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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Experience Built From Mistakes

When I started writing almost everyday in 2010 and realized I wanted to actually attempt to write a book from start to finish I made several mistakes.

I am a big fan of James Rollins because he is one of the first authors I discovered early in their careers and had read each of their books.  I remember his first books vividly because they were outside of the box, they took me somewhere new, taught me something, and were good books.  Through following his new releases I saw his writing change and mature as he grew as an author.  I wanted to write books like his but with my stories and ideas.

I remember thinking that my first book would always be my worst book!  I looked over the files, the bits and pieces of stories I had started over the last ten years while kicking the tires of writing.  I weighed my options and decided on “Whisper” for two main reasons.  One was the first five chapters had actually been written over sporadic periods from 2002 to 2010.  The second reason was because it was the weakest story in my arsenal.  I realized Whisper was to be the last of Wiley Randolph’s missions and how that might be confusing but only if I actually finished it, published it, and ended up writing subsequent novels and publishing them also.  That seemed so far fetched in March of 2010 that I didn’t give it a second thought and picked up where I had left off with this story and started plodding away at finishing a book.

Now looking back it was a mistake in several ways.  If I had to start all over I would have written Wiley’s first mission first.  When I got around to writing ‘Whisper’ I would have rewritten the first five chapters, it’s slow to start and hard to get into.  Readers are giving me a lot of latitude by reading past chapter five to get into the story not to mention looking past the grammatical errors and English deficiencies.  That’s why they say hindsight is 20/20.

That being said I also have to state I have no regrets.  If I had never written ‘Whisper’ I would have never written a love story.  What was to be Wiley’s last mission is now the start of something I would never have tried so early in my writing career.  A recent bashing of the English and Grammar of second novel has forced me to undertake the equivalency of going back to school – to study English.  This has hampered my writing schedule and caused some second thoughts about my writing.  We are all human and have insecurities from time to time.  Part of being persistent and self-motivating is finding the little things to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going.

“Nielsen says the average book published in the United States sells fewer than 250 copies a year and fewer than 3,000 overall. Of the 1.2 million titles Nielsen tracked in 2004 (publishing’s heyday), 950,000 sold fewer than 99 copies; only 25,000 sold more than 5,000.

This sentence was removed from a back and forth session on Writer’s Digest were experts went back and forth on the top ten rules about writing that we have all  heard about.

‘Whisper’ was the weakest story in my arsenal of stories I plan to write.  The weakest of over thirty developed full length novels I could write over the next fifteen or more years.

950,000 books sold fewer than 99 copies, that’s 79 percent of the books tracked that year!

The average book sells fewer than 250 copies a year and fewer than 3,000 overall.  It’s too early to figure the overall part.

I published “Whisper” at the end of January 2011, so it has been out for just over one year.  To date I have sold 619 copies of my worst book ever with crappy artwork drawn with a mouse in Microsoft Paint Brush, and full of errors, bad English and all.  I’ve beat the averages or at least I’ve beat over 79 percent of them based off numbers from 2004.

I am not bragging I am just dusting myself off and feeling a little better about reading English textbooks instead of writing which is a big part of what makes me happy.

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