Well. This last month has been quite eventful for me in ways unforeseen. This is the way of Providence. There’s a couple different things you can do in response to it. You can bemoan your situation and cry about all the things that happened negatively, or you can choose to use the time for reflection and grasp some kind of learning experience from the situation. For me and the month of November, 2021, I choose to do the latter.
A Rough November
I’m just coming out of the tail end of getting over COVID-19. Both me and my wife have been down for the last couple of weeks. Primarily, the month of November has been a bust for me. That means I haven’t been able to participate this year NaNoWriMo since I have been bedridden for the vast majority of the month. This right on the heels of releasing the first book in my new series, The Nepios Conspiracy, Pandilla. Even as I’m writing this post, I’m still feeling the effects of the sickness in my body. I am weak and a little woozy. My voice is shot, though it is slowly but surely getting better.
As I mentioned, I’ve taken this time for reflection to sit back and see the direction I would like for things to go. It’s a time for clarity. In doing this, I’ve found there isn’t much that’s changed. I’ve added a few things onto my plate, but I’ve also taken away some things so that I can focus on what I feel is important.
It’s always a grand adventure when you have your own business. Things come and go and you adjust in order for your business to continue to grow at whatever scale you would like it to.
My time of reflection had me distill the business down into three simple facets. Three pillars of focus which I will run every action for it through. The litmus test filter to see if I’m wasting my time or not. These three simple things will be the focus of all my endeavors, and because they are very simple, it makes their implementation just as easy.
Sometimes less is more, and it is true as an entrepreneur. The simpler you can make things, the more productive you can be.
The three pillars are these — write more stories. Grow an audience. Build my universe.
Write More Stories
The first pillar is to write more stories. The best marketing for an author is the next book. This can come in myriad forms — novels, short stories, novelettes, novellas. Release more content. Without content, all of this is moot.
There’s a saying in online games — content is king. I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. However, personally, I don’t like the term “content creator”. I’m a storyteller. I write stories. This is my stock in trade. There has to be a steady stream of the reality of my imagination because, as insane as it may be, that’s why people read my stuff.
Grow an Audience
The second pillar of this simple formula I’ve adopted is growing an audience. That primarily means building my mailing list, growing the subscriber base for the RIU News Bulletin. Without an audience, it defeats the purpose of writing the story. Stories are written to be read by more than just the writer. Even the most eccentric purist writes for at least one person to understand.
Growing and audience has always been a major priority. I rekindled this in November. I became a part of a promo with Book Sweeps. Through that promo, over 400 new people will be added to my mailing list. That is a major win in that department and it will continue to be.
Build My Universe
The last pillar of building my universe may seem redundant to some. Isn’t that the same as writing more stories? It contributes to it but it not the same. It is a separate endeavor altogether.
Creating background and history for the RIU is a different monster than the stories based on that history. The goal is not just to come out with more stories for the sake of having a bunch of stories. The foundation must be solid and rich if the stories are to mean anything.
It’s one of the things I’ve always admired about J. R. R. Tolkien — the depth of the history of his world. However, I don’t admire how he always went back and edited things, which effectively threw off everything else that was written from before. That is annoying.
Taking the time to dig deep into the characters and the world itself before the story is written is just as important as writing the novels. I build the foundation of my novels on that background and history. That’s why my outlines are so involved. Without that information, the world has no structure or life. It’s my process. For me, it is a necessity to work out these details, though many will never see the light of day in a novel. But true fans will appreciate the hidden history in the annals of the Veiled Athenaeum and see how everything ties together.
There’s a method to my madness.
KISS is supposed to be an acronym for “keep it simple.” I’ve changed up that meaning a bit — keep it simple, storyteller. Being a storyteller can be a lonely occupation. We have to wear all the hats and those hats can lead us down far too many rabbit trails leading to nowhere. By focusing on those three pillars — it keeps the main thing the main thing.