Visibility for your book

A line drawing of a man thinking about marketingI often use this blog as a way of getting things straight in my head. Today’s no different, and lately I’ve been researching book marketing.

Marketing is one of those necessary evils most writers consider even less appealing than mixing nuclear waste with fresh sewage and catapulting it at that annoying possum who tap-dances on your roof at 2am.

To get past the whole ‘I feel dirty just contemplating marketing’ issue, it helps find a reason to do it. By that I mean a reason that’s bigger than your desire not to do it.

Start off with that change of mindset, and then move onto a new definition of marketing. Marketing’s not about selling. It’s about visibility. You want to make your book into a funny cat video (metaphorically) that people will share all over the web.

So how do you do that?

Hoped-for results

Firstly, you need a desired outcome; a clear and hittable goal – something like convincing tap-dancing roof possums to visit your neighbour’s place so you can get a good night’s sleep.

So state your desired outcome for your book’s potential. Writ it down. Something small, like: “Number one international bestseller” or “Get it into the hands of a hundred-million people in the first hour after publication”.

If that’s a bit scary (and rightfully so), how about something infinitely more attainable like: “Sell at least a copy a week for an entire year”? A small but constant stream of books going out the door might feel better than a single burst followed by the sound of crickets, and probably means your marketing efforts are working.

A goal that sits somewhere in the middle might be: “Sell enough copies to justify my incurable writing habit”. You’ll need to define what you mean by justifying the habit, but as long as you do, you can for it.

Whatever you decide, it’s got to be an clear and definable outcome that you want. Make it something presently out of your reach but still possible with effort.

Now, put your outcome somewhere where you can see it every day – taped to the bottom of your monitor, for instance. You’ll need to remind yourself constantly.

Have a reason

Next, find a purpose that will get you out of your comfort zone and doing the things you don’t want to do. What’s the point of having a goal if you don’t have a reason to do it?

So what excites you? Is it the potential for critical acclaim, the possibility of becoming a celebrity, or simply seeing people get pleasure from reading your book?

Break it down some more – define what your goal means to you personally. It could be anything you care about, such as:

  • selling enough copies will get you (monetarily):
    • financial security and the knowledge you’ll never need to go out and get another job again
    • your very own house and owning it outright
    • the ability to send your kids to private schools so they can have the best education possible
  • the prestige of being invited to visit readers groups
  • the chance to stand on a stage and talk to thousands of people at a convention
  • a future movie deal where you can walk the red carpet like a star
  • make your spouse/kids/parents/friends proud of you
  • all of the above
  • any of a thousand other reasons that excite you?

Whatever it is, it has to be emotionally engaging; something that means a lot to you. You won’t go out of your way otherwise. You’ve got to want it enough to care.

Make it visible

With your desired outcome sorted and an emotional reason to achieve it, you now need to figure out exactly how you’re going to achieve your goals.

How will you get the book in front of people both before and after it’s published?

Don’t forget that marketing’s about visibility, not sales. You want to convince people to buy it, not actually sell it to them yourself. That’s a job for the retailer.

Barring a stroke of luck on the scale of winning the lotto three times in a row, no one’s going to find out about your book unless you get it in front of them. It’ll get swallowed by the black void of roof-dancing possums and funny cat videos posted on YouTube.

So how are you going to make your book visible? Start by researching book marketing ideas via that mystical thing called an internet search and see what others have done before you. There are some really innovative and clever ideas out there, and at least some of them have worked. A lot may be out there, so pick a few you’re comfortable with for now and leave the rest on your long list of possibilities.

When you’ve got a list of ideas, break your strategy into three parts – pre-publication, book launch, and post-publication.


Build a presence online to let people know you’re writing a book. Focus on one thing at a time, and when that’s sorted expand your reach. Start by:

  1. joining your local writers’ centre and finding people/groups to connect with (if possible)
  2. setting up a website/blog (if you haven’t already). Research how to get people to visit it and implement some of those ideas (producing content helps… just saying)
  3. create social media accounts and learn how to use them (if you haven’t already)
  4. join online writers groups.

Doing the above allows you to tap into a vast wealth of knowledge and experience out there, as well as becoming known to people that matter (readers and writers).

Use your social media connections ask for advice from the writers who’ve launched books before while subtly letting them know you exist and that you’re also about to launch a book.

Book launch

Unless you’re a superpower in the writing world, no publisher is likely to organise and pay for you to launch your book. If you’re self-publishing, that’s a given. So:

  • do multiple book launches if possible – conventions, writers festivals, bookstores; wherever readers gather (visibility, remember?)
  • tap into your network and find someone with credibility, pull and showmanship to launch it for you
  • you’ll need to do a speech, so practice it and deliver it like a pro
    • a little training here goes a long way.
  • write your own press release – you never know, some journalist out there may be looking to write an ‘underdog does good’ article, so give them an angle and a reason to choose you.

Post book launch

Think of this as long-haul marketing. Again, marketing’s not about selling, but about visibility, so be the next funny cat (or tap-dancing-and-nuclear-waste-dodging roof possum) video everyone’s tuning into.

Think of creative ways to get the book in front of people without being obnoxious about it; refer to your list and search the internet for new ideas if you can’t think of any yourself. There’s plenty out there.

  • Spend a few hours a week thinking up/researching and implementing ideas to make your book more visible.
  • To increase visibility and meet potential readers, get a table at:
    • the local markets
    • artists alleys at conventions
    • wherever else the opportunity arises (team up with other writers if you don’t want to go it alone).
  • Do book signings at bookshops.
  • Write the next book, and the next (and publish them too – more books = more visibility).

However you approach it, try and have fun. Treat marketing like an adventure and you’ll never be disappointed, even if some approaches totally fizz.

What’s your best marketing (visibility) tip? Please let me know in the comments, and share this post with other writers who might find it useful.

Conflux 11 – Are You Attending?

Conflux 11Conflux this year is set to be amazing – four full days of convention goodness designed for writers of all levels of experience.

Karen, Leife and the Committee have done an amazing job of organising events, panels, workshops, and guests, not to mention wrangling a ridiculous number of people to help out on panels, administrative duties, volunteering, and organising specific areas like the dealer’s room.

If you haven’t been to a Conflux convention before, you’re in for a treat.

For my part, I’m sitting on a bunch of panels on the Saturday and one more on the Monday, as well as running two workshops.

About the workshops:

Creating Compelling Characters

This workshop will run at 1pm on Friday 2 October. Come along for an exciting two-hours that will take you well beyond simple character descriptions and backstories.

Here’s what its about:

Readers have certain expectations that go far beyond genre, beginning with characters they want to spend time with.

Creating Compelling Characters will give you the essential hands-on toolkit to ensure your readers care about what happens to your characters, even the ones they hate.

Through practical exercises and group activities you’ll learn how transform ‘boring’ or even ‘interesting’ characters into ‘absolutely compelling’ individuals.

You’ll gain a clear understanding of how to:

  • apply simple techniques to ensure your characters come across as real, riveting, and engaging people
  • exceed reader expectations through drama and conflict
  • draw readers into an intense emotional experience they’ll be desperate to share with their friends.

The workshop will leave with the keys to making your characters resonate with the people who matter the most – your readers – and to keep them thinking about your story long after they’ve read the last word.

Polishing Your Pitch

My second workshop runs on the Saturday at 2.30pm, and is designed to help you get from nervously wondering what to say to an agent or editor, to a polished pitch designed to intrigue and tempt them into asking for your manuscript.

There are some really simple techniques that will help you do this, the most basic being able to concisely and coherently deliver the essentials of what your novel’s about.

This workshop will help you:

  • create an elegant and informative overview of your story
  • get over any nerves
  • ensure you walk away with the best outcome possible – a request to read your manuscript.

You can find all the details and booking information on the Conflux Website.

Volunteer for Conflux

Register for either of my workshops (or any others)

Attend Conflux (includes all workshops and panels etc)

Are you attending? If so, look me up. I’m always ready for a coffee!

Things I wish I knew about Dealing With Rejection when I started writing

Dealing with rejectionRejection’s never fun, and although I’ve copped a fair amount of it I still suffer from that moment of disbelief whenever another story gets returned.

Either something didn’t resonate (which is rarely the writers fault – you can’t please everyone), or the story in your head got lost in translation – which is your fault. You’re the translator, after all.

You’d be surprised at how frequently people see something you didn’t intend, or more likely, how rarely they do.

Regardless of the reason, rejection gets easier, but I doubt anyone would ever say it’s a ‘woohoo’ moment (even if you’re involved in some sort of competition to get you submitting – the more rejections, the more proactive you’re being as a writer, after all).

It’s hard not to be precious about our writing, but you can reduce the angst by writing more stories and sending out. That way you’re not pinning your hopes on one – you’ll have dozens out there carrying your dreams of publication.

Don’t consider trunking a story until it’s had at least fifteen or twenty rejections either, and probably not even then. You cared enough to write it, so there’s always going to be something magic there.

Put the story away for a while if you need to – you’ll see it with fresh eyes when you return to it.

In the mean time, write more stories and keep sending them out. Sooner or later, you’ll hit a mark. Lots of marks, hopefully.

Here’s some more great advice on Dealing with Rejection:

“Expect rejection, and when the rejection letter comes, put on your thick skin and send your story out again. Then sit down and feel the pain, and because your baby has been sent out again, feel the hope. Keep writing.” Cora Foerstner

“Rejection is part of the process and your work will not be right for everyone, no matter how good it is. Keep multiple queries or submissions going out, so you don’t have all your eggs (and hopes) in one basket.” Maer Wilson

“When I experience rejection, I consider that all the big authors have five star and one star reviews, so we should expect it too. And, when it’s your baby…remember, it will be a big and strapping young thing one day that can handle itself.” James Steven Clark

“That first rejection might hurt. Even the second. But by the thirtieth, or one-hundredth, it’s like water off a duck’s back. Doesn’t bother you so much. Trust that this will happen and don’t let the fear of rejection stop you.” Vanessa MacLellan

“Before sending off a submission, always know where you’ll be sending that story next should it get rejected. Having a back-up plan before you receive a rejection will soften the blow.” Zena Shapter

“You most likely won’t win the book lottery. Margaret Mitchell, John Scalzi, and others who have managed the almost impossible, partially got lucky, but they had the book that made it possible for them to get lucky. So if you’re getting lots of rejection letters, look to reworking your book, or abandon it and move on.” Gerri Lynn Baxter

Check out some of the other posts in the “Things I Wish I Knew About” series: Author PromotionPoint Of View CritiquingEditing Your Own Work, Short Stories, Creating Characters, Story Development, Worldbuilding and Writing.

GenreCon 2013 Roundup

Chris Andrews wearing a Pirate Bandanna

GenreCon BannerI spent the last weekend at GenreCon in sunny Brisbane. Brisbane is incredibly pleasant for such a big city – at least where I was staying at South Bank.

Clean and tidy, open and airy, they’ve put a lot of effort into making the riverfront appealing, including a rainforest walk, a free pool/beach, a massive open-air stage and a café and restaurant district.

GenreCon itself was held at the State Library, a modern building with a bookshop and café outside, and great facilities inside.

The event began with a cocktail party where I caught up with a bunch of friends including Mark and Luke Mercieca, Amanda Bridgeman, David Versace and Josh Melican, and met a whole heap more.

Dave Versace
David Versace channelling James Bond at the cocktail party.

I only wish it had gone on for twice as long.

We followed up the cocktail party with drinks at the official Con hotel, though I snuck off to bed a bit early as I didn’t want to risk a hangover.

Some people chose to risk it judging by the zombie stares and Twitter talk the next day.

Day 1 was full-on. It included:

  • fantastic keynote speakers
  • workshops
  • panels.

The highlight for me was the workshop on creating book trailers with Scott Baker.

Scott gave us lots of very useful information disguised as common-sense, straightforward guidelines, but in reality he made it clear that a professional-looking book trailer is really hard to pull together, and potentially quite expensive.

The other big highlight of the day was a great chat I had with the lovely Rochelle Fernandez from HarperVoyager.

Not being faced with the prospect of having to pitch a novel to her at any point, it was a relaxed, easy-going conversation. It felt like a catch-up with an old colleague.

People dressed up as pirates at the At the Cutlasses and Kimonos Banquet.
At the Cutlasses and Kimonos Banquet.

Saturday night featured the Cutlasses and Kimono’s Banquet, where Chuck Wendig’s speech: 25 Reasons Why Genre Is Awesome (or something to that effect), had the room in laughter and cheers. Brilliant speaker. He loves wombats of the steampunk variety, apparently.

He followed it up by answering 25 Questions, which produced just as many laughs.

The final day was the ‘interesting’ day.

It started with a ‘What the?’ moment.

I woke up well before the con started, and being slightly hung-over following the banquet and after-party, I figured I needed a little more sleep.

So I took it upon myself to roll over and get some.

At some point I started awake, and panicked. You would have too.

Scott Baker explaining information displayed on a slide.
Scott Baker explaining one of his slides.

There was less than ten minutes until the con started. I bolted for the shower, determined not to miss anything.

That was stupid, of course.

The hotel was a ten to fifteen minute walk from the con, and I still had to pack up and check out.

Regretfully, I decided to sacrifice the keynote speeches, get organised, and arrive late as if I’d intended to do so all along.

Naturally enough, being at a genre convention, I entered a Time Warp at that moment.

Time Warp you say? Seriously? Yeah, seriously.

Nothing else could possibly explain it, not even the fact that the room was fairly dark when I woke and my watch has hands but no numbers.

After checking out of the hotel, I was about halfway to the con when I decided to check my social media feeds on my phone.

My phone was clearly broken. The time read 6:56am. What the…?

I checked my watch. Same thing. I looked around. The streets were fairly quiet for what was supposed to be about 10am, and the sun oddly low in the sky.

Thanks to my own personal Time Warp, I’d been given the gift of several hours.

Stranger things have happened, like the time I fell ten metres and then swam to the edge of the pool without a single broken bone.

Ferris Wheel.
A photo I took on my early morning walk.

Taking the Time Warp in my stride, I did what every red-blooded Australian would do.

I picked up some coffee and banana bread, and went for a long walk along the river. I even took some photos on my phone.

I got to the library a good hour before the con started, too. Impressive, no? Just like I planned.

Despite that, I felt as if I’d already had a big day.

After downing another coffee I rested on a bench, my ‘Duff Beer’ hat over face, and nursed my Time Warp-muddled senses until Peter Ball let me in early (what a champion!).

Day two highlights: Lean Pub – a way to publish your work as a serial, or just publish them as an e-book. Looks pretty interesting. I’ll be playing with their site and maybe using it for a series of short stories and/or writing articles.

Chris Andrews wearing a Pirate Bandanna
Me at the Cutlasses and Kimono’s Banquet.

The other highlight was the Thinking Like a Pro panel with Valerie Parv, Keri Arthur and John Connolly. Always good to get the perspective of a pro.

Unfortunately I missed the final panel and The Great Debate as Qantas refused to hold my plane for me.

Okay, technically it’s their plane, but I’d hired a seat and paid for a wonderful dinner of three tiny biscuits and a microscopic tub of relish.

The lessons I took home from GenreCon were vastly superior and much more filling than the Qantas meal, and definitely worth the effort.

A big thank you to Meg Vann and Peter Ball and all the other Con Ninjas for putting on such a great, professional event. Cheers guys – rest up for a bit.

Read last year’s GenreCon roundup or check out some other reports from David Versace and J Michael Melican.

Recharging the writerly batteries at Supernova

Two people
Me with Raymond E Feist at Supernova!

Last weekend I attended Supernova, Australia’s version of Comic Con.

Crowd city!

At times you had to wait for the person next to you to breathe out so you could breathe in.

Firstly though, I’d like to say a big thank you to Mark Mercieca for putting me up for the weekend – I really appreciate it!

At Supernova, I’d hoped to get Carrie Fisher to sign a few things – right up until I realised I’d have to pay $80 for her pen to grace my memorabilia.

I staggered away a bit shell-shocked.

Clearly, I’d failed my first true test of fandom – the lines to most of the celebrities were so thick I couldn’t even see the celebrities themselves. I didn’t chase Carrie’s signature – but a ridiculous number of people did.

Ian, Nicole and R2.
Ian, Nicole and R2.


I did redeem my fannish side by queuing for hours to get Raymond E Feist to sign some of my books.

Magician was one of the first big fantasy novels I ever read, and its success inspired me to aim for my own number one international bestseller (still working on that.)

What impressed me the most about Supernova was the fans. It was like a trip back to my childhood where a bunch of old clothes on their way to the op-shop became a gateway to adventure.

In the case of Supernova, fans dressed up as their favourite character – and they looked good!

I could have spent the entire weekend just taking happy snaps of them, while they were more than happy to pose for anyone willing to pull out a camera.moving photo of a person standing beside a stormtrooper

And that’s what it’s about for a writer – inspiring fans to care enough to dress up as one of your characters.

For a writer, it probably takes more than a book though. You’d need a hugely popular graphic novel or a deal with Hollywood to get you over that line, but still – inspirational!

In the end, it’s the dream we chase, and events like Supernova help keep it alive.

That’s also why I had my manuscript printed up as a book. Inspiration. It’s all about the dream.

Me with the copy of my book I printed for inspiration.

Update on the New Years Resolutions

Well, it’s been a pretty tough month or so – my wife’s been away studying (the first of four, one-month modules), making it difficult to catch up on writing and blogging while looking after the kids and working and generally trying to carry on without the usual backup. She’ll be back this Saturday (phew!).

Essentially, I’ve got very little writing done, and even less blogging. However, I’ve managed to put a submission together for an agent and I will send it via a giant snail this week (yes, they like snail mail for some reason – probably keeps the half-hearted away).

Earlier this year I posted a list of new year’s resolutions. A brief recap:

  • Keep putting my epic fantasy out there until it finds a home with an agent/publisher.
  • Finish editing my mermaid novel and start sending it out.
  • Write the first draft of my blind swordswoman novel.
  • Give at least two writers workshops.
  • Attend at least two conventions.
  • Firmly establish the Fantasy Writers community on Google+.
  • Write and find a home for at least one short story.
  • Write at least three guest posts on other blogs.

I’ve managed to hit some of those goals:

  • I’m still sending the epic fantasy out.
  • I’ve been editing the mermaid novel irregularly – it’ll take a concentrated effort to finish it this year as there’s another couple of months my wife will be away.
  • I’ll be giving a workshop at Conflux.
  • I’ll be attending two conventions – Conflux and GenreCon.
  • The Fantasy Writers Community on Google+ is firmly established with over 1300 members.
  • I’ve had one guest blog post published, and I’ve just sent another one off. One more to go and I’m all good for the year in that department.

And that’s the update. Here’s fingers crossed for success with the epic fantasy.

Oh yeah, I posted the first four chapters of the epic fantasy, Prophecy of Power: Quarry. Please check it out and leave a comment if you have some time.

7 Line Challenge

A woman standing hip deep in water holding a delicately carved shell.

A big thanks to Meredith Pritchard for tagging me in the 7 Line Challenge.

A woman standing hip deep in water holding a delicately carved shell.The 7 Line Challenge works a bit like The Next Big Thing, but instead of a Q&A you go to page 7 or 77 of your manuscript, find line 7, and grab the next 7 lines of text and paste them in your blog.

You then tag seven new people to do the same.

My 7 Line Challenge comes from page 7 of Epicentre, the mermaid story I’m currently editing…

“Sometimes you have to kill to survive, Grace. All life struggles in one way or another, and we’re part of that cycle. We keep the balance by taking the injured, the unlucky, and the stupid.” Maree glanced around the beach. “And sometimes we take those who don’t deserve it. It’s how life works.”

“I know,” Grace said, staring at the sand clinging to her feet.

“How about I help you pick someone? That way you can blame me and you won’t have to feel guilty.”

I only got tagged myself today. I’ll put a call out and add people as they opt in. Tag(s) so far:


New Year’s Resolutions

2013 has struck, but oddly enough I haven’t planned what I want to achieve this year. I’ve got a few things in motion already, so I thought I’d better write it down and build on it.

So, here’s my resolutions:

  1. Keep putting my epic fantasy out there until it finds a home with an agent/publisher.
  2. Finish editing my mermaid novel and start sending it out.
  3. Write the first draft of my blind swordswoman novel.
  4. Give at least two writers workshops.
  5. Attend at least two conventions.
  6. Firmly establish the Fantasy Writers community on Google+.
  7. Write and find a home for at least one short story.
  8. Write at least three guest posts on other blogs.

I could go add to that (considerably), but I think it comes down to what you’ll be happy with, rather than pie-in-the-sky stuff that’s largely unachieveable. With luck I’ll exceed it, but the plan is just to get it done at this stage.

Cover art for Prophecy of Power: Quarry

Cartoon image of Les Petersen as a gunslinger.

Professional cover artist (and good mate of mine) Les Petersen has done an amazing cover for my (as yet unpublished) epic fantasy novel.

I’m shopping the novel around for a publisher at the moment, so seeing something like this is inspiring beyond measure.

Bookcover of a man and a woman overlooking a valley.
Bookcover by Les Petersen

Cartoon image of Les Petersen as a gunslinger.Les didn’t ask for a plug, but how could I not?

Although currently rebuilding his website, he’s managed to post a few of his more recent images along with his contact details if you’re looking to hire a fantastic cover artist for your self-published novel. Check out Les Petersen’s website.

Otherwise, why don’t you take a few minutes and read a couple of my published short stories which I’ve reproduced here on my website?

What’s your Big Hairy Audacious Goal?

At the Commonwealth Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), they sometimes call for BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals that researchers are keen to aim for.

Put simply, if the Powers That Be think a big, multi-discipline research proposal has merit and it aligns with the organisations research goals, it gets funding. There’s a hint of criteria (well, a whole lot actually, not to mention reams of red tape), but the point is, the organisation is encouraging Big Ideas – and supporting them.

Which got me thinking about my own BHAG. In fact, I didn’t even realise I had one until I gave it some thought.

Lion licking his mouth.
He's got a BHAG - you!

So here it is: It’s intertwining most of my novel ideas into a huge overarching story – about 12 novels all up; some standalone, others part of a 4-part saga – all linked in some way.

I figure that if I can get one published and it does well, I’ve got a dozen more books with a ready market.

If it doesn’t do well, then I’ve got a dozen other books that don’t need the first one to work. Win-win.

I guess it’s hardly World Domination, but it’ll do as a first step.

What’s your Big Hairy Audacious Goal? I’m keen to hear!

How I wrote a novel in 60 days!

One of the most common questions/problems I come across, and one that I find is a problem for myself too, is how to find enough time for writing.

Back in my student days I had all the time I needed to write, but rarely took advantage of it.

Fast forward a few (cough cough) years and there’s far too many demands on my life to allow me the luxury of writing when I want to – job, family, social life, house/yard work etc.

So how did I manage to write the complete draft of a novel in under two months (November/December) – about 90,000 words, with so much else going on in my life?

Well, here’s how it happened.

  1. I did Nanowrimo (and decided to do it to write a new novel, just just to finish).
  2. I kept the pace up afterward and finished what I started.
  3. I told my wife I was doing Nanowrimo, and asked for a little slack.
  4. I got up half an hour early and wrote before work.
  5. I wrote after work whenever I could.
  6. I wrote on weekends when the opportunity presented itself.
  7. I aimed for an average of 1667 words a day, but wrote more if I could in order to make up for the times I couldn’t.
  8. I still did everything else I normally would.

Essentially, I stopped wasting time and used whatever spare time I had for writing.

  • I got up when the alarm when off instead of lazing in bed.
  • If I wanted to watch a show on TV, I recorded it and watched it when I’d got ahead (as a small reward) or when I was too wiped out to write.
  • If I had to do housework or yardwork, I tried to get through it faster.
  • If I had to run the kids to sports training, I took the laptop or a notepad.
  • I did simple things like turning the computer on when I got home so that when I had a spare ten minutes I could write a couple of hundred words.

And the funny thing is, the more I did it, the easier it got.

I started thinking about the story all the time – planning ahead in spare moments so that when I sat back down again I was ready (and keen) to write the next scene or chapter.

I didn’t go back to ‘fix’ things. Just soldiered on, making notes of things I wanted to change later.

As often as not I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write next – but when the time came, I wrote anyway. Apparently, Muses are overrated.

It was a little tough at the beginning – there was a certain amount of discipline I had to develop. Inspriation only took me so far.

After that I relied on discipline, and from there it all changed.

Find out more about novel structure.

Make a decision

Why is it so hard to complete a novel and get it on bookshelves?

It’s not really all that difficult if you stand back and look at it objectively.

  • You write, the word add up, and eventually there’s enough words to call it all a novel.
  • You rework it, get some feedback, fix it further, add a final coat of polish and send it away.

Its a process. Its simple. Repeat it often enough and you’ll eventually hit gold.

Why then do so many people get bogged down?

The fact is, it takes time – a sustained effort over a long period – to complete a novel, and then it takes a whole lot more time and effort to get it published.

Any sort of sustained effort is difficult because real life inevitably throws road blocks at you.

So how do you keep the enthusiasm up?

Make a decision.

“Yeah, I did that, but…”

No! Make a decision. A real decision! The kind of decision that goes like: “I’m going to do this no matter what!”. Not the “I’m going to write a novel” kind, because that’s giving yourself leeway to ‘always be writing a novel’. As Yoda says, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

The moment you commit to it however, it becomes easy.

Real life stops throwing road blocks in your way because you can see them for what they really are: speed bumps. They may slow you down a bit, but they can’t stop you any more.

Once you’ve made the decision, there isn’t a speed bump out there big enough to stop you. You’re going to get a novel on the shelves no matter what!


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