My books often involve a moment in which the characters are discussing their current dilemma and working through methods in which to overcome the hurdle ahead of them and move on to victory. Of course, more often than not, their plans don’t generally work out as intended and the group ends up having to wing it, even though they went in fully loaded with strategy and attack formations and whatever else. One could easily take this to be a reflection of my own views on ‘the best laid plans(schemes) of…’. In all honestly, it’s more of a standard writing trope…no one wants a plan to get perfectly as planned (at least not for the main conflict)…that’s boring.
In fact, within my own life, I tend to have a standard lack of strategy. I have a vague concept of strategy, but nothing truly implementable. My schemes often don’t go much further into detail than, “Well, if I do all these things, maybe something good will happen”. And then I make a list of things to do…generally just the creative stuff, not the actual difficult, dirty hands type of work…you know, like, with my book stuff, the marketing, book signing, or book fair stuff…I’m terrible at all that. I don’t even look to see what’s going on. I just found out there’s a book festival going on right here in my own town this week that, from a very basic glimpse at the main site, appears would have allowed me to sign on as a part of the event with very little effort (once again, didn’t actually look that closely, just seemed that they were open to authors in general).
I mean, that thing’s right here in my own home town and I didn’t know about it until it was already underway.
But that’s somewhat tangential to the point…I’m terrible at strategizing. I have no 15 point bullet list business plan in how I intend to sell so many books per month on an increased scale until the point in which I am able to consider myself fiscally liquid…Not a chance. Typically, I go along the lines of, well, maybe if I poke my head in enough places, I’ll get a minor amount of name recognition or something.
I have no plan. And for a man who spends most of his days developing plans for fictional characters, that seems a rather odd sentiment. It’s not as though my plans typically go awry, as with my books, it’s that I just have absolutely not one single actual plan in my inventory. Well, there’s one…1. Write Books.
I suppose that means my plan is actually three-fold (for those of you who love the underpants gnomes….)
1. Write Books
Now if only someone would tell me what that stupid step two should be…
I’ve honestly not spent much time thinking of my writing habits as much more than being a hobby. I would dream, of course, about the concept of it being much more, but I’ve had the tendency of thinking of myself as more of an open-mic type of musician than a regularly gigging one. But I don’t write my books as if it’s a hobby…I do it as if it’s my job. I put heart, sweat, and money into the craft, but no strategy.
I have spent a ton of time over the years looking into what folks are saying are the required methods to follow in order to sell books. I’ve found that very few of them actually view the process as much more than a method of attempting to over-saturate the market with your name in order to slowly build a brand. If you’re a self-pubber…the amount of time and money and just plain energy that you could put into trying to make your name rise to the top is insurmountable. I mean…honestly, all these folks go through the same damned methods to try to build their brands, and all of them, therefore, seem to stay on equal footing…rising to the top is done as a group, at best.
But that’s where I’m amused by the entire situation. Authors should be the best strategists around…plotting and determining how people would react to things is totally within any author’s wheelhouse. Yet, you look around at what authors are doing to get their books noticed…and you’ll find very few creative ideas. There are some, don’t get me wrong…but it’s generally a follow the crowd type of mentality…in a field where all you’re trying to do is separate yourself from that crowd.
Now…I’m not claiming I have any answers to the overall dilemma. Obviously there are some severe limitations in place for no-name authors because of funding and time and whatever else. This isn’t a problem that I think can be overcome easily for anyone.
But it seems that those are precisely the problems that authors should be able to figure out.
Perhaps I’ll just have to write a book about an author struggling with this exact problem…then I’ll figure it out 😉
Now, I’m not saying I’m going to be changing much. In fact, I’m not really saying much at all outside of one simple thing…Authors today all suffer from one single problem, a lack of creative strategizing. If you look at writing at its most simplistic concept, it’s really little more than creative strategizing. See the irony?
Alright, I’m outta here…gonna figure out where the crowd is heading and flee in the opposite direction.
Have fun out there!