This is a business.
Sometimes I need a gentle reminder. Sometimes I need a smack upside the head. So let me say it again...
This is a business.
I tend to forget, in the course of letting my creative side run amok, that this is not about skipping rocks across the publication pond to see how many times they bounce on the surface before they sink.
Or maybe it is.
If you're into rock skipping, you know you have to pick just the right rock or it'll hit the surface with a big kerplop and disappear beneath the glassy water. It has to be flat. It has to be smooth. It needs rounded surfaces to skim across the water. Otherwise, it's a fail before you even let it go.
You also have to pick just the right day to skip rocks, when the water is kind of glassy. Can't skip rocks across waves, doncha know. I tend to suck at this part. Not for actually skipping rocks, but for this analogy. I'm really not good at knowing when the best time is to launch my rocks across the publication pond.
I kind of even suck at picking the right rocks sometimes. DE has been a great rock. It's still skipping right along there. (As long as I continue to nudge it. Helps that it has the most reviews.) Others? Kerplop.
Okay, I've beaten that analogy to death. The point is this is a business. I've talked about ROI (return on investment) from a marketing standpoint, but never from a publishing standpoint. If a book will cost x-dollars to publish, will it conceivably make that money back?
To date, not a single one of my books has recouped the initial investment. Accidental Death has come closest. I'm within $100 of making a profit on that one. But paying for marketing makes that kind of a 'one step back, two steps forward' thing. The worst at recouping so far has been Wish in One Hand - because reasons*. I'm still in the hole big time on that one.
So, when considering where to go with my writing and my publication schedule, I really should be thinking about how to get out of the hole (or, rather, how to not make the hole even deeper) instead of how to get all the books of my heart published.
Not sure how that will go. Right now I suspect this writing dry spell is directly related to thinking about the business side of things. The tiny CFO in my head is at war with the Director of Creative Development. One wants to audit, the other wants to dance. And the CEO is beginning to see that the DCD has had far too much leeway for far too long.
DCD: "Don't make me look at the spreadsheet again. Please. It's all too depressing."
CFO: "Look at it. Look. At. It."
Anyway, it's the start of the year. Good a time as any to think about things, look at things, and get my mind right.
*Mainly, I paid too much for a shitty cover from a 'real artist' who was supposed to give me something beautiful and gave me, instead, something that looked like it was hacked together from bad video game screen captures. But I launched with it anyways. Which sucked. Then I had to pay for a better cover so my subsequent djinn books' sales wouldn't suck. Live and learn.