Saturday, 25 July 2020

Splitting into three

Spent the day soul-searching, and went over ground I've already covered. I've spent a few weeks with Becca Symes' YouTube videos (and books, and Patreon, and Write Better Faster Academy), and I didn't necessarily like the conclusions I've reached. So, in order to change what I didn't like, I went through it again. And again. Just to make sure that all the factors still sum up to the number I've reached that first time around.

I've discussed this with several writer and non-writer friends, who helped confirm inklings I've had. I've always had that voice whisper to me, ever since about 2014, when I hit a point that I'd summarise with "And now what?" I pushed it away, and then I got busy with a different book. And then I got that day job that made a lot of those thoughts complete moot.

It's become very clear I'm just not really as much at ease in the genre I'm currently writing. A consultant would use expressions like "not competitive", but for me it's never been about competition. I'm not competing with anybody but myself. I've sadly once or twice come across people in the genre who were determined to "beat me" (on whatever measures I don't know - they were making 5-10x the money I was making even in my heydays), and it's really weird to be a team player when others are obsessed about "beating you". It's like somebody jogging next to you with gritted teeth and clenched fists.

Part of this is that I've just done my 2019/20 taxes for my company. I'm actually financing writing from my day job income at this point. I'm not making a profit. This is the second year running. It's one reason why I'm now translating books into German (and into English) - I make (much) more money translating other writers' words than writing my own. Writing won't get me out of the day job - translating is much more likely to do that.

The way the industry is structured - click farms, ghostwriter stables, "minimum viable product", people unwilling (and sadly often unable) to pay for ebooks - the model I've been running won't work. It's nonsense to believe that if I keep doing what I'm doing, that things will turn around. Meanwhile, I can't (and won't) compromise on the quality.

As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

The only thing left for me to do is to do something else.

1) I'll keep writing the weird m/m books under this name, because I quite frankly enjoy doing it. I'll have to re-jig my expenses in 2020/21 so I stop financing the writing with the day job. I can't afford to do that, quite frankly. I'm not going to schedule any books, though, and I can't promise any specific books at least until I've phased out the day job and freed up some time and energy.

2) I'll translate my existing books into German when there's a hole in my translation schedule.

3) I'm starting up a mainstream pseudonym to write fantasy and science fiction in German and English. The vote is still out whether it'll be a name I've used before or a new one. I'll likely link that name back to "Aleksandr Voinov" so you can find them and read them - they'll just not be explicit romances, though might contain some romantic elements. Or they might just be straight, and "diverse" books. Depends a bit on what happens.

4) I'll go "play". There will be 1-2 names that won't be linked back to this name. It'll be KU exclusive and it'll be just about quickly generating an income by quickly writing a lot of books. I don't expect any of those will be m/m. It's pure "work for hire", "hit the tropes", "don't worry about anything else", writing. That name may do ghostwriting for others (not sure about the rates) or be a co-writer for hire, but the general idea is to quickly build a backlist and earn some cash so I can quit the day job. I have friends who are already doing it coaching me through that process and it's a fun challenge to try. If it fails, I'll just write off the books, and do something else.

It's just clear that I need to break the pattern and do something else. 

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