As it has been, oh, a VERY long time since I’ve managed to write anything, I’ve been reflecting lately on that wise old saying: publish or perish. The data behind it is solid, in my limited experience. Whenever I publish a new story, it tends to sell best in its first few weeks of existence. And sometimes, having a new story out gets more exposure for older work, causing a spike in sales. All of this is great! However, the flip side of the coin is that, inevitably, if there is a dip in publishing rate, there is also a lull in sales.
This must be true for many traditionally published authors as well. Plenty of books out there are excellent, but if somewhat older, and not big names, they have their heyday on the bookshelves and then are set adrift in the bottomless maw of Amazon.com. Unless you’re J.K. Rowling or otherwise independently wealthy, there can be no sitting on your laurels. However, “publish or perish” hits indie authors particularly hard. We’re little fish in a huge pond, and the only way to makes waves is through exposure — getting our work into the hands of as many readers as possible. And the only way I know to do that is to write lots (and well); publish quickly; push and celebrate your new work as long as it is “new;” then do the whole thing again. It’s an exhausting cycle, but that’s the way the writing business works.
Which is why, at least in my case, writing is a wonderful craft I work to improve. I’m proud of my stories, and I strive to make them excellent. But, I am also okay with limited sales during my slow writing times. Life happens, and that always must take priority. The good news is, I have confidence that when the time is right, I’ll be back in the saddle and into the old “publish or perish” cycle once again.