Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lessons Learned ... I Hope

I have learned many lessons over the last few months.  Most of them have to do with the fact that I get very focused sometimes on one thing.  It’s both a blessing and a curse.  It makes me work hard on one thing, but sometimes at the expense of others (like actually writing).  For someone with great limits on time like I have, that’s where the curse part comes in.

But I figure by talking about it, maybe I can purge it a little bit and learn from it.  So, what exactly did I learn over the last few months?

1. Fight the battles that need fighting, but understand when it becomes a draw.  In July and August, I became very engaged in the issue of e-book piracy.  I had no idea it was so rampant.  I did a lot of research into the issue and made several blog posts about the subject.  And I engaged the pirates on their own “turf”, so to speak, joining one of their boards and making an argument against the practice.

Did it have any real impact?  Possibly.  I got an e-mail from someone thanking me for educating them on the issues and impacts of e-book piracy on individual authors.  So perhaps my efforts did make some headway with people that truly didn’t know what they were doing.  But, frustrating was the attitude of diehards, and their staunch denial of facts, their sense of entitlement.  I’ve run into this before, once people take a position, they stick by it despite any compelling evidence to the contrary.  Mostly in religion and politics, but then some pirates DO consider this a political or even religious issue.

Do I regret doing it?  Not at all.  I learned a ton about the industry itself while researching this issue, so that’s a good thing.  (If you want to read what I found out, check out the blogs titled “Pirates or Patriots?” in July and August.)  But … the effort did take a lot out of me, and ultimately arguing with that attitude is simply draining.

2. Social media promotion works.  I had two things going on in September and October.  First was my entry with Dawn Treadway into the Harlequin 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest.  Second was the publication of the anthology containing Patricia Laffoon’s and my second short story.  For both of these events, I promoted heavily on Facebook and opened a Twitter account.  And I also created a Facebook event for each. So what did I see?  Engagement on the event pages.  Several glowing reviews for the anthology.  Spikes in Amazon sales rank that coincided with promotional posts and contests.  So does it work?  It sure seems to.

3. A watched inbox never fills.  With regards to the Harlequin contest, I think I’ve become a little obsessed.  Waiting and waiting for an e-mail that never comes is PAINFUL.  At this point, it’s a pretty safe assumption that we did not get selected as a finalist, which of course is disappointing, but we learned that MANY people liked the first chapter which has encouraged us to move forward with submissions regardless of the final results.  But obsessing over it has been detrimental to … well just about everything else LOL.

4. I have a pretty obsessive personality actually.  I’m sure my wife would agree.  The common thread was … each of these things became pretty all-consuming.  I’m learning to balance out a little better, but I think I still have a long way to go.  But I’ve only gotten a total of about 5000 words written in the past month.  Gotta change that!

This whole thing has been a crazy ride, and I’m sure it will just get crazier!


  1. Maybe, like me, you have a little CDO. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - But the letters are in the correct order.) :)

  2. LOL .... maybe so ... And I still find myself checking e-mail ...

  3. Great post! I'm really going to try more to focus on getting some manuscripts finished rather than putting my time into contests and such. Every time Harl. has a fast track contest I tend to jump on that: "Oh, Harlequin Presents? I've never, ever had a desire to write one of those but since they're having a contest, I'll guess I write one...". Being side tracked is very easy for me...

  4. I seem to get side tracked with life in general. I let what's happenimg in my personal life either bring me up or bring me down. Gotta change that
    Another thing I need to change is ctitizim. Even constructive can side track me and put me off my game. Since I have another job right now I really need to focus when I'm home. Love the blog. Very helpful. Keep it up!

  5. The "real job" gets me all the time. Thanks for stopping by Kara!