• Jeff South

I Can't Even Think of a Title

You might be wondering how things are going on the writing front. Well, I couldn't even think of a title for this post.


January 6th was my last post. That was also last day I even visited my own site. I'm not very good at maintaining my author site. The doldrums have invaded my writing life and I've pretty rolled over and let them have their way. Here's the current state of things:


1) My novel Kilroy Was Here has been out for just over two years. Sales have stagnated. A book hasn't sold on Amazon since last spring. January was the first month since the book was released that I didn't get an order for an autographed copy. I haven't done a signing since last August. Financially, I am nowhere near ready to quit my day job and devote myself to the role of full-time novelist.


2) The work it takes to be a one-man marketing and advertising machine while managing a 50-hour work week is daunting. What should be a natural desire to promote the hell out of this thing I've created is actually a low priority. I go to work (many times out of town), come home, spend time with my wife, and then try to get some writing done. Friends and family have been diligent with suggestions, which is much appreciated and tells me they believe in this book. Marketing and advertising is not something that excites me and takes me away from actual writing.


3) On that note, I have no less than four manuscripts in my digitial desk drawer desperate for my attention. I worry they're no good. Oh, they entertain me for the most part, but would readers get excited about them. The urgency to follow up Kilroy Was Here is overwhelming. I want to capitalize off the momentum I had from its release, but that is waning. When the day comes to finally release a sequel, will people still care? Also, I'll have to market TWO books when I'm barely managing to market one.


4) Me, when I look at the state of my works in progress:


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RANDOM FACT: The above is my favorite non-Britney gif.


5) I have no vision, no plan. I'm just making this up as I go along. I set goals, but don't work diligently to achieve them. I will write something down in my journal and then leave it. I learned last week that discipline, focus, and strategic thinking are not my strengths. Nowhere is this more glaring than it has been the last 2 and half years. The focus and drive it takes to market and network a self-published book falls squarely outside my comfort zone.


6) Speaking of networking: I hate it. Getting to know new people is uncomfortable for me, but I can do it. I don't like small talk. I want to get into a fun conversation. If I'm able to make a new connection, I'm not very good at maintaining it. This is strange because I like being around people and talking about writing.


7) Which brings me to social media. Facebook has been an easy marketing tool, but I already knew how to use it. I'm not getting any value out of Twitter or Instagram from a writing standpoint. I feel like the only way to increase my exposure on those platforms is to Tweet and post photos throughout the day and I already spend too much time on Facebook. Add to the mix that I find Facebook and Twitter to be toxic anymore and my motivation to promote goes even lower. How am I supposed to break through all of the noise with my little sci-fi comedy? People don't seem terribly interested in something that isn't some "hot take."


8) This used to be fun. Right now, it's not. I used to love blogging and couldn't wait to get to the keyboard. I discontinued my old blog, Upstream of Consciousness, to devote to this site. Maybe that was a mistake. Writing Kilroy Was Here took over five years, but it was a blast. I learned so much. Usually, working on the sequels is fun, but lately it's felt like a chore. The words don't come and then I ignore the best writing advice I've ever come across: just write the shitty first draft and go from there.


Oof. I'll stop now. This was just word vomiting. I think it's important for creators to be transparent about the process. I get a lot of questions about writing and putting together a book and I want to share about it, warts and all. Right now, I'm deep in imposter syndrome and it sucks. While I want very much for Kilroy and any subsequent books to be wild financial successes, the reality is they probably won't. I need to reconcile that and figure how that impacts my approach to writing going forward.


Sorry for the whiny, self-loathing nature of this post. I'm a writer, but I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that means. I'll end on a more positive note by sharing a Britney gif. Thanks for reading.




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