Trust the process might be the single hardest thing to do in the world today. Think about all the quick fixes that are marketed to us and the immediate successes that people claim to achieve using certain products, techniques, or methods.
A smart person like yourself knows it’s all B.S and most often these products, methods, and techniques contain a sample size in the thousands, where only one or two extraordinary subjects achieved anything significant.
That’s why the fine print that’s impossible to read on a TV screen say ‘results not typical’ or ‘your results may vary.’
The same bodes true for indie-authors and even traditionally published authors. Sure, we’ll see a few indie-authors make millions off one book. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again.
But it happens to few authors and even in these extraordinary cases, it’s highly likely they either a) worked for years on a single book, perhaps even a decade toiling away in front of the screen or b) one of their family or friends came across it by mistake, loved it, and said it should be published. That manuscript could’ve been hiding away in a computer file for years.
So don’t get discouraged when you’ve only sold a few books in a few months. Ask any indie-author making six to seven-figures off their books and you’ll hear they struggled for years trying to sell work they believed in and something only started happening a little earlier this decade.
And some of these people were writing since the 1990s, so figure that in and do the math. That’s at least a ten-year struggle.
How do you trust the process?
Let’s lay out a scenario.
Write a Series
At the time of this writing, the only book I have out is Northern Knights and it’s the first book in a series that will contain at least seven books, and perhaps as many as twelve.
A series isn’t going to take off immediately especially, as Northern Knights states on the cover, it’s Episode One, so for those who love to binge (I don’t binge but I know most everyone does), it’s unlikely they’re going to buy Northern Knights right now.
Swords of Destiny comes out next weekend and that’ll make two books. Book III will follow soon and that’ll be three books. I haven’t even finished writing the first draft of Book IV, so it goes to show how much further I have to go before seeing a dent in awesome royalties.
The lesson here is that a series will sell slower than a standalone book, however, here are the pros and cons of the series:
• Readers fall in love with characters so if they read one book and love it, they’ll probably buy the rest of the series.
• You can sell to binge readers by creating bundles and box sets, meaning readers will buy multiple books at a time.
• A series can make more money than a standalone in the long-term.
• You only need to invent a new plot and keep the storyline straight.
• As we see with TV and movie series, they will get and keep people talking, especially if you’re like me and are obsessed with including mythological, scientific, and magical mystery.
• A series won’t sell off the bat. I once heard from a successful indie-author (it was either Mark Dawson or Nick Stephenson) that serious sales don’t happen until the fourth book is published.
• It’s easy to create continuity errors, so a series will take longer to write and perfect than a standalone.
• It will only appeal to those in the one genre, while authors who write standalone can easily write for multiple genres.
• Stemming from the third con, a series will only appeal to a specific audience. Again, those writing standalone can morph from genre to genre if they choose.
• Ideal for writers wishing to write in multiple genres.
• Easier to make money in the short-term.
• Not obligated to be part of a series, but can become one in time. The author has a lot of control here.
• Can appeal to a variety of audiences.
• Limited number of eyes on the book. Unlike a series of say, seven books, a standalone is only one book, so it can be invisible to potential readers, unlike a series.
• If the author chooses to write different genres, they might have to make multiple brands and pen names, meaning more work beyond the scope of writing.
• Frontloaded potential for long-term income off one book. As once the targeted audience is finished with it there’s no sequel. A series would combat that.
• A new plot and character cast must be invented for each new work unless the author wishes to create a series.
Series or Standalone?
Really, the real winner here is all in the author’s own tastes. As you can see, though, both contain a process the author must trust.
The real question is whether the author themselves are willing to embrace the pros and cons of each path.
There is no right or wrong answer here, as both sides might take one to two years just to see some decent income.
Nothing is going to happen overnight for a long time, but the good news is with such perseverance, something will eventually happen overnight that at the very least will give the author a great side-income, with potential for more.
I’m not saying either side will allow you to quit a day job, but I am saying with time and effort, one side or the other may allow you to downgrade to part-time at a day job, and again, the potential is there to quit such a job for good and make money solely on your writing.
It’s what every indie and traditionally-published author wants, but when we don’t see immediate results, we tend to freak and become disillusioned with this field.
But it’s a business and it’s our business. Ask any on or offline business owner how long it took them to see a decent profit, and the answers might surprise you. Many of these people are successful today because they not only paid their dues but were charged double and triple of what cost the average person next to nothing.
But that’s what separates the average from the extraordinary.