To jumpstart the new outlook I’m going to take a sabbatical! I’m not going to give myself any deadlines or make any major commitments from now until the end of the year. I’ll still have a release in September (it’s already written) and some Radish stories to finish, but thanks to my understanding publisher, I’ve postponed the other major projects until 2019.
As I start my six months of taking a really deep breath, I’m doing other projects–things for fun, things that need to be done, things that matter to me. I have a huge list of house projects–painting, stripping wallpaper, decluttering–I’m continuing to volunteer with immigrant and refugee children each week, I’m planning a trip for my daughter’s 20th birthday, I’m dreaming about retiring to Portugal, and I’m dogsitting for all my neighbors, because dogs, y’all. Tons. Of. Dogs. <3
And I want to do something else while I’m on break. I want to create something that’s the opposite of what’s destroying this business. I want to create something that’s a haven from the totalitarianism of Amazon, that’s the counter to algorithms and ads and bookstuffing. I want to help other authors feel good about what they’re doing, give them a place where they don’t have to worry about sales numbers or review numbers or conforming to tropes. I want to listen to authors and talk to authors. I want to help someone learn to format their first book, or choose a beautiful cover, or talk about whether to have their main characters kiss in the scene at the winery or the scene at the beach. I want to be someone you can talk to about your career in terms other than how many sales you made.
So this is your official invitation to help me build something. It’ll be organic and evolving, and completely ours. We can talk about ideas and creativity, we can post drawings, photos, knitting projects, and recipes. We can organize philanthropy projects or celebrate birthdays by posting excerpts from things we’re working on. And we can talk about our jobs as writers, but not about cross-promo and algorithms. In this place we’ll talk about how to write with a toddler in your house, which diverse romance to recommend this week, or how your latest trip triggered your creativity and helped you plot a whole new series. We can talk about how to develop niche readerships or get books to readers in new and different ways. I want to make a place where we get back to what really matters–creating things we love, getting them to readers who love them too, and being happy in what we do.