Saturday, December 28, 2019

Year of an Indie Writer: Week 52 AKA Taking Stock

Well, here it is: the final post in my year-long series of what it's like to be an indie writer. If I'm being brutally honest, where I am now is not where I expected to be on New Year's Day 2019.

The Half Year of Calvin Carter

A year ago, I anticipated me releasing all six of my Calvin Carter novels. Well, I got out three, but with the fourth, I hit a snag. In the re-reading of it for typos, I realized the book wasn't all I thought it was. It needed some additional work, work that I've not completed. Why? Various reasons, part of which is I think the book needs a little help and I ended up going in other directions. The downside is that I didn't get all six books out in 2019. The upside is I have three books in the hopper ready to be released.

One Name

Another change I made this year was to consolidate all my books under one author name: Scott Dennis Parker. I had used S.D. Parker for my westerns but came to realize readers are smart people and they can look at a book cover and determine the genre. And who is to say a mystery reader might not also be interested in a western or whatever else I end up publishing in the future.

Writing Pace

I did not write as much as I expected this year. I went through fits and starts with the fiction writing. The blog writing was much more consistent. Perhaps that's the problem? I wonder what the total word count is between blog writing and fiction writing. I'm a little worried that the blog writing might beat the fiction writing total.

What I'm aiming for in 2020--and throughout the next decade--is consistency. It's all well and good to be able to write a story rapidly--I think it makes for a better story--but it doesn't do me any good if the pace is one of fits and starts.  It would be immensely better if I were to write a lower per day word count but write every day. As many authors have said over the years, one cannot help but get better with consistency.

So that's a goal for 2020: consistent writing pace. Be it slow or fast, be consistent.

A corollary is this: knowing when the desire to write wanes. Come the last two weeks of December, I'm all about consuming books, movies, Hallmark movies, music, Christmas stories, and almost anything else. I've not been in the mood to write in recent days, and that was the case last year. And the year before. See a trend? So do I.

Plan for off weeks and days and don't give myself crap for it.


The goal for any writer, especially an indie writer like me. How to get folks to know my stories are out in the world. There are the typical ways of ads, blog tours and the like. But I'm looking at more non-traditional means. And I'm thinking about focusing my efforts on my hometown of Houston.

What's that you ask? Well, I can help but think focusing on letting Houston readers know I have stories they might like--many of my tales are set here--is a good focus for 2020. Definitely won't stay focused only on Houston, but it'll be my main focus.

How? Direct mail. Advertisements in local papers. Things like that. Will it work? Who knows, but why not try?

Why not?

That's the thing that has bubbled up in my thinking this last quarter of 2019. Why not try different genres? Why not try romance? Why not try an out-and-out thriller? Why not try submitting stories to print magazines?

No reason whatsoever.

Onward to 2020...

Thanks for reading in 2019. I hope you continue to read as the next decade starts.

A few years ago, I read a phrase that got me up off my seat and do something: "A year from now, you will have wished you started today."

Now, we have a new decade on the horizon. This is the last Saturday of the 2010s. And to extrapolate the above phrase forward, it becomes this: "A decade from now, you will have wished you started this year."

So I am.

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