Self-Publishing, Wonderful World of Writing

It’s Okay to be a “Slow” Writer

In today’s society, every aspect of our lives seems to run at hyper speed. We can communicate with someone with the tap of a screen. We can receive news within minutes after it happens. Likewise, in the realm of self-publishing, readers often don’t have to wait extended periods of time for the next book in a series to be delivered straight to their Kindles. In fact, they often don’t have to wait more than a month or two!

Due to the self-publishing strategy of rapid-fire series releases, many authors are feeling pressured to write faster in order to keep readers engaged in their series. Attention spans are shrinking due to the growing norm of instant gratification, so why not join the club?

You can’t rush art. -Toy Story 2

This is at least the third time I’ve quoted the toy repairman from Toy Story 2 on this blog, but the sentiment remains true in this situation. While I’m in no way against authors releasing books in a rapid-fire strategy if the books are backlogged (I actually think that’s a genius tactic), I’m wary of the practice of rushing to write and publish books back-to-back within the span of a few months. Though some authors can and have mastered the art of remaining quality prolific writers while publishing those titles as fast as possible, it’s not a tactic I recommend for most writers, including myself.

SlowWriter

For the same reason that I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo, I don’t think that writers should force themselves to complete their writing projects as quick as humanly possible. Granted, they may strike a fit of creative genius and crank out a mesmerizing first draft that requires minimal editing; however, they may also produce a hot mess manuscript that will require a heap of extra care to edit, care that may entail pushing the publication date back and skewing release plans. Or, the writer is stuck with a hot mess manuscript and chooses not to take the necessary time for edits, publishing said hot mess as is.

That’s a big no-no, my friend.

You see, as writers, as people who see the value in words and know how powerful they can be, I’m a firm believer that we should seek to publish high quality works over a heaping quantity of mediocre works.

As a reader, I would much rather wait a year or two for an author to release another book that I know will meet my quality standards than have them mass produce books that aren’t up to par because they didn’t receive enough time in the incubator so to speak, molding and growing into their full potential before being thrown out into the world. When readers buy a book, they’re expecting it to be as good as it can be when it reaches the marketplace. Readers will eventually see through those hyper-released hot messes and choose to spend their time and money investing in a more polished series.

The moral of the story is it’s perfectly okay if you’re a “slow” writer who takes more than a few months to write a book. There are positives and negatives of the rapid word count trend, so don’t let peer pressure overrule your writer’s heart. Choose the method that works best for you. You’re not any less of a writer if you take more time to finish your WIPs. Don’t beat yourself up for taking the time to make it the best it can be. Just write, and enjoy the process.


Whether it takes you two months or two years to finish your WIPs, you’re still a writer, my friend! Comment below and tell me how long it takes you to finish a manuscript, and if you’ve ever felt rushed trying to finish it within a short time frame?

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

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Self-Publishing

Debunking Indie Author Stigmas

If you’re an indie author, you’re most likely used to receiving an adverse reaction from some people when they find out you self-publish your books. Though they might not be rude enough to outright say it, a judging squint appears on their face. You’ll find out later that they opted to borrow your book from a mutual friend instead of risking their money on your little “DIY project”.

Been there. Suffered through that.

Granted, there are plenty of self-published authors who slap together a manuscript and cover, throwing it out into the world way before it’s ready. However, the vast majority of indie authors I’ve read have bottled their blood, sweat, and tears into creating their final product, and they deserve more respect for their efforts. In this post, I’ll debunk common stigmas indie authors face.

DebunkingIndieAuthorStigmas

“So, why aren’t you traditionally published?”

This is one of the top questions indie authors are asked. Though no one has ever asked me this (and I’m glad, because I find it kind of rude), to some people, you’re not considered a “real” author unless your books have a publishing company’s emblem on the spine and are sitting among best sellers at Barnes and Noble.

For a while, I actually believed this stupidity as well. Even after I published my first two books , I have felt like people are judging me when I tell them I opted to self-publish. Because of the stigma against self-publishing, there have been times when I felt like no one besides me is ever going to love these books because they are not validated by a publishing company.

It wasn’t until recently that I tried to teach myself to see indie publishing differently. In both indie and traditional publishing, amazing and amaetuer products are produced.

Stigma: Proofreading Mistakes

A few years ago, one of my favorite traditionally published authors released a new book. I received a first-edition hardback copy of the novel for Christmas. Or, what I’m guessing is a first-edition, because of the menagerie of spelling and grammar mistakes it featured. To be honest, I was appalled.

This is the kind of publishing preparation slip-up that indie authors get bad reputations for. But, truthfully, it has the same chance of happening in the world of traditional publishing. The only reason those authors careers aren’t tainted by the proofreading mistakes are because they are already established as a quality author. The overwhelming majority of us indies are sill trying to establish our careers.

Stigma: Horrendous Writing and Storytelling Skills

Let me lay down a glaring truth that is oftentimes ignored: just because a book is traditionally published, it does not mean that the writing is better than an indie book. That’s like saying you can only be considered intelligent if you have college degree. Think about it; aren’t there dozens of people throughout history who have made world-changing breakthroughs in a variety of subjects without the validation of a degree? The same concept just as easily applies to indie authors.

If you’re a voracious reader, I guarantee you’ve come across a traditionally published book that featured horrendous writing and storytelling. Maybe even enough to convince you to mark it as a 1-star read. Over the past year, the majority of books I’ve read have been indie published. Yes, there were some that I didn’t quite care for, but the vast majority of them were amazing stories that I would choose to read again. You see, the method of publishing books has absolutely nothing to do with the heart of the story.

Stigma: Homemade Means Horrible Quality

Similarly to the way people often judge homemade clothing items to not be as good of quality as that of an expensive name brand, indie authors’ books are judged for the same reason. Because we write and edit books ourselves, it can’t possibly be as good as Stephen King’s. Because we make the covers ourselves, it can’t be as eye-catching as Sarah Dessen’s. Because no traditional publishing house is paying to put it on shelves, it must be total garbage.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

If an editing team doesn’t put their all into making a debut traditionally published book pristine, it has the ability to flop. If a marketing team for a traditionally published book makes a huge PR mistake, it could ruin the book’s launch. If there is a defect in the cover design on a traditionally published book, it has the ability to screw up the process of mailing out pre-orders.

Literally all of the same release obstacles that traditional publishing houses face are experienced by self-published authors. The only difference is we’re not a team of industry professionals. We’re authors, cover designers, marketers, and editors all wrapped up in the same person.

I just wish more people could see it this way.


What social challenges have you had to face as an indie author? Let me know in the comments!

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Self-Publishing

When It Feels Like No One Supports Your Writing

Writing and self-publishing are two of the most mentally and emotionally demanding tasks one can pursue, but are we authors the only ones who truly understand that? After laboring months upon months over your WIP to make it grammatically pristine and making sure it has a gorgeous cover to match, do you overhear snide remarks about your book being priced too high? Are you sick of scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed and watching people make lucrative sales from jewelry, smelly-goods, and makeup while the same buyers pay no mind to the books you’re marketing? Do you agonizingly refresh your KDP sales page, praying one sweet soul will buy the novel you’ve labored over for years?

If so, this post is for you, my friend. You are not alone.

WhenItFeelsLikeNoOneSupportsYourWriting

Hype, But No Follow Through

When we indie authors finish our WIPs, we often celebrate on social media by posting that we *finally* finished the book we’ve worked on for months or years. And usually, that post receives a lot of hoopla. People we barely know will comment “so excited for you! I can’t wait to read it!” or “wow, I love your writing! I’ll buy it the day it comes out!”

And we as authors get stoked. We begin to think, If these 100 people who liked this post all buy my book when it releases, that’ll be the headstart I need to get my author career going! We’ve got our head in the clouds… until release week comes. We watch our sales page like a hawk, each tap of the refresh key killing our writer’s heart more and more.

Then the sweet hour comes when it finally loads the release day sales… and we’ve sold three copies. The entire week. And we know for a fact that only obligatory buyers (close friends and family) were the amazing souls who bought copies to not make us feel like complete losers.

So, what about all the others who were rooting for us all those months ago? What happened to those acquaintances who ask us when the next books will come out every time they see us? I mean, it’s not like we didn’t post about the release, share our blog tour links, and post quote graphics from the book to let them know, “HEY! IT’S FINALLY AVAILABLE!”

But, unlike that “my book is finally written!” post all those months ago, these posts are met with radio static. No one but our parents like these posts. But why?

The Reason

Is it because we suck at marketing? Is our book blurb that bad that no one wants to read it? We rack our brains day in and day out for a reason as we watch KDP sales remain stagnant at zero. It’s depressing. It makes us question whether to continue publishing books. It makes us question whether to continue writing at all. Why write if no one reads it?

It’s easy to blame ourselves for our unpopularity as an author. We didn’t try hard enough. We could’ve bought ads. We could’ve hired a professional blog tour coordinator. We could have… we could have… the possibilities are endless. But no matter how much money we spend on preparing for a book release, we can’t guarantee that any customers will come from it. No matter how much we market, we can’t guarantee that people we know in real life are going to act on their former promises. Why?

What I’ve discovered is that people like a show. People react to highs, and people react to lows. That middle area where you’re trying to climb back up to a high? They’ll clap as you place that first foot on the rock wall and then walk away when the real journey begins. And if you fall off the side of the cliff? Well, they’ll all run back, oohing and aahing as if they’ve been your biggest supporters the whole time, when they’ve in fact never supported you with anything but their mouths.

It’s the harsh truth. I’ve watched it play out time and time again. Sometimes, even for those who sell the jewelry, smelly-goods, and makeup I mentioned before.

What Should We Do?

As cynical as it sounds, there’s really nothing we can do. If you want to work harder to get your book noticed, then by all means, work harder. If all this effort for nought is making you miserable, then I don’t blame you for contemplating taking all your books down for good and mourning that fizzled out dream of being an author. I’ve considered it before.

But the possibility of holding physical copies of my future books keeps me going. I want a huge shelf in my house someday holding all the books I’ve written. I want to pass on a legacy to my future grandkids. Letting fickle people’s empty promises to support my books drive me into a depression great enough to throw my dreams away won’t show future generations that I was a dreamer. It’ll show them that I was a loser, the thing I wanted to avoid in the first place.

Yes, it sucks to go unnoticed as an author, especially by people you’ve grown up knowing in a small town where everyone knows everyone. But hey, I’ve always been something of an unnoticed shadow in this town anyway before my books were published. Sales or no sales, we need to keep at it. Even if we’re the only ones who end up reading our books.


I hope this post wasn’t too brash. I wrote this post back in December before my hiatus and wasn’t going to post it, but the negative feelings I referred to above reared their ugly heads again recently. I hope this helps other indies out there!

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Self-Publishing, Wonderful World of Writing

Recognizing and Preventing Author Burnout

When aspiring authors first begin to scour articles on writing and the publishing process, they’re often drawn to the “sparkly” side of being an author: penning that best-seller, working with cover designers and making all that money. Like many aspiring authors, when I self-published my first novel in 2017, I was pumped to embark on the sky-high journey to accomplishment and stardom… but, there was a teensy problem. The road to becoming a best-selling author is not paved with golden, sparkly bricks. In fact, it’s difficult to find a well-groomed path at all. And in the midst of tearing through the internet to locate that sacred pathway to successful authorhood, I soon discovered the opposite: the dark and depressing lair of Author Burnout.

2018 was a difficult year for many, and within that nightmare of a year, I experienced two mild and one major case of Author Burnout, the latter leading me to take a month hiatus in December. Reflecting back on each of those three periods of Burnout, I’ve realized there were precautionary measures I could have taken beforehand to prevent a Burnout of that magnitude from occurring. Whether you’re an author aspiring to publish your books someday, or are a seasoned author with several books under your belt, I’d like to share some tips with you on how to recognize and prevent Author Burnout.

RecognizingAuthorBurnout

Recognizing Author Burnout

Symptom 1: Constantly Checking Stats on Social Media

For self-published authors, book sales stats, rating stats, and content view information are only a click away. Today’s society thrives on instant gratification, and if our books are doing well, then we’re on cloud nine. But then there are the days, or weeks, or months, where no sales roll in. It seems like everyone is turning their nose up at your books. You find yourself repeatedly refreshing your stats pages in search of something–anything–to validate your worth as an author. And once that sale shows up, or our blog hits its highest view count to date, we only hunger for more.

My friend, when you find that you’ve become addicted to checking your KDP reports, blog stats, and Goodreads Author Dashboard every day (or more than once a day), it’s a sure sign that you are deriving your value from your author platform. Yes, there will be spectacular months, but keep in mind that there will be no sales months. Your blog’s view count may vary drastically from month to month. Your book will inevitably receive a low star rating. And whenever these bombshells hit, you’re going to need a shield in your arsenal.

Prevention Method

If you find yourself addicted to checking your follower count, sales stats, and book ratings, I suggest restricting your access from these sites. Don’t check your Goodreads Author Dashboard, KDP reports, or Author Central on your phone. Make it a rule of thumb to only check these sites once a week or month.

If the struggle is beyond that and you find your heart rate increasing in anxiety whenever you look at those sites, don’t check them at all. Constantly checking stat sites for any sign of life and then finding your collective author rating has dropped has the potential to lead you to Symptom 2. Trust me, you can survive without knowing what readers think of your work. To be honest, you’ll be a lot happier.

Symptom 2: Increased Stress and Anxiety

When authors are so caught up on what readers think of our work, our creative endeavors become engulfed with a cloud of negative thoughts hanging over our heads: Will they like this? Will they buy this? Will it be worse than the last book?

When our creative voice is strangled by these thoughts, we face the beast that is Writer’s Block. We think we have good ideas, but hesitate from using them for fear of what the readers will think. We start losing sleep at night, laying awake wondering what we can write that will SELL. Every time we hold a pen in our hand or poise our fingers above the keyboard, ripples of anxiety overtake us. And, if we’re not careful, failing to combat this symptom will lead us to Symptom 3.

Prevention Method:

If Writer’s Block due to increased stress and anxiety over writing endeavors is looming over you, I suggest taking a short intermission (a day or two) and focusing on other facets of your life. Hang out with your family. Go on a special date with your significant other. Play a board game, pick up the guitar, watch a movie. Build an entire town on The Sims 2 *raises hand*. Do whatever you can for as long as you think you need (not in excess of a week) to refresh your mind. Then, go back and give writing a try. Nine times out of ten, this short intermission works for me, but if you’re still struggling, you may have:

Symptom 3: Decreased Interest in Work

The most notable symptom I had in the lead-up to my major case of Author Burnout was decreased interest in working on author projects… mostly this blog. After having poor sales from a recent release and having spent the entire month before on blogging efforts for marketing said book, I had no desire to even type up the handwritten drafts for blog posts and schedule them on WordPress. The longer this symptom was ignored, the more depression seeped in from the Burnout. The final straw was the first week in December, when I verbally lashed out at my boyfriend due to depression and anxiety I was facing over author stats. I seriously considered taking my books down for good, because I was tired of feeling so low. If you can relate to any of this, please adhere to this prevention method:

Prevention Method:

If you’re up to this level, take a hiatus. That’s right. Take a minimum of two weeks off from all author endeavors. If you have made low-demanding prior commitments such as a blog tour stop, it’s perfectly okay to contact the coordinator if you’re no longer feeling up to it. If you’ve already made a larger commitment, such as a deadline, talk to whoever you need to to have it postponed.

Your mental health is worth more than winning NaNoWriMo or reaching #1 in your genre. Your mental health is worth more than destroying yourself trying to sell books.

Know Your Worth

God did not call you to be an author to have you constantly worried over your “value” as an author. Your value as an author is IN GOD, because He equipped you with the necessary means to make you an author.

God did not call you to be an author just so you could let it beat you down. He has a greater purpose for you, my friend.

Most importantly, don’t assume that any mistakes you’ve made as an author will prevent future success from coming. You never know what God has up His sleeve for you, and you’re not capable of thwarting His plans.


Talk to me, Arrowheads! Have you experienced any of the symptoms above? How have you handled Author Burnout? Feel free to share in the comments!

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Book Reviews

Book Review: Illuminate by Sarah Addison-Fox

Welcome back, Arrowheads! Not long ago, Sarah Addison-Fox released her first ever standalone paranormal romance novel, Illuminate. I had the privilege of reading an ARC copy of Illuminate before its release, and would like to share my thoughts with y’all today!

Illuminate

Sarah Addison-Fox’s first standalone novel, Illuminate, is a powerful tale of light versus dark, redemption, and forgiveness.

What I Liked the Most

 

The Symbolism

The symbolism the author weaved into this novel is top-notch. The light versus dark elements parallel real life good versus evil or morality versus immorality. The dark portrays the damage that real-life sin can inflict on people, and I liked how it was mentioned that even the strongest adherers to the light still face temptation.

The Characters

After reading all of the author’s books up until this point, I noticed this standalone hones her character creating skills and produced unique and memorable main and minor characters. Not saying that the characterization is weak in the other books she’s released, but I personally think Illuminate‘s characters are more rounded out. My favorite in this book is Mr. Skylar!

Messages of Redemption and Forgiveness

The messages of redemption and forgiveness make this standalone spectacular. I adore how the readers’ takeaway is that no matter what you’ve done in the past, you can change your ways and embrace the light. This is a message we surely need more of in literature.

My Only Complaint

The only fault I found with this book is that the plot started off slow for me and I was confused in some spots. Once I caught on to what was going on, I was invested and ended up really enjoying this book! If you’re looking for a New Adult Paranormal Romance, I highly suggest picking up this book! Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars.

Thank you to the author for providing me a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A positive review was not required to receive the ebook.


That’s all for today, Arrowheads! Be sure to check back here on Fridays for book reviews, and, if I’m ever experimenting with flash fiction, Flash Fiction Friday posts! 🙂

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Adventures with Allyson!, Wonderful World of Writing

My Second Year as a Published Author

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! Welcome back on this lovely Friday, which also happens to be my 25th birthday! *Releases balloons to celebrate!*

However, today is also special for a couple more reasons, as it’s the day I completed Speak Your Mind last year, and the day I released my debut novel, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl, two years ago. So, today marks my second full year of being a published author, and I’d like to share with you the lessons I’ve learned within the past year.

Check out the lessons I learned in My First Year as a Published Author!

secondyearauthor

Lesson 1: It’s OKAY if Someone Doesn’t Like Your Book

The toughest lesson I’ve had to stomach over the past year as reviews finally started coming in on Goodreads is that it is perfectly fine if someone ends up not liking your book. Yes, it hurts like a bullet train smashing into your heart, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

What’s going to happen if you dwell on that bad review and let it eat you alive? You’re going to show your ignorance and do or say something stupid that will hurt you worse than the rating did. So, by all means, if any of your books receive a bad review:

#1: Don’t React

#2: Don’t Take it to Heart

Just because someone doesn’t like your book for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. It doesn’t mean you wrote a horrible book. It doesn’t mean your author career is forever tarnished. It just means that particular person did not enjoy the book.

And here’s the kicker… they are not dumb or hateful for doing so. They rated your book low for a reason that may seem dumb to you, but it’s something they feel strongly about. At the end of the day, we’ve got to realize that not everyone is going to like us, our books, or what we are passionate enough to write about. But, that’s fine. It’s okay to have different opinions.

At the same time, don’t let someone’s difference in opinion make you question your worthiness. This mindset hit me hard a couple different times throughout 2018, and I had to realize that I am worthy of being a Christian author. You are worthy, too. God made you and gave you your gift of writing for a reason. Keep writing, no matter what anyone else thinks of it.

Lesson 2: Book Signings are Not For Introverts

So far I’ve only had one book signing at a local library. Unless I eventually become a bestselling author, it’ll probably be my last. During the book signing last July, I learned I suck at selling things. My family and boyfriend lured more people to my table than I did. I forgot to prepare a banner for my table. I had a hard time getting my sales pitch across to visitors.

img_1173.jpg

I’m an introvert. I’m not a people person, and it showed through the small amount of books I sold. It was a check off my bucket list for sure,  but until I miraculously gain better social and marketing skills, it’s a no from me.

Lesson 3: Relationships with Fellow Authors Matter

On a lighter note, my second year as a published author spawned several good friendships in the indie author community. I’ve been blessed to read and review many books for friends, and they’ve helped promote my books as well. We often send each other pins on Pinterest or encourage one another through Twitter messages, blog comments, and emails. It’s been an absolute blast getting to know them this past year, and I’m excited to work alongside them on future promotions!

If you’re just getting started in the indie author community, I highly recommend hopping on Twitter, Goodreads, or Pinterest and finding like-minded authors in your genre. By saying “like-minded”, I’m not trying to be hypocritical of my first Lesson’s point; I say this because it’s good to have a group of authors who support your writing rather than be in a group that doesn’t get your writing. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Learn to recognize this, and you’ll be golden.

Lesson 4: Success as an Author Doesn’t Define Me

Over the past year, I’ve stressed myself out to the max trying to pave the path to success as an author. I bought Goodreads ads. I seeked out reviews (and had an immature meltdown over the ones I received). I recently took a hiatus in December because Speak Your Mind‘s first two week’s sales were nowhere near as high as I had hoped.

During my hiatus, I took a step back and analyzed what success really means to me. What I wanted was to one day make enough money in sales that I could write full-time. In my two years as a published author, and especially within the past year as I’ve compared myself to other authors, I’ve done nothing but beat myself up over lack of “success”, when in reality book sales haven’t been nonexistent. Some months, yes, but not shabby. And despite some low ratings, I still get compliments on both books. Some from people I know personally, and some from people I don’t. Either way, it always makes me happy to know my writing has made someone else smile.

3rd Year Goals

So, in my third year as a published author, my main goal is to define “success” differently. My author career is not going to skyrocket overnight. It may never skyrocket. But, I like my books, and some other people do too. I’d be doing a disservice to fans of previous works, and myself, to give up on my dream.

Going forward, I will be defining “success” as finishing more stories, and aiming to make those readers I do have smile more. Hopefully, next year around this time, I’ll have a lot more positive lessons to share. 🙂


Thanks for stopping by on my birthday, Arrowheads, it means a lot! 🙂

And, to celebrate, you can get Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl for FREE today on Kindle! Click here to claim your copySpeak Your Mind is also available for $2.99, and it would mean so much if you picked up a copy as well! 🙂

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

 

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: In the Rogue by Jes Drew

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! As promised, today I’ll be reviewing the second installment of Jes Drew’s spy series, Kristian Clark and the Agency Trap, In The Rogue! So, let’s get started!

InTheRogue

Wow! This was the 2nd longest book I’ve ever read, the first being The Bible. Jes Drew has done it again, flawlessly breaking into another genre: science fiction, while staying true to her usual adventure/superhero/spy roots.

In the Rogue covers a lot of material, so rather than revealing any sensitive plot details, I’m going to review the highlights and lowlight:

Highlights:

World Building: The most impressive aspect of In the Rogue to me is the world building. The author paints vivid pictures of the book’s many settings, in turn making it feel akin to a Christian Marvel universe.

Kristian and Susan: I enjoyed the ups and downs Kristian and Susan face as they explore the new state of their relationship. They were delightfully awkward, making it loads of fun for the reader! XD

The Plot Twists: There were so many cool plot twists that kept me interested throughout the novel, and they all have a purpose that leads to the final outcome without seeming too random. Expertly done!

Lowlight:

Length/Confusion: Like I mentioned in my review of the first Kristian Clark book, because the book was so long and covered a lot of material, it was difficult to keep track of who was who and who worked for each agency (more so the villains than the main characters). However, like with the first installment, I can understand why the author kept it all as one book, because there was no real clear breaking point in the plot that could have warranted breaking up In the Rogue into separate books.

Overall, you can definitely tell the author’s heart is in this story! Thank you to the author for providing me a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars.


Well, that’s it for today, Arrowheads! Be sure to check back on Wednesdays and Fridays for regularly scheduled posts!

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Random Musings, Wonderful World of Writing

Going Back to the Mission 1 Mindset

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! As I’ve mentioned before here on my blog, I have a love/hate relationship with marketing. There are things I find fun about it (like this blog), and some things and social media sites I’ve had to distance myself from due to anxiety. Over the past couple months, I’ve considered why I started writing in the first place, and what my goals are for writing now. I now realize why I’ve been so anxious lately when it comes to writing: I’ve lost my Mission 1 Mindset.

Mission 1 Mindset

When I was seven years old, my sweet Aunt Sherry gave me what would become my first writing notebook. Back then, I basked in the fun of writing. I loved it. Everyone who knew me knew I loved it. Kids at school barely even heard me talk, but they sure as heck knew I loved to write.

That’s because my mission (aka Mission 1) back then was to do that, just write. To pour out whatever story I had in mind onto paper, to see that finished product. Sometimes, if I liked a story good enough, I would make a physical copy of it in a “book” made out of printer paper and construction paper for the cover. My family has pictures of me holding one of those books outside, showing off my achievement.

Mission1Mindset

Even now, whenever I behold a finished writing project, that’s when I’m the happiest.

Money: The Cause of Writing Anxiety

Back then, I wasn’t worried about making money. In my Career Management class freshman year, we had to compose a budget based on the career we chose for a semester-long project. Of course, I chose to be an author. I looked up the average salary, and went bankrupt according to the budget constraints my teacher provided. Knowing being a money-making author was a hit or miss career choice, I went to college for computers instead. Is IT my true passion? No. Do I like it as much as writing? Um, heck no. Do I still want to make money writing? Yes.

I now have a very complicated mindset about writing and making money. Oh, it can make you money, but not enough money to support yourself. That is, unless you basically sell your soul to marketing. Which, quite frankly, I have no desire to do anymore after it’s caused me more anxiety than it’s worth.

Marketing?

So, am I going to throw in the towel on marketing? Not completely. I’m just not going to waste my money on paid marketing efforts anymore. It’s not that paid marketing doesn’t work (it can), it’s just that my anxiety goes haywire when the efforts don’t turn out working the way I hope they will. So I’m done.

Looking back over the last year and eight months since my first novel was published, I was happiest when the book was virtually unknown to anyone on Goodreads but me. I had a few Amazon reviews at the time from family, friends, and acquaintances, but none on Goodreads.

The minute I looked to other people to validate my worth as a writer through Goodreads reviews was the worst career mistake I’ve ever made.

Don’t get me wrong, Goodreads is a great place for readers. I’ve made several good online friends through Goodreads; however, the constant fear of seeing readers not liking my book ate away at me every time I logged in. I’d see readers leaving hateful reviews on random books, and would worry if that would happen to my book. I became so wrapped up in worrying what reviewers would think that I lost sight of the very reason I started writing in the first place: to just write. For that feeling of seeing a finished product.

I didn’t require validation to keep writing as a kid, and I don’t need it now.

I have censored my writing due to fear of what others will think, and in the process I’ve crippled my writing voice. No more.

I have considered not finishing my current WIP, The Crush, because it’s a YA romance and I’ve lost count of the number of readers I’ve come across that dislike romance. But, that’s rather stupid of me.

I wrote Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl to portray how I wish my freshman year would have gone in terms of finding my high school sweetheart.

I wrote Speak Your Mind because I was the shy, awkward girl in 7th grade who was called names and bullied because I didn’t talk, and I know thousands of other shy girls have experienced the same thing.

I’m writing The Crush because I want to show teen girls that we need to look to God first before we get caught up in finding our “true love” in a man.

All my WIPs have one thing in common: I’m writing a book I want to read, or that I needed during a certain point in life. I’m publishing them so I can hold those finished books, so the family and friends who want to read them can. Over the past two years, I’ve worried what readers who I personally don’t know will think of my books. That’s dumb. Don’t get me wrong, constructive criticism from readers matter. Loyal readers are necessary if I want to gain a fan base, become a best-selling author, blah blah… but it won’t be worth it if I let non-constructive criticism make me lose sight of my Mission 1 Mindset.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? -Matthew 16:26

It especially won’t be worth it if I claim to be writing to spread the love of God through books and then listen to the world’s opinions of my writing over His. God gave me the gift of writing. God knows my heart in writing what I write. Why then, have I allowed the opinions of others to make me question my writing skills, to make me question if my writing meets the standards to be called Christian fiction? No more.

If God wants me to become a money-making author some day, that’s up to Him. No amount of attempting to force it into action by myself is going to make it happen. The only thing that happens when we put our own desires over God’s desires for us is anxiety. The only thing that happens when we place our own value in the opinions of others instead of God is feeling worthless.

Going Back to Mission 1

So now, I’m going to do my darnedest to go back to my Mission 1 Mindset: to just write. To pour out whatever story I have in mind onto paper, to see that finished product. I’m going to try to distance myself from looking at reviews and just use Goodreads for reading purposes. I’m going to use the words and content I feel convicted to use when writing. I’m not going to filter my writing to appease others. I’m going to keep writing about the world in a realistic way from the POVs of imperfect (because we all fall short) Christian characters. I’m going to stop soaking up all the miscellaneous marketing articles I can find and market the way I want.

I’m not a mediocre author for not following those articles. I’m not a mediocre Christian for writing about real-life situations people experience. I’m only mediocre when I let anxiety for what the world will think about my writing overshadow the ability God has given me: to write for Him in my own unique way.

Here’s to going back to Mission 1! 😀


Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Self-Publishing

You’re Not Selfish for Wanting a Profitable Author Career | Part 4: Final Words

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! Welcome to Part 4 of Authoring Arrowheads’s September series: You’re Not Selfish for Wanting a Profitable Author Career: Final Words.

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Final Words

An author career is no different than that of any other career in terms of wanting the career to thrive. Ask anyone with a typical eight hour job if they’d like a pay raise, and I’d estimate upwards of 95% would raise their hands. Just because authors have fun (well, most of the time), writing their books, it doesn’t mean that they should do so for free, or be deemed “selfish” by society. We live in a society where one can see their dreams become realities and hobbies they love become paychecks. Authors, to the naked eye, may not appear like we work hard for our royalties, but we do. We pour our souls out on paper, put out hearts and sanity on the line to entertain the masses. We put hours upon hours of time into making the book the best it can be, and price it at $0.99 in digital format because we fear a higher price may scare off potential readers.

Money isn’t something you’re entitled to in life, and I’m by no means saying authors inherently deserve to make millions, or even hundreds of thousands in royalties. The overall point of this series is that society needs to stop deeming authors selfish for hoping for the possibility of making a livable income solely from writing.

Don’t be dream squashers, people. Just don’t.

Check out the previous posts in the series at the links below:


I hope you’ve enjoyed this September series, Arrowheads! From here on out (or until I think of something new 😋), Authoring Arrowheads will return to its regularly scheduled programming of posts on Wednesdays and Fridays! XD

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Book Marketing, Self-Publishing

You’re Not Selfish for Wanting a Profitable Author Career | Part 3: The “Lazy” Work

Welcome back, Arrowheads! Today as Part 3 of the You’re Not Selfish for Wanting a Profitable Author Career series, I’ll be discussing the time log of the “lazy” work us authors actually do in order to write, edit, publish and market our books, and why it’s not actually lazy work at all.

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What Work Do Authors Do?

Actually Writing Our Books

Personally, my writing speed is sporadic for books. The first took a year and a half, while the second took seven years. I ran a poll on Twitter a while back asking how long it usually takes for authors to finish their first drafts, and most said from six months to a year per book. Writing a book takes a lot of time commitment, but a lot of people don’t see that.

Self-Editing the Book

So far I’ve proofread through Speak Your Mind (280-something pages) 5 times at the time of writing this post. At around 7 hours per read, that equates to 35 hours. For each round of self-editing, it takes me about an hour to go through and correct the mistakes, so now we’re up to 40 hours. That’s an entire week’s worth at a typical 8 to 5 job.

Oh yeah, and this is before applying beta reader or editor feedback. I’m also not a prolific author who pens multiple books a year, so imagine how many hours they spend editing.

Writing/Formatting Blog Posts

For Authoring Arrowheads, I post on Wednesday and Friday each week, and will occasionally post on other days (like this Monday series 😉). This equates to 104 posts minimum for a year if I stick to two a week. These posts take from twenty minutes to an hour to write and finalize, which if I’m calculating from an average of 40 minutes per post, that equals out to 4,160 minutes per year, or 69.3 hours.

Blog Tours

Participating and hosting blog tours are author tasks that require even more time blogging. Blog tours involve prep time to plan the tour; announcing the tour and creating a Google docs form; waiting to hear from participants; preparing and sending out ARC copies; creating graphics; sending out graphics, social links, purchase links, author bio, and book descriptions (plus creating giveaways if you opt to do that); answering author interview and/or character interview questions; writing guest posts; following up on your participants posts and engaging and sharing their posts to your platforms; etc.

I don’t know if I can provide an accurate account of time spent on blog tours, but please don’t assume it’s easy. It’s not.

Social Media Marketing

After blog posts are published, it takes an average of about ten minutes to post the blog post links on social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. Multiply 104 posts minimum to that, and that equals out to 1,040 minutes per year, or 17 hours.

Book Reviews

Ah, but hold on! A large amount of author endeavors (especially for many self-published authors) comes in the form of promoting other authors’ books. Like I mentioned earlier, the novel I’m editing right now takes seven hours on average for me to read through at 280-something pages. I’d say that’s a good average amount of pages for the books I read. So, 7 hours times the number of books I’ve written reviews for this year (20 at the time of writing this), equals out to 140 hours. But, that’s not on a steady stream of reading. Some of the reviews I’ve posted this year were old reviews, and most were not posted until March, when I started reading regularly again. I have a feeling that to represent a full year of continuous book reviews, that would equal about 220 hours per year, taking off time for some shorter stories that are less than 50 pages.

All this does not include extra marketing endeavors such as planning ads on Amazon/Facebook/Goodreads, planning and prepping for book signings, attending and/or speaking at conferences, creating a book trailer, creating miscellaneous videos for a YouTube channel, or building and maintaining friendships with fellow authors or readers.

Don’t tell me authors don’t work.


Can you relate to this series? What other author endeavors do you take part in? Feel free to share in the comments!

Next week I’ll be closing out this Monday series with Part 4: Final Words. Thank you for stopping in the past few weeks to read these extra posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed them! 🙂

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀