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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Hello Friends.

Today's post addresses some difficult decisions I have had to make lately to prioritize my writing and self-publishing time. Now that my books have been in distribution for a few months, and have received some positive reviews, I've started to receive some tempting requests.

Offers to participate in online writer's groups

I've received more than a dozen requests/invitations to participate in online writers groups. I want to network with other writers. So initially, I accepted almost every offer. Each certainly presented an opportunity to increase my platform as an author.

Gradually, I began to realize that I was unable to meet the demands and commitments of all these new organizations. I started receiving lots of emails from the web writer's groups I had joined. I found that I couldn't even remember joining some of them. And I certainly hadn't been an active participant.

I wondered if merely belonging to these organizations was doing me -- or them -- any good at all. If I wasn't able to be active. And I wasn't building relationships. What was the point in belonging?

I've come to the decision that I need to drop my membership in many of these groups because I am simply unable to do them justice. I don't like doing anything half-way. And I felt that was what was happening to my participation in these groups. So I have withdrawn my membership from many online writer's groups entirely -- electing to continue my involvement in only those in which I could truly remain involved.

Invitations to local writers' groups

And I have begun to decline (or at least postpone) invitations to join local and regional writer's groups as well.

I have been offered opportunities to speak to these organizations -- and even to be compensated for doing so. But since my major thrust at this point in my writing career is not becoming an expert among writers, but becoming a recognized writer myself, I have politely declined these invitations as well.

This has been very difficult for me. I want to network and exchange ideas with local and regional authors. I would love to share my self-publishing background with these folks, just as I do here on my blog. But if I were to accept these invitations, I wouldn't be able to spend the time I know I need to spend marketing my books, and working on new books.

I have come to the realization that I need to prioritize my time among opportunities. What a good problem to have! But still the source of many gut-wrenching choices.

When I make each choice I remember my short and long term goals in the writing/publishing business. I want to write and sell good books. And I want to give back to the writing community. But I must keep the two goals in balance. Right now, my give-back has to be limited to this blog and a few special exceptions. I cannot allow it to take over all of my time.

Offers to co-author

I have also received three offers (from reviewers who have read my books) to co-author new books with them. I am honored by their offers. And I would LOVE to do this. But accepting even one these offers right now would take a great deal of my own writing time from the Beck Series -- which I hope to build to a length of a dozen books or more -- and from finalizing another WIP that I have nearly ready for publication, and in which I believe deeply.

So again, I have to choose among great opportunities. And I have chosen to stay the course with my own writing -- though a collaboration with another author would undoubtedly help improve my writing skills and give me new insights into the publishing world.

I just can't do everything at once!

Keeping my focus

So I continue to struggle to keep my focus -- to keep my eye on the ball.

Right now, my priorities are:

1) to market my current books,
2) to keep writing to build my own series,
3) to undertake other writing projects only when they are of special importance to me.
4) to maintain this blog as my give-back.

(Did I mention a day job in there somewhere? My family likes to eat.)

I will do my best to cut back on other commitments to a manageable level, and stick to my program. I think it's the best decision for me right now.

I'd be interested in your thoughts as well. Please feel free to comment.

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping in.



  1. Appreciated the comments, John. I'm unpublished and I still have similar problems. I'm trying to self publish a children's ebook, and at the same time, work on social networking and author networking. How much is too much? And where should my time go? Tough decisions. Hang in there.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Ben. I sure don't have definitive answers.
    You hang in there as well. And keep on writing!

  3. It's very easy to get wrapped up in various things that take us away from writing and marketing our books.

  4. Hi Linda,
    I love having opportunities. It's just a little overwhelming to sort through sometimes.
    Thanks for stopping in!

  5. Balance, having it all, making it work! I feel your pain (fellow writer, feeding my family via my lawyering day job!). :) Pamela