After 14 years, I would think that I’ve got things down. I understand my process. I know what trips me up. And I know how to get back to what I want to do. And yet… since I’m part of the publishing industry, it’s my responsibility to keep tabs on new developments. Technology that makes writing and editing and publishing easier. New social media platforms where readers and authors find each other. And even confirmation that what has been used for a long time to engage readers still works.
I’ve listened to podcasts, read articles and blogs, and attended webinars about everything from running ads to writing newsletters to building scenes to fleshing out characters. The saying, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” applies to what I’ve found works for me. But sometimes I hear or read something that makes me think about my books. Did I make my character do this particular thing? Did I describe the setting in the correct way? Do I have the right beats and acts and scenes in the right places?
When I think back on my published stories, I nod my head. Yes, things are how they “should” be. If I know my process, and I can check the boxes that say my craft is okay, then what am I doing wrong? Nothing… depending on the perspective.
There are an infinite number of business models out there. Some authors rapid release, publishing six to twelve or more books per year. Other authors publish only on Amazon Kindle. Yet others publish one book a year and sell direct from their website. I’m a hybrid of all the above. What works for one author doesn’t work for all authors. The same goes for writing sentences and chapters a certain way. Or ending each book in a series on a cliffhanger. Or writing in first person. Or doing more telling than showing.
After 14 years, I know and understand my process. I know what I can produce, what my readers like, and how the stories come to me and what works best for getting them out into the world. I’ve tried darn near everything! Some of the stuff isn’t even around anymore. I’ve adapted to new technology, dropped practices that didn’t work for me, and have settled into a rhythm that makes sense for me. Someone outside my process looking in may find fault with what I do and how I do it. They may say, “You’re doing it wrong.” But in my reality? I’m doing okay. Have you thought you were doing something wrong only to discover that it works for you?