The world of Charlotte Goodwin… it’s a crazy old place. It often moves at a million miles an hour. Blink, and there’s a good chance you’ll miss her making some crazy, rash, life changing decision.
I make no secret of the fact that I’m impatient, impulsive and prone to turning my life upside-down on a hairpin. Sorry to disappoint, but on this occasion there is no life-changing decision afoot, but I have made quite a monumental step in respect of my journey to trying to become a successful author. I’ve taken all my books offline.
Yep, my three published novels are no longer available to buy on Amazon or read with Kindle Unlimited. I’ve also taken my short stories offline, too. I had four of them on Booksie and Wattpad. Not anymore. Just one remains, it’s a bit of fan-fic I wrote which I’m keeping live on Substack. Why? I’m not certain, it just seemed the right thing to do.
What are you doing, you crazy woman? I do talk to myself a lot – mostly in my head. It helps me maintain a veneer of sanity to the outside world. To answer my own question, I’m embarking on a reset.
Late in 2022, I decided to quit my job at Amazon and try to make it as a writer. I blogged about it. Feel free to read my post, here.
In January 2023, I jumped on a writing roller coaster. I really was convinced I could sell books. I didn’t think I was about to sell thousands of course, but I did think maybe I could shift a few hundred, maybe I could begin to build some momentum and then I’d see my sales go up as I grew my profile and got more reviews.
I didn’t. Here’s why – I rushed things. I took a sub-par product to market. There are some logical reasons why I did this; they’re logical, but not necessarily sensible. Anyway. Life goes on. I spent 2023 learning stuff. A lot of stuff. Here are the highlights:
- No one becomes a writing success overnight (except a tiny, tiny minority of very lucky people).
- Your first novel will suck. Your second one probably will, too. You won’t realise this until you’ve written at least three of the things.
- Throwing money at your books won’t make them good – you can pay for great editors and great cover designers, but they will only ever work to your brief. Books become great thanks to the work you put in.
- Don’t rush your books to market. It can be tempting in the world of self-publishing, but it rarely pays off in the long run. Take time to build your author platform and make sure you book really is as good as it can be first.
- Listen to Baz Luhmann – he wrote a song called Everybody’s Free. It has some great lyrics. Here’s some highlights.
"The race is long and in the end, it's only with yourself."
"Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it."
There’s loads more wisdom in that song besides, if you’ve never heard it, you really should look it up.
- And of course, BE PATIENT!
Now I’ve decided to start again with all those lessons in my head. I’ll do some work on The General’s Son. I’ll do some work on the covers of all my books and on my on-line presence. I’ll build my newsletter subscriber list. I won’t publish writing that is bad – including short stories. I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep learning. And maybe one day, if I learn enough, and put what I've learnt into practice, I’ll achieve the success I hope for.
Charlotte Goodwin is the author of the Gallantrian Legacy series. A set of six books (and counting) set in a universe where magic is real, there's just not much of it on Earth.