Hey ~ V here. I was wasting time on the computer, thinking about what topic I wanted to blog about when it hit me: Building a Successful Writing Career as an Indie Pub’d Author is a Lot Like Level 60 in Farm Frenzy 3. (Yes, I was playing Farm Frenzy when this “eureka!” happened).
“How?” you might ask. Or, “V, have you gone completely off your rocker?!” Either way, let me explain.
For those who’ve never donated hours of their valuable time to the writing-time-sucker that is Farm Frenzy (1, 2 or 3) this is a fun little time management game where you have small goals like buy a turkey and collect 3 eggs and a short amount of time for each level, 3 – 6 minutes depending on how hard the level is. Then you get to the last level (or in FF3, level 60) where you have 45 minutes to buy a robot ($50,000). You start off with nothing and $0.
The first 10 minutes are painfully slow going. You have to wait for bears to arrive, catch them and then sell them at the market in your tiny, wicked slow truck that only carries two at a time. Eventually, you can buy one $100 turkey and begin to collect eggs, but you have to buy all the different processing plants to make cakes from your eggs. Cakes sell for $200.
After a while, you can afford to buy some sheep and make jackets that sell for $1300 and maybe dress some of the bears in those jackets and sell ’em for big bucks ($7000 – do you get the sense that I’ve played this game a lot?) Now you’re starting to have some money and you can upgrade your wicked slow truck to a much faster 18-wheeler.
Then suddenly you can get a cow and make cheese which sells for a pretty penny. Next thing you know, you’ve got $50,000 and are your way to buying that robot!
I think this is the perfect allegory for creating a writing career as an Indie Published writer. You’ve got this insane goal of building a big audience and you are starting with nothing and $0. The beginning is slow going. You’ve got a product but the distribution vehicle is wicked slow. You’ve got to get in front of people, get the word out. Again and again and again. You’ve got to find reviewers, speaking engagements, sales opportunities. Every time you earn a little money, you’ve got something new to upgrade. A new trailer for your book, marketing material to buy, pay a lawyer or accountant or illustrator. You might need office supplies, copies of your books to sell or gas to get to your speaking engagement.
And you know they say time is money. Well, it’s certainly true that like money, I don’t have enough time! Time to write, research marketing techniques, reviewers, sales opportunities. (Yes, perhaps if I spent less time playing games…)
But, in Farm Frenzy, things start slow and then begin to build until they finally take off. My writing career might be going slow now, but what about when I have several books out there and people start hearing about me? A new customer who likes one book is apt to buy the whole lot if they are priced correctly. And I have time on my side. Maybe it’ll be ten years before I get that robot, that huge readership, but then I’ll have 15-20 books out and movie deals and maybe even a theme park! OK, that might be a bit much, but who’s to say?
Here’s today’s secret: It’s OK for your career to take time to build. We aren’t all JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyer who became insanely popular writers right away. Julia Quinn and Lynn Kurland have been in the game for 15 years or more to get where they are. It takes time and that’s OK.
What are your writing career goals and how are you working to get there? Are they short term or long term goals?