All © J.A. Konrath.
- I will start/finish the damn book
- I will listen to criticism
- I will help out other writers
- I will not get jealous, will never compare myself to my peers, and will cleanse my soul of envy
- I will be accessible, amiable, and enthusiastic
- I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing and I'm a lot more talented than that guy
- Enjoy the Ride.
John Lennon said that life is what happens while you're busy planning other things. Writing isn't about the destination; it's about the journey. If you aren't enjoying the process, why are you doing it?
- Help Each Other.
One hand should always be reaching up for your next goal. The other should be reaching down to help others get where you're at. We're all in the same boat. Start passing out oars.
- I Will Abandon My Comfort Zone.
As a writer, you are part artist and part businessman. Great artists take chances. Successful businessmen take chances. If, in 2008, you don't fail at something, you weren't trying hard enough.
- I Will Feed My Addiction.
You want to get published and stay published? That means making writing a priority. That means making sacrifices. A sacrifice involves choosing one thing over another.
- I Will Never Be Satisfied.
No one is going to hand you anything in this business. You have to be smart, be good, work hard, and get lucky.
Yes, you should celebrate successes. But remember that happiness isn't productive. Mankind's greatest accomplishments are all tales of struggle, hardship, sacrifice, work, and effort.
- I Will Be Wary.
The medium in which stories are absorbed is changing in a big way, and it will continue to change. 2009 will go down in publishing history as Year Zero for the upcoming e-book revolution.
E-rights are a very long tail one that can potentially continue long after our lifetimes. Don't forsake print for e-books without understanding what you're giving up, and don't give away your e-book rights to get a print deal.
- I Will Be A Pioneer.
Your best chance for longevity is to question everything, test boundaries, experiment with new ideas, and be willing to change your mind and learn from your mistakes. Your job is to survive, by any means necessary.
- I Will Stop Worrying.
Worrying, along with envy, blame, guilt, and regret, is a useless emotion. It's also bad storytelling. Protagonists should be proactive, not reactive. You are the hero in the story of your life. Act like it.
- I Will Self-Publish.
Just twelve short months ago, I made $1,650 on Kindle in December, and was amazed I could pay my mortgage with e-book sales. This December, I'll earn over $22,000. This is nothing short of revolutionary.
The gatekeepers agents who submit to editors who acquire books to publish and distribute to booksellers are no longer needed to make a living as a fiction writer. For the first time in history, writers can reach readers without having to jump through hoops, get anointed, compromise integrity, or fit the cookie-cutter definition for What New York Wants.
I'm not saying you should give up on traditional publishing. But I am saying that there is ZERO downside to self-pubbing. At worst, you'll make a few bucks. At best, you'll make a fortune, and have agents and editors fighting over you. But remember: even if you are being fought over, you still have a choice. DO NOT take any deal that's less than what you believe you could earn in six years. If you're selling 1,000 ebooks a month, that means $144,000 is the minimum advance you should be offered before you consider signing.
- I Won't Self-Publish Crap.
Just because it's easier than ever before to reach an audience doesn't mean you should. Being a professional means you make sure you have a professional cover, and you have been professionally formatted for e-books and for print books.
But most of all, being a professional means you won't inflict your shitty writing on the public.
- I'll Pay Attention to the Market.
2011 is going to be a turbulent year for publishers and bookstores and editors and agents. Change is coming, and many of the stalwarts of the industry aren't going to be around for much longer.
But savvy writers will be safe from harm. In fact, they'll thrive like never before.
For the first time in the history of publishing, we have control. Embrace that control, and make 2011 your year.
- I Will Experiment.
The goals you set should constantly be adapting and changing as more data comes in. You need to be the one actively trying different things, taking different directions, and learning through trial and error.
In the past, there were a lot of gatekeepers who could hold you back. Today the only one holding you back is you.
- I Will Help Other Writers.
If you learn something, share it. If you have some success, show others how to follow your lead. If you fail miserably, warn your peers.
Writing and publishing were once solitary, private matters… and this suited the publishers just fine. The dark ages are all about being kept in the dark. Well, let there be light.
- I Will Control My Fear.
It is easy to get frustrated. It is easy to get envious of those doing better. It is easy to worry about the future. It is easy to give up.
BUT NOBODY EVER SAID SUCCESS IS EASY.
Yes, it is the greatest time ever to be a writer. But no one owes you a living, and no one promised that even if you write a great book and promote the hell out of it you'll get stinking rich.
Controlling fear is easier than you might think. Just accept that failure is part of the process.
Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. All major success stories are filled with setbacks and mistakes and bad luck. But all successful people persevere.
- What Goes Up Must Come Down.
2012 is going to be a very interesting year. We'll see unknown writers get rich. We'll see big name writers leave their publishers. We'll see more and more people buy ereaders throughout the world. We'll see some companies go out of business. We'll see other companies start growing market share.
We're part of something big, and it's going to get even bigger.
- Get Over Yourself.
I have turned off Google Alerts, and don't Google my name or my pen names. I don't read my book reviews.
We all need to focus on our writing. Because the millions of readers out there don't care about your blog. They aren't searching for you on Twitter and avoiding your books based on the comments of others. They aren't taking one star reviews seriously.
The thing that I have seen, over and over, is people finding success by writing good books.
Let it all go. Spend your time working on your books. That's the only thing that really matters, and the only thing you have control over.
I hope everyone reading this has a very successful 2013. Happy new year.
All © J.A. Konrath, full version here.