Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I have no idea what I'm doing

I'm clueless

To my readers and any writers that would be interested in my advice.  I would like you to know that I have no idea what I'm doing.

I really don't.

Not a clue.

I'm just making it all up as I go and hoping for the best.


I like writing very much, and I think I'm pretty good at it.  I just don't know if I'm correct, or if I'm deluding myself.  I don't really care too much because I'm having a blast.

Writing is fun.  It's like daydreaming out loud.  I love daydreaming and always have.  I don't remember a whole lot about my childhood because I was constantly daydreaming.  It was much more enjoyable than all those classes or any chores I might have had.

I'm sharing my daydreams with you.  I've altered them a little bit, because in my daydreams, I'm always the hero, or emo kid watching the hero.  Yes, in my daydreams I'm emo.  It's a bit odd and I don't understand it.  I'm not in my books though.  Those are about other characters that are more interesting.

I don't know what I'm writing

My stories take a lot of twists and turns that I don't expect.  There are certain things that are solid and I know what's going to happen.  Everything other than that is a complete mystery to me.  I think the characters are going to go to one destination, but they end up somewhere completely different.

The worst thing is when I make up new friends for my main characters.  I introduce them and say, "Hey!  Check these guys out.  They're fascinating!"  And then my main characters end up having a problem with the new guys, or the new guys are complete jerks.  That sort of thing really pisses me off.

I don't know if my stories are any good.  I really don't.  I enjoyed writing them.  I really like the characters.  I did my best to get all the letters and punctuation in their correct places too.  There are some great reviews and a few terrible reviews of them, more good than bad.

All of the stories end up in weird places.  There is no save the world or happily ever after.  Each book is about an adventure and it ends when the adventure is done.  The characters go on living their lives and I may or may not write about future adventures.

To other writers

I really don't know what I'm doing.  I've been at this for two years now and I've achieved mild success in sales and downloads.  I've written a decent number of stories too.

Most of what I'm doing has been from reading what other Indies are doing.  However, I'm pretty sure they're just guessing most of the time too.  The ones that are successful are probably shocked about that fact, maybe even a little embarrassed, hoping that people don't realize that they don't know what they're doing either.

It really is fun though.  Each sale, each good review, each contact from a fan telling me how much they like my stories, is a thrill!  I would recommend it to anyone who likes to write.

I'll continue to share my experiences with self-publishing.  I'll tell you if I figure out something that helps me write a better book, or get a few more sales.  Just understand that I don't know what will happen in the future or if I'm even doing it right.

For all I know, I may be about to metaphorically drive off of a self-publishing cliff.  That's okay though, I like to pretend I'm flying.

In conclusion

It's a great time to be a writer.  Instead of gatekeepers choosing what we are allowed to write and instead of publishers keeping the lion's share of the income, writers get to write whatever they want and earn a good amount of each sale.

It's a wonderful time to be a reader.  You get to read whatever you want rather than being told what you're allowed to read.  You also have a limitless supply of stories.  To make things better, books are becoming affordable, even free in many cases!

So that's pretty much all I had to say.  I have no idea what I'm doing and just wanted to let you know.

All my best,

John H. Carroll


Ryan S. Fortney said...

Pretty much the same thing here, man. I don't know what I'm doing, but what I do is exhilarating!

John H. Carroll said...

Hi Ryan!

Yea, it really is! What a blast. :)

Anonymous said...

You may not know what you're doing but whatever it is it's pretty darn good if you ask me. I love your work.

John H. Carroll said...

Awesome! Thank you very much. :) You just made my day.

Leslie said...

Like your posts John. And best wished in the future. May you "not know what you're doing" for years to come. :P

A question...
Do you ever take any of your books out of the kindle select list after the initial 90 days, or do you auto-renew it in Select? Not sure if a second 90 day period would result in more sales than bringing it over to Smashwords, etc.

John H. Carroll said...

Hi Leslie,

I'm pretty sure I'll remain clueless for the rest of my life. :D

To answer your question, I have never put my books in Kindle Select. I have too many fans with other eReaders and they truly appreciate the fact that I don't do exclusivity. :)

It takes a while to build up a fan base on Smashwords and other stores, but it's a snowball effect. Once you get fans on those stores, they become extremely loyal. :)

Each author is different though. What works for one doesn't always work for others. I'm very happy with Smashwords. I like them a lot and want them to succeed. I like Amazon too, especially since I get over half of my sales there, but it doesn't seem prudent to put all my eggs in one basket.

Whatever you choose to do, it's not a bad choice right now. We're all learning in this new world of self-publishing.

All my best,


Anonymous said...

I was going to put up a review on Zachary Zombie, because I'm pretty sure I didn't get around to doing that one). Then, to my sadness, I couldn't find it to review.

I'm quite certain you're the guy that wrote it, it says so right on my copy.

Anyway, thanks for writing all the stories. You have several that I'm saving up for to that I can buy them.

John H. Carroll said...

Hi rainstardragon. :) I am the person who wrote Zachary Zombie. It is currently being illustrated, so I took down the text version until the illustrated version is available. Then I'm going to re-release the text version for free again as promotion for the illustrated version.

And you're very welcome. They are extremely fun to write.

For the month of July, all of my books are on sale at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/johnhcarroll

Aurora M. said...

I think a lot of writers don't really know what they're doing. It's almost like this inner writer takes over and you are just along for the ride, at least that's how I feel. That said, I think your writing is top notch!I look forward to reading your future masterpieces:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Aurora,

Thank you so much. :) The stories really do take me for a ride. It's a lot of fun actually. :)


Thoughts from all over... said...

It's refreshing to hear anyone say this, let alone someone in the realm I am gearing up to enter - published authordom!

(just between you and me, I don't think writers are the only folks that don't have a clue... just ask the finance, mortgage, wall street, and government guys!)

Keep writing!

John H. Carroll said...

Very true! Most writers I've spoken to admit that they're guessing most of the time though. It's a very humble and thoughtful profession for most. :)