As the month progresses, I’ve been reading the blog posts written by other members of Scene 13. We’ve been discussing whether luck or perseverance is most important for a writer’s success. I think there’s a third element that’s also important, but so far, I’ve only seen one other author mention it. What’s that missing element? Flexibility.
I don’t want to dismiss luck and perseverance. After all, luck–getting the right person to read your story or finding out about an anthology that would be a good match for a retired story–can be key in get a story published or finding readers, and perseverance can keep you going long enough to develop your writing chops and find opportunities. Certainly, as someone who waited fourteen years for her husband to propose, I know a lot about perseverance. However, to me, perseverance implies following the same strategy over and over. Publishing is changing so rapidly that you can’t expect to do the same thing all the time and get the same results. You need to follow what’s happening and be willing to change when it’s necessary.
When I first started writing, traditional publishing was the only path any serious writer would take. However, two stories that meant a great deal to me didn’t fit well with traditional publishing. Although they were both in the same series, one was a novella narrated by a woman in her mid-twenties, while the sequel was a full-length novel focusing on the woman’s teenage son. Novellas are a difficult sell to book publishers. For a time I considered putting the two stories together as one novel, but that book would have been too long for any traditional publisher to try with a newbie author. I could have dropped the first book and tried pushing the second as a standalone YA novel, but that wouldn’t have fit with what I want to do with the next book in the series. Plus, Joanna deserved the opportunity to tell her story.
The advent of tools for simple self-publishing gave me the ability to put both stories out there at the length that I thought was best for each of them. I did have to change my mindset toward self-publishing, but when I did, I discovered other advantages to self-publishing that may help me someday achieve my long-term goal of writing full-time.
Today, both Lyon’s Legacy and Twinned Universes, Books One and Two of the science fiction Catalyst Chronicles series, are available in paper and ebook formats. The official publication date for Twinned Universes was supposed to be this coming Sunday (since my main character is pure Irish, I thought the tie-in to Saint Patrick’s Day was appropriate), so I’ll take my family out for brunch to celebrate. And hopefully with the perseverance to finish the Catalyst Chronicles series, the flexibility to change strategies as publishing evolves, and the luck to find the right readers for my books, I’ll be writing stories for years to come.