My name is Keith Robinson and I'm a writer
Posted on December 13, 2015 (Subscribe to Blog)
If there was such a thing as Writer's Anonymous, where habitual writers go to talk about their inability to stop scribing, I would miss every meeting because I'd be too busy writing. Or I'd sit there during the meetings peeking at my laptop.
I can't ever get enough time to write even though sales have slumped this year. And when I say slumped, I mean Amazon sales in particular have halved (though other channels are about the same). It used to be that I could plan and write a book with the expectation it would bring in a certain additional income over many years. Not any more! Amazon sales have slowed since March 2015, though I don't exactly know why. Whatever's going on seems to be affecting plenty of others too. Maybe it's due to a saturation of new books by new authors? Literally a million or more new books are published each year. It's SO easy to publish these days that everyone's doing it.
It makes me doubt my long-term plan of retiring with a slew of books under my belt. But I'm not swayed, no sirree. In fact, right now I'm moving toward a new generation of Island of Fog shapeshifters in 2016 as well as thinking about Sleep Writer Book 4 for next summer. Also, I have a plan for a trilogy of horror books for mature audiences. More on that another time! But the point is, a slow-down of sales doesn't stop me from wanting to write.
I think about writing pretty much all the time. I very rarely have the radio on while I'm driving because there are so many annoying adverts, and the constant talking interrupts my train of thought. Pandora is a good option, but half the time I can't be bothered to hook it up and get it started. I'm happy to listen to the silence, much to the annoyance of my 11-year-old girl. I can easily drive for three hours with nothing but road noise, plotting my next book. I don't understand people who can't just sit still and quiet. Why do kids get bored? How is that even possible...?
We watch a lot of good TV shows – and ONLY good shows, because life is too short for substandard stuff, so we're pretty selective – and I'm often sitting there watching a show and thinking about how the story is constructed. And, conversely, I think about TV and movies while I'm writing. I write scenes as if they're being played out on a screen, and this helps me visualize the action and drama.
It might surprise you to know that I don't read much anymore. I should, but I just don't get time. Likewise, I don't listen to audiobooks, though I would if I had to commute to work every day. My wife has a 45-minute drive every morning and evening, and she plugs in and enjoys her audiobooks and makes good use of that time. But me? I'd have to deliberately sit down and do nothing if I wanted to listen to one. Who has time for that? Also, I find that my mind drifts, and I quickly... uh...
What was I saying?
Anyway, I've noticed that overall visits to this blog have also dropped off since the middle of 2015, and I assume it's part of the decline in sales. Reduced free downloads and sales naturally means fewer people finding their way here. But I've also noticed less interest (fewer comments) in what I'm posting, which is entirely my fault. I don't write so many varied posts anymore; usually it's just to announce a new short story or a new book, and I'm sure that gets boring after a while!
ALL of this – fewer downloads, sales, comments – coincides with a lack of new Island of Fog books. When I ended the series, it seems like things tailed off a few month later. Coincidence? I'm honestly not sure. Will things pick up when my new spin-off shapeshifter series starts in 2016? Only time will tell.
But despite all this, my interest in writing has not waned one bit. Maybe there's a little less urgency to hit deadlines, but otherwise nothing has changed.
As usual, look for a new Island of Fog short story in a couple of days from now. It features Hal and his friends in a Christmas-related tale. I'll always find time in my schedule to slip in a monthly short story. :-)
My name is Keith Robinson and I'm a writer.
Good for you...keep on writing. I have enjoyed every one of your books. I think part of the reason for a slump is prices of everything is going up and people have to make up the difference somewhere.Last year my medicine cost 95$..this year that same medicine costs 300.00$. Not to mention how expensive health insurance has gotten. And if you dont have insurance you get a hefty fine that supposedly will double next year. Anyway,keep your chin up and keep writing...things are bound to level out someday and your earnings for your books will come in like a waterfall!!
What age group will the new IoF series be targeted for?
Thank you, Carol!
Donna, the target age group will be the same, 9-12 and up.
I've always enjoyed your banter. I hear you on the silence and for the life of me don't understand how folks like noise so much. Sorry to hear about the downturn in sales. I'm feeling a bit guilty now that I hope to become the writer of book one million and one soon!
Hi Keith, I highly recommend you read or listen to 'Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear' by Elizabeth Gilbert. I think you'll find it very affirming that you are on the right track - following your passion, regardless of worldly success and attention. The only reason to write is because it's what you love to do most of all. The reward is in the doing, not the results. All the best with your ongoing creative journey.
Ha! Brian, I had a feeling you'd take that personally. But I actually have no problem with the million-a-year extras as long as the books are given the necessary polish, and I know you're doing that. Unfortunately, many don't bother. Having said that, something has to give eventually. In a real store, the bookshelf would break under the weight; the store owner would have to figure out how to choose between the "good" books and the "trash" so that readers don't get disgruntled. Amazon is going to have to do the same somehow.
Thanks, Nicole... although, as I said in my post, I won't have time to read or listen to it! Besides, these comments are all I need for affirmation. :-)
Glad you like the comments, I just want to say, I'm 100% sure that no one can ever get too much IOF!
I know I can't, after all, I'm reading the series for the 19th time! My parents think it's ridiculous, but if they'd read those AMAZING books they'd read them almost as much as me!