Alright, alright, let’s not get testy about it. The title of this post is a play on the popular, So I’m a Spider, So What? series of fun Light Novels. Do you like spiders? Check it out. 🙂
But I am, in fact, a liar. A terrible, terrible liar.
Mistakes were made, and, if truth be told, mistakes will be continually made. That’s just the way I do things. See wall? Smash head against wall. At least I learn from the experiences and improve (most of the time).
So what have I been lying about? Publication dates. Le sigh.
In a perfect world, I would have had Arachnomancer book 2 done already. In fact, it should have been done a month ago. But I had the brilliant—and still pretty decent—idea of diving into all the challenges of marketing, which ultimately led to the release of Dungeon Runner 1 and 2.
All of this—blog, website, social media, side projects, free serial, etc.—soaked up lots and lots of time, allowing me to feel like I was doing a great job. If I had maintained my publishing schedule of the one and only thing that is making me money, I would have been doing a great job.
Instead, I dropped the ball.
After lots of soul searching, I’ve come to a simple conclusion: give the readers what they want. You want Arachnomancer 2? Well, that’s my focus. In fact, I’ve dropped three other active writing projects so that I can release new Arachnomancer and Dungeon Runner books quicker.
Dungeon Runner. . .?
Yes, I’m sticking with Dungeon Runner, because . . . I made a promise. When I release a story, I promise that I will see it to completion, whether or not it does well in the market.
Dungeon Runner 1 floundered. It launched to lackluster downloads and received multiple negative reviews or ratings. To speak honestly—or rather, write honestly—I wanted to unpublish it. After the success of Arachnomancer, Dungeon Runner was a stain on my record, a stain that would forever exist.
Not only was this a distraction, but it also hurt my ability to sling words onto the page. As a creative, you question every little decision you make. When those decisions result in something that appeared to have failed, you most definitely do not want to repeat those apparent bad decisions.
What saved me from this downward spiral was a much-needed perspective change. I took a step back and discovered a few things. First, the biggest complaint with the serial was its length and my inability to set proper expectations. I fixed that: expectations set. Second, if length was the biggest problem, all I needed to do was release more words.
I didn’t abandon Dungeon Runner, and I’m glad I didn’t. I pushed harder and released the second book.
Dungeon Runner 1 and 2 have now been downloaded over 3,000 times with review scores of 4.0 and 4.7, respectively (at the time of this writing). They continue to get 20-40 new downloads a day from new readers who are more likely to check out Arachnomancer, now having been introduced to my writing.
I plan to publish many, many more Dungeon Runner books over the coming years. Not only are they fun, exciting stories that I enjoy writing, but they serve as a fantastic and free introduction for new readers.
If you enjoyed these books, please leave a review! If you haven’t read them, check out my awesome, hand-coded, book landing pages where you can grab them from your preferred store: Dungeon Runner 1 and Dungeon Runner 2.
What is life without change?
Some of the problems I ran into were, mostly, unavoidable. Chalk them up to being a new author. Life experience can be a great teacher, and I simply had to experience this stuff myself.
I found that reading reviews, as fun as it was, had severely hurt my ability to write. You may think it’s because of negative reviews, however, most of those people are either not my audience or bumbling idiots. I can’t fix stupid nor will I tiptoe on eggshells, trying to avoid whatever new moral high ground that has so offended them.
So what’s the problem? As odd as it may seem, it’s all the glowing reviews. Now, in no way do I want you guys to stop giving my books high reviews, but I must stop reading them.
Writing is very much a conscious and subconscious effort. In order for me to dial down the overwhelmingly self-critical dials on my writing, I can’t be trying to live up to such high expectations. I need the freedom to take risks with my writing, include something stupid or silly or fun.
I play League of Legends and, generally, play quite well. During my first tournament, I stopped doing all the reckless stuff in fear of throwing the game for my friends. It turns out that all my reckless plays were what made me a decent player.
Writing with the fear of disappointing your fans is a great way to ruin a good thing. That’s not to say there were no helpful tidbits in all of those reviews, but they made me second guess every paragraph, every sentence, every word. I rewrote and rewrote the text to make it better, and I’m still not sure it’s better.
So I stopped reading reviews—and it’s killing me! I want to know what you guys are saying!—and I can suddenly write again. Reviews are my kryptonite (and my favorite food; mmm, crunchy).
Perhaps more notable, and what I should have started with, is deadlines.
I’m throwing them out.
“Goodbye and good riddance!”
This doesn’t mean I’m not sitting here, day after day, slaving over my keyboard to wrangle new words onto the screen. Nor does it mean I don’t have an overly strict schedule and a bomb duct-taped to the pressure sensor on my chair. Have no fear, I’m still a hard-working slave.
But deadlines, I’ve found, are evil things to strap to a creative piece of work. They add unnecessary pressure to produce words, to rush the outcome, to cut corners.
I cannot know how long Arachnomancer 2 will be. I may aim for a length, but a story will be as long or as short as the story will be. By being an idiot and publishing a public set of deadlines, I only added stress to my creative process.
With that said, Arachnomancer 2 will be out July 7th.
No! Stop! It’ll be out when it’s good and ready!
Seriously, no deadlines. Instead, I merely make the promise to work hard and publish the best work I’m capable of publishing. I’d rather have a good story to share than a rushed one.
The end is nigh!
If you’re reading this here sentence, it’s possible you care too much about what I am doing. But that’s totally not weird. In fact, it’s cool. +10 to Warm Feelings.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a wonderful day, hour, minute, second, in reverse order. Smile, be happy, and I’ll see you next time!