Things are going to change for me as far as my focus and what I put my time and energy into. But one thing will stay the same: the company of other great authors and my reader base.
I decided I'd take a year and attend every conference I wanted to, with only three that were repeats of the ones from years before. Like I used to tell people when I was doing the business coaching, the seminar that is important is the one happening in the audience, not the speakers or panelists on stage.
What I enjoy most about these trips is learning from other authors who have either struggled with the same things I have and found solutions, or are working on things in their businesses I'd never considered. I'm looking for new opportunities to connect with readers and asking other authors what they are doing is quite affirming to me. For instance, there will be a shift in the publishing model. We might have a more enhanced digital presentation, perhaps blending storytelling in written, narrated and now visual arts. There will be shifts too, when everyone has the access to data some of the big online sellers have. If we know who is buying our books, and that, my friends, is called Market Research, then we can best gear our activities to garnering that database.
Writers have an interesting dilema. We are forced, in a way, to "like" each other or have our readers "like" us. What we really want are people who love to read our stories, and who will recommend us at the drop of a hat. Doctors or attorneys don't have this problem. Politicians go for votes in a straight-out popularity contest, and most people DON'T like them at all. But we, as authors, get to wear two hats, to be liked and respected as an artist.
Painters and sculptors don't have to be liked. Their work is judged by critics and the buying public without their personality. But for some reason, we think a writer's personality is important to the story. Will this shift in the years to come? Perhaps. I will tell you it's an exhausting job to show up for Facebook parties, to launch a new book. Which blogs do you comment on? Blog for? How long can a successful author blog on a site where no one shows up?
So, as I plan out next year, I'm saying a little prayer that I'll be guided to the conferences where I will get the most results, that I will meet the new fans every author has to meet to keep their career going, that I will be able to budget my time and money to do this sanely and still have plenty of time to write.
And maybe I can enjoy the beach a little more, rather than have to be working on edits late into the night tonight. I'd love to take a midnight stroll in the moonlight, or sit by a roaring firepit in the sand.
And dream about the day when most of it is spent spinning stories and putting to pages my fantasy world.
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.