101 Lessons and Thoughts About Writing

This is a post with a difference. Writing is something I do because I have stories that I want to tell. It’s something I feel compelled to do and it’s an escape from the everyday pressures of life. It’s where I can roam in a world that I alone create, where I can explore ideas and just have a bit of fun. It’s been two years and eight months since I put my first book out there in the ocean of books.

Since then I’ve written and released three more, and hope to release the next one in September or October. I’ve come to realise that overnight success only comes to those who are prepared for a long night. This journey has taught me many things, and one thing is for sure … this writing business is full of many ups and downs as we bob around in that ocean.

I’ve decided to list 101 lessons and thoughts (not in any particular order) that I’ve experienced since my first book went on sale. Some of these are relevant to me now, some have had their time and passed me by. It’s fair say that every one of these has happened, along with many others that I haven’t mentioned. I expect that some of you may relate or agree with them, but some will also disagree. That’s to be expected. Such is life.

  1. A book written isn’t a book sold.
  2. Great stories are waiting to be discovered everywhere.
  3. Giving away free books doesn’t mean they get read.
  4. Even as I write one book I have three others spinning around in my head.
  5. Other authors are a great source of inspiration and support.
  6. Buyers of children’s books prefer paperbacks.
  7. Middle Grade is an extremely tough genre to crack.
  8. Kids don’t buy books, they’re bought for them.
  9. Some book covers need a makeover.
  10. I don’t understand why Indie authors sell their work for so little.
  11. I don’t understand why people prefer to spend more on a burger than a good book.
  12. Buyers of children’s books prefer big publishers.
  13. Some authors forget how to be readers.
  14. Remember to switch off the author and turn on the reader.
  15. I read to enjoy the story, not to mentally rewrite another author’s book into my own style.
  16. Enjoy the diversity of authors and their style.
  17. Be original, don’t just follow a formula.
  18. If you’re writing fiction, write fiction, not a text-book.
  19. If you’re still reading this list … thanks for staying with me
  20. Some reviewers forget how to be readers. Remember to just sit back and enjoy the read.
  21. Each author is just another star in the sky.
  22. Each book is a grain of sand on a huge beach.
  23. It’s tough to be visible in a sandstorm.
  24. Facebook ads are a waste of time. I wonder who notices them, I don’t.
  25. Book marketing is a difficult and unpredictable beast.
  26. I have doubts about the benefits of book promo list sites.
  27. Twitter is a massive pool of useless tweets.
  28. I don’t go shopping on Twitter. I wonder who does.
  29. Most Twitter followers don’t really follow, they just follow.
  30. Always remember, reviews are just personal opinions.
  31. Facebook is totally confusing … it’s an enigma to me.
  32. Some books that rank well are dreadful.
  33. Who goes shopping on Facebook? I know I don’t.
  34. Many blog followers don’t really follow, they just subscribe.
  35. I hate being exclusive to Amazon for eBooks. Each time I decide to try KDP Select I want to get out.
  36. There is an overabundance of experts dishing out advice for authors.
  37. Keep in mind that most advice is just someone’s opinion. It may not be suitable for you.
  38. Facebook updates don’t show in enough follower feeds.
  39. Most experts give more advice than they sell books.
  40. Why aren’t the experts on the best seller lists?
  41. Russell Blake is an exception. He shares down to earth advice and he’s a real best seller.
  42. Why collect a bazillion follows from giveaway junkies? They’re only after free stuff.
  43. I rarely read my twitter feed, most of it is irrelevant to me.
  44. I’m sure most other people don’t read their Twitter feed either, so why do I tweet?
  45. I retweet followers who I know and trust and admire.
  46. Health and family are more important than selling books.
  47. It’s hard to keep motivated in such a tough genre.
  48. It’s tough to be judged.
  49. It’s great to get good feedback and ratings.
  50. KDP Matchbook is a let down.
  51. It’s unfair when Goodreads members rate books without reading them.
  52. It’s disappointing that Goodreads does nothing about mass raters that couldn’t possibly have read the 100 books they rate in a day.
  53. It’s tough when your biggest market is on the other side of the world.
  54. The secret to choosing the best Amazon keywords is a mystery.
  55. I need to write, it’s an addiction.
  56. I have a whole library of books in my head.
  57. Amazon needs to make it easier for authors to categorise their books.
  58. Self doubt always sits on a writer’s shoulder.
  59. Some genres do better than others in eBooks.
  60. Some genres smother other genres.
  61. I’m definitely not a fan of romance books.
  62. Most readers don’t leave reviews or ratings 😦
  63. I’m yet to discover what benefits blog tours or interviews bring.
  64. Most book reviewers do a brilliant job. Some, not so good.
  65. Most authors do a brilliant job. Some, not so good.
  66. It’s better to have tried, than to have sat and watched.
  67. It’s disheartening that so many book reviewers refuse to even consider Indie books.
  68. I’ve become obsessed with checking KDP sales updates.
  69. I’ve become obsessed with checking Goodreads for new reviews and ratings.
  70. I’m trying to wean myself off checking so often (I just checked again … Arrrggghhh)
  71. I often wonder if I should track down an agent.
  72. I love it when my kids tell me that their friends have taken one of my books out of the library.
  73. I love it when my kid’s friends keep asking them when my next book will be ready.
  74. There’s such a long delay between writing something and getting it to readers.
  75. Writing and publishing a book is a huge achievement that I should be proud of.
  76. Each new book published is another achievement.
  77. I have a fear of failure.
  78. Becoming a best seller is like buying a lotto ticket.
  79. I wonder if publishers look beyond their slush piles for new discoveries.
  80. It’s a shame that there is negativity towards Indies, but it’s improving.
  81. KDP Algorithms change too frequently and are next to impossible to understand.
  82. Children’s books are a very small slice of the eBook pie. Maybe I should try another genre.
  83. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool.
  84. I love my books and want everyone to love them too.
  85. KDP Select Countdown Deals aren’t worth it.
  86. Kindle Unlimited sounds good, but I have my doubts.
  87. I’m still looking for the magic formula to turn my books viral.
  88. I’m not a fan of social media, it’s so anti-social.
  89. Many experts aren’t experts at all, they just love sharing their ideas.
  90. Try to write everyday.
  91. Stay inspired.
  92. KDP Select Free promo days just fill hungry Kindles with content that will probably never get read.
  93. Maybe today is the day that someone who has the power to start a wave will find my books.
  94. I still haven’t told my friends that I write.
  95. Each sale just makes me want another sale.
  96. Although I have done free promos in the past, it saddens me that it devalues all of my hard work.
  97. It’s sad that most books don’t become well-known.
  98. Teachers and Librarians do their best to promote reading for kids.
  99. It’s frustrating that Amazon reviews don’t flow across all of their sites.
  100. Some days it’s hard to justify why I keep writing
  101. Thanks for reading to the end. If you buy a copy of any of my books during August, be sure to enter my $25 Amazon gift card or Paypal cash giveaway. Click here for details.
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5 Replies to “101 Lessons and Thoughts About Writing”

  1. 101! Well done 🙂 Mark Coker on Smashwords said that most authors sell no books. So you and I have done better than many authors. And we both have a small number of followers (I suspect your number is bigger than mine) who look out for the next book. We are successes! (your covers are better than mine)

    We must have started about the same week. And I’m writing a scifi book now. 😀

    Keep up the good work. It’s fun, after all!

  2. High fives for a look through your eyes at your writing experiences, Steve. Well said! Hope we’re not going to tested on this lesson! LOL!

  3. I agree with every one of those even if I have made the same mistakes along the way, LOL. The thrill of the story keeps me writing, cos it certainly aint the sales, LOL. Keep writing Steve, you will always have a reader in me….

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