Continuing on from yesterday with the next seven reasons why you should write lots of fiction, as quickly as possible.
8. One sucky book is not the end of your business.
This is related to the previous two points.
Sometimes, you have to cut your losses. I have a few books like this. I wandered outside the comfort zone of my readers for one reason or another.
Occasionally I have done this with my eyes open.
I’m trialing a new series right now, as it happens. The first book will be out next month and while I’ve already written the second book, if the first keels over at the starting gate, I won’t write any more in the series.
I’ve also accidentally put sinkers out there—books I thought would do super well and didn’t (because nobody knows anything, remember).
When you have a lot of books and can quickly produce more, releasing a train-wreck here and there isn’t a disaster. You don’t even feel like licking your wounds very much, because you don’t take it personally. “No one wanted it. Bit of a shocker, but guess the market isn’t there after all. Next!”
It is impossible to cultivate that laissez-faire attitude when it’s the only book you’ve written in a year.
9. You can capitalize on successes.
On the other hand, if you write a book or series that suddenly takes off — and often, it’s the last book or series you expected to find traction that does, and usually when you least expect it–then, if you can get books out quickly, you can add more to the series as swiftly as you can.
This pleases both your readers and your bank account.
10. Lots of backlist lets you do very interesting promos.
You can package books into bundles, discount whole series, build series boxed sets, create spin-off stories/series and more.
I mentioned earlier in this post series about having four books of a series in a single Kobo promotion. The promotion was a three-books-for-two offer. With the first four books in the series, I had a lot of readers pick up the first three, right there and then. Later sales spikes in the series proved they came back for the rest, too.
Capitalizing on that style of promotion is only possible if you have a lot of books.
11. Lots of backlist lets you promote and/or relaunch your backlist.
I have books released years ago that I can mention in my newsletter and watch the sales spike for a week or two, because for many readers, those books are new and interesting.
Mining your backlist generates “found” money. You do nothing for that money but a little promo—in my case, a laid-back mention in the newsletter.
You can also do the full Chris Fox style relaunch, with a complete rebranding of a book/series and a formal launch with full-on promotion and advertising. It’s work, but it generates money for books that have already been written (while you continue to write more).
It is possible to live off your backlist, too.
There are several indie authors who systematically promote and advertise already-released books and series, with long delays between new releases. Sometimes the releases are a year apart, although in this case, you’re using the time you’d spend writing new books to promote and advertise older ones, instead.
In all these cases, a solid and deep backlist makes the job easier and increases passive income levels.
12. You can afford to give books away.
The merits (or not) of free or permafree shift constantly.
“Free” was once the premier promotion strategy. Currently, it’s good as a loss leader into series, or as a reader magnet for your newsletter. In the future, free books may have more—or less—use as a promotional tool. However, if you only have a few books released, free is simply not an option. You’ll lose money.
With a lot of books, it becomes a useful tool that has positive impact on your revenue, when used intelligently.
13. You always have something to talk about.
A deep backlist that you maintain and keep up-to-date means you always have something to talk about on your blog, on social media, in your newsletters, at conferences, etc.
Updated covers, re-launches, deals and promos, discounts, bundles, giveaways and downloads are all news you can share, and none of it has anything to do with your latest release.
Because I have so much going on with my releases and backlist, I have a weekly newsletter—and every week there is at least two news items about my backlist to share, often more.
Also because of my extended backlist, which covers a lot of subjects and eras, quite often there are news items or other blog posts and articles I can tie into a book I’ve already written and give that book a little boost.
Every blog post I put out is fed into the social networks, so I’m constantly feeding that beast with relevant content, not empty memes and postcards.
14. Creativity begets more creativity.
I wrote about this in my definition post, “Why Write More?” The more you write, the more you want to write and the faster and greater number of ideas you’ll have for stories and characters and situations.
And now, in 2022 and into the future, being creative with your writing will be a hedge against AI-generated content.
If my notebooks of clippings and ideas about stories, rough sketches, test chapters, outlines, character profiles and series ideas were analogue, they’d fill several filing cabinets. They’re digital notebooks, these days (I moved to electronic over several years, capturing my old hand-written notes and uploading). The digital notebooks are too big to open on mobile devices. They’re for full desktop, high-capacity PCs, now. I will never get to write all the stories I’ve thought of over the years. I just won’t live that long.
As I mentioned in the definition post, my capacity for creativity seems to increase the more I make the muscle work.
I want to write faster, so I can get more of those really cool ideas into a form I can share, but the ideas come faster and faster every year. I can afford to pick and choose the best of them. I’ve had some novel concepts sit stewing for years before I could fit them on the schedule.
Man, I had fun writing those books!
Part 3 (and the last part) tomorrow. – t.