hit tracker Dave Shields Author Blog: A New Year's Resolution

A journal detailing my efforts to launch my career as a novelist. The goals are to share info about succeeding in this field with other aspiring authors, to provide updates to the many supporters who have asked me for them, and ultimately to build the momentum necessary to assure success in this venture.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

A New Year's Resolution

A decade of dreams and hard work come down to this. Thinking back on all the twists and turns this journey has taken I can hardly believe it. There have been great times, like when "The Race" rocketed into the top 100 books on Amazon, or when Daryn Kagan of CNN invited me back for future interviews regarding the 2004 Tour de France while live, on the air. And there have been bad times, especially a dark period my marriage almost didn't survive. I can't blame my wife for having been frustrated with my ability to provide for my family. My pursuit of this quest has forced sacrifices upon her that I can't believe I've had to ask for. Fortunately, we worked through things and our relationship is now incredibly strong. Hard times really are a gift. My wife is my greatest supporter nowadays, and I cannot express how thankful I am. Today we are the parents of three beautiful little girls, ages seven, two, and three weeks. They're sure to cost me a bundle in the not too distant future, so there is no alternative but to put a deadline on this quest.

So here it is: If I'm not generating income from my writing at a $50 K a year rate by August of 2005, it will be time to move on to a sure thing. Since I rolled the dice three times and never got a son, I'm destined to spend my life sailing in the estrogen ocean. I sometimes say that I am drowning in it, but the truth is I couldn't be happier about my predicament. At the very least, though, I need to take the trip in a seaworthy dinghy. If a writing career can't provide a secure future for my family, so be it.

I'm going to give my writing efforts all I've got between now and then. I still firmly believe that I have what it takes to succeed as a novelist, it's just a matter of proving that to enough readers to keep me going. So, from now through August I'm committing myself to posting to this site at least five times a week. In addition to finishing the story I've been telling about how I got to this point in my writing career and filling in details as a result of the e-mails I receive, I'll share with you what I'm doing in order to market "The Race" and to complete its sequel (tentatively titled "The Tour"). You'll hear about my successes, like when a Colorado bike shop called The Cycologist purchases fifty inscribed copies to give to their best clients like they did last week, and you'll hear about my failures, like when a review I'd been promised in a major publication was inexplicably canceled (though I'll keep names quiet and cross my fingers that they have a change of heart - I realize that they don't owe me anything, but oh how grateful I'd be).

It's been energizing to learn how many people care about my efforts. Thank you for your supportive e-mails. I think this can be a great way to keep those who care to follow along updated on my progress. One side benefit is that I used to do a very good job of keeping a diary, but I've felt too overwhelmed to devote the necessary time in recent years. I regret not recording such a pivotal time in my life, because I've learned a ton by reviewing old diaries regarding even the mundane moments. Now that keeping a diary has a place in my marketing efforts I can stone two birds with one hand grenade, or something like that. I'll try to include as few mundane moments as possible.

So, onward. Regarding my previous post, I forgot to relate one other important surprise drawback to printing a book with Xlibris. When I signed my contract with them their price structure indicated that "The Pendulum's Path" would sell to the public at just over $15. Before the book ever came out though, they exercised their fine print right to change the pricing structure and re-priced my book at $22.99. How many people are going to line up to by a title by an unknown author priced $7 over market, no matter how good the reviews it is getting? The answer is not many.

I had to get the price down, and so in a stroke of genius (though I won't blame you for calling me a fool once you learn a tiny bit more) I agreed to purchase 5000 copies at a drastically reduced rate. It seemed like a good idea at the time, because you must remember, I thought I'd written a book the nation just had to read. With the 2002 Olympics on the doorstep the world was about to get a taste of the bizarre cultural mix that is Salt Lake, and I figured they would be dying to know just what is behind all these quirks. After all, how many cultural exposes can one person read about the deep South? The time for a fictional investigation of Utah had come!

Imagine how thrilled I was when a print overrun of 500 books was also delivered. I figured I had enough inventory to last a month or more. Turns out, my inventory has lasted way longer than that. I haven't counted my remaining books lately, but they still take up an entire parking space in my parents' garage. It is with the most foolish of pride that I now show off my extensive library including thousands of books (the vast majority of them perfect clones of one another). Oh well. Once I'm "discovered" collectors will be dying for one of my originals, right?


Blogger Phil Morgan said...

Hi Dave, really enjoyed reading your blog thus far. I'll keep following along and cheer for you that the writing opens up so you can keep on with it. We share a dream. Congratulations on your new addition.

12:30 AM

Blogger Michael said...

Good luck David--Hope the New Year brings you literary success.

12:29 PM


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