The dream of everyone that wants to be a writer is to draft the next great American novel, release it to public accolades and sit back while the money and notoriety roll in.
There’s one word for that… fantasy.
In today’s publishing climate, its never been easier to get your idea into novel form. However, that same availability makes the process of getting visibility of your novel that much more difficult. Writers have to think of the long game, not a short success. It takes time to build an audience, to create momentum and to rise above the sea of traditionally and independently published novels.
The best chance at success in today’s publishing world is to write a series and release the novels as quickly and consistently as possible. Under that scenario it will take time, anywhere between 3-5 novels, before there’s enough material and traction to find those true fans that will enjoy everything we write.
Our expectations with this first novel, Kneel & Prey, were:
- Create a wow product
- Gain social proof by acquiring 20 reviews.
- Gain visibility through social media and word of mouth.
To reach these goals, I created a launch team that would read the story, give honest reviews and promote it online during the three week $0.99 rollout price. Since people read stories at different speeds, I knew all of the goals wouldn’t be reached by the end of the rollout period, but I fully expect them to be realized by the release of the second novel.
I’m not going to make a living with Kneel & Prey, but it may just be the cornerstone of a series of Gabby Wells Thrillers that gets me closer to that dream.
Writing is a lifelong marathon, not a fad-like sprint. I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was nine years old. I will continue to write for the rest of my life. Now that independent publishing is a viable option, I can share those stories with others and may be able to one day take that passion and turn it into a career.
In between now and then, the best thing I can do is create lofty goals founded by realistic expectations. Having already mapped out my release strategy for the rest of the series, I am hopeful that, by growing the expectations for each novel release, by the time the last one reaches the shelves, the momentum generated will have allowed the series to have found its audience and given them a fulfilling, entertaining experience.
But setting the correct expectations is important. Too many people set unrealistic goals and, when they fail to materialize, give up on their dreams. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Writing a successful novel is hard enough. Study the industry, look at successes, create a multi-year plan and stick to it, adjusting as needed.
All dreams are possible, but few don’t include a massive amount of work and recognizing the small steps required to meet your long term goals. Expectations can set you up to succeed or fail. Craft them wisely.