by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers
Crime Scene Writers. It was recommended by someone on another group I belong to (Dorothy L) where we discuss crime fiction. I get the discussions in digest format, and they come in batches of three or four each day. Reading through these is fun, but hugely time consuming, and I keep telling myself I need to withdraw from the group and spend my time in more productive ways
Until recently, I also belonged to 4MA (For Mystery Addicts), another crime fiction group, as well as a group called Murder Must Advertise. I left the former because they’re very strict about any kind of self-promotion (including linking to blogs), and I rarely have time to read the group books. I quit the later because many of the new members wanted to discuss the basic fundamentals of publishing and promoting, which I've known for a while. I decided my time there was not well spent.
So last night when I came a split second away from clicking the join/submit button on yet another group discussion, I suddenly pulled back. Even though I believe the group would be beneficial and fun, I’m still months behind on my production schedule for this year. Meaning, the book that was supposed to be done by now, simply is not.
Managing a publishing business with ten books is a lot of work, even without writing the next novel. And now that our household is totally dependent on my Amazon sales, keeping my books visible and selling well is my number one objective.
Back when I had one or two books, writing the next story was the best thing I could do to expand my readership and help sell the first two books. It’s just not that simple for me anymore—or for most other self-published authors with a deep catalog.
The point is: I have to be very careful about how I spend my time. I get requests every day to read/blurb someone’s book, or to participate in a Q&A, or do an interview for a book about marketing. I’ve mostly given up reading for people, but I try to do all the interview requests. And I respond to every reader who writes to me.
But the discussion groups, as fun as they are, may have to go. I should be doing more blogging and writing more articles for national news organizations. I should be reading more crime fiction just for fun. And I definitely should be writing more every day.
I’m not alone in these decisions and the guilt that often comes with them. All authors face the dilemma of trying to do everything and realizing they can’t.
Writers: What are your priorities? What have you learned to say no to? What have you had to give up?
Readers: What are the most important social avenues you like your authors to participate in? What are you willing to let go of?