Thank you to the incredible Nina for letting me take over her blog today. I’m here promoting the release of my second novel, Alliances, which is available now for pre-order for Amazon Kindle (and book 1 of the series, Double Life, is now free on all ebook platforms!)
The Razia series is about a woman dealing with a lot of inner demons while trying to balance lives as a scientist and space pirate bounty hunter. In the first book, she comes to understand that she has to accept both sides of herself in order to be happy. The second book sees Lyssa, the main character, coming to realize that it’s easier to accept help than to try to go it alone. Nina’s over on my blog talking about friendship and trust, and she asked me to gin up a post about taking risks.
Business is always inherently risky – you put up your own money, time, and effort and you pray that the investment will pay off. Bookselling – being a business (anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot) – is even more risky because you add in the subjective nature of the book-liking process.
Let me back up for those who are unfamiliar with my background: I’m a project management consultant with the US Government (and I write science fiction and fantasy novels. I’m layered, yo). So my day job is one big exercise in maximizing profit and minimizing risk through planning.
I love to plan. I plan to plan the plan for planning the plan (yeah boi). I plan the risks, I plan the mitigation of those risks, I plan the expected outcomes. I plan how I’m going to achieve those outcomes. I plan what I’m going to do with the outcomes of the outcomes.
And then, things don’t go according to plan.
I’ll give you a really good example. In September of this year, I set up my very first book signing. For whatever reason, I envisioned lines of excited readers queuing out the door, and so I put down about $300 to buy 75 books, and lugged all them books to the bookstore that I had agreed to show up at. I printed about 50 fliers with my face on them and handed them out around the town.
And then…I sold six books.
TO PEOPLE I ALREADY KNEW.
Now, this summer, I’m taking a big, giant, humungous, painfully turrible risk: I’m quitting my job and going on a 32 city book tour.
That’s right. I’m putting my faith in myself and my ability to draw a crowd across this great United States of Amurica; enough that I can pay to get me to the next city. I’ve got nine comic book and regular book conventions, to include the World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane planned, but at least 21 cities are purely book signings at libraries and independent bookstores (and Barnes and Noble, if the bookstores won’t have me). Side note: If you’re on my path, sign up to be on my street team here.
I’m going to be frank: I am fuc…reaking terrified. (language, Evans, language)
There’s a huge risk that I’m making a terrible mistake. That I’ll run out of money in, say, Seattle and have to cancel the rest of the tour. Or I’ll end up making no money. Or, or, or, or.
There’s also the chance that I succeed at making money, growing my fan base, and achieving all of the objectives I set forth on my strategic plan (because what’s a strategic plan without goals and objectives?).
You can’t let the fear of failure keep you from taking the risks that you know are the right ones to take. You also can’t get disillusioned when have a string of bad luck, like when I didn’t sell as many books as I thought I was going to this fall.
You just have to readjust your sails, look at the plan and see if there’s a way you can make up for lost time. You have to look at the risks you are taking, and make sure you’ve done everything in your power to mitigate them. You have to take a deep breath and send a prayer to God/The Universe/Leveman’s Vortex/Flying Spaghetti Monster that things will work out the way they are meant to.
After that terrible bookselling, I panicked and signed up for a convention in Virginia Beach where I sold 42 books in one day.
Which meant I was…
Everything works out the way it’s supposed to.