Before Selling Books…

I’m reading Lee French and Jeffrey Cook’s Working the Table: An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions. I’m reading it partially because I want to figure out whether it even makes sense to do conventions as an Indie and partially because I really like Lee and reading her book makes me feel as if I’m conversing with her. She told me that this most recent SSWS would be her last for a while and that stabs me to the heart.

It’s a good book with some nice insights. I’ll do a proper book review when I finish it. Meanwhile, I want to focus on the beginning of the book which wasn’t precisely about selling books. It was about writing books, finishing them properly, and putting them on the market. Which really is a prerequisite for selling books at a convention.

Yes, I am saying that she and her co-writer made the point that before you can vend your books at conventions you need to finish the books and publish them. Which seems like it is a ‘duh’ kind of moment. But there I was reading the book, thinking about vending while my books languish unfinished and unpublished.

So much of writing success comes down to Heinlein’s Rules:

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.
  4. You must put it on the market.
  5. You must keep it on the market until sold.

I’m finally doing well at 1 and 2 for short stories. I have 47 short stories in Duotrope, which should make it easy to move to step 4, send them out to markets. But that’s harder right now than just writing another story. Not more time-consuming. It will take longer to write the next story. But emotionally more difficult.

I’ve already registered for next year’s Superstars Writing Seminars. My goal is to have two or three books published before I go. Because, as Lee points out, before books can be sold or given away, they have to be published. And before they can be published they have to be finished (including beta reading and editing). I have much to do.

Both in her book and in person, Lee is incredibly chill. Hard things just seem easier with her around. So I’m inspired in a quiet way to do the work, to follow Heinlein’s Rules until I find success.

Be well, friends!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pick something and send it. Seriously. I had flash fiction piece that I wrote during a 10 stories in 10 weeks challenge. When I finished it, my inner critic kept saying something was wrong with the story. It wasn’t specific. I finally did a redraft. At the time, I was still new with getting setting into my stories and it was fair to say it needed more than what I had. When I finished the redraft, inner critical still claimed something was wrong. This time I sent it to a magazine. Two hours I came back and an editor from another magazine that used the same box for submissions sent me such a complimentary acceptance I had to read it twice, thinking it was a joke. If I’d listen to the inner critic, that would have never happened.

    Pick a call and send it. The worst that will happen is that you’ll get a form rejection, which means they didn’t get past the first sentence. Then send it out again.

    1. Wow! That’s quite a story and fairly inspiring.

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