Tomorrow, daughter #1, Hubster and I are heading out for Tempe, Arizona, where daughter #2 (by 3 minutes) will be competing in her first official Iron Man triathlon.
She's been training for triathlons for a couple of years now. She started by joining Team in Training to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She thought she'd give it that year, but went on for another year, this time as a coach. That grew into her setting up her own business, NEO Endurance Sports as a coach for endurance athletes. (And yes, there's a writing tie-in, so please keep reading)
During that time, she ran her first full marathon. That's over 26 miles, for those who might not be familiar with the distance. And, the first marathon runner died at the end. Not something a mom likes hearing when her child says she's going to run that distance.
Nicole finished the race, and said she'd probably never do it again—she just wanted to prove she could. You can imagine my surprise last year when she said she'd signed up for the Arizona Iron Man. She's going to run a full marathon AFTER she swims over 2 miles and bikes 112 miles.
How did she prepare for this? Slowly. Gradually increasing distances, doing more workouts (even if it means getting up 2 hours early—she has a full time job and husband as well), and totally changing her eating habits. This was the child who existed on bread and potatoes, with the occasional ear of corn. Her idea of a green vegetable was canned green beans. Now she's making and eating things like kale, and adding veggies to every meal. According to her records, since January 1st, she's spent 200 hours on her bike logging 3115 miles, 108 hours have been spent running 568 miles, and 293,451 yards were swum over 125 hours.
As writers, especially those of us stepping into the world of indie publishing, it behooves us to remember that we're entering a marathon. We see authors like J.A. Konrath, Bob Mayer, or Barry Eisler who are bringing in huge sums of money. But these authors started in traditional publishing and came in with their established brands and followings.
The rest of us have to understand that things build over time. More books out there means more sales. We have to do our training and change our routines, because we must deal with things like paying for editing, cover artists, and spending time doing marketing and promotion—things traditional publishers do for their authors.
Maybe you're thinking of putting your first book out as an indie author. And you think you'll rake in the royalties the way you've seen others do. Think again. Just as you wouldn't enter an Iron Man without putting in the sweat and tears of training, you probably aren't going to hit the best seller lists and buy a new home with the royalties of your first book.
The sprint mentality has you checking your sales figures hourly to see if you're making progress. Hard as it may be, you're better off checking once a day--better yet, once a week. (I'm not there yet!)
I mentioned in an earlier post that I lowered the price of What's in a Name? to 99 cents. I'm not a known commodity, and many readers who are willing to try someone new for 99 cents won't do it for $2.99. Sales are increasing at a slow but steady pace.
I'm seeing some evidence of this with my Pine Hills Police books. Although FINDING SARAH, HIDDEN FIRE, and the stories in FINDING FIRE were all published traditionally, sales of those books are slower than for my others. I haven't spent the same amount of energy promoting them. But growth is slow, and sales for all my books are creeping up across the board. They're just not doing it at a sprinter's pace.
I'll be back on Tuesday, but please don't forget the blog. I still need followers and "likes" and hope that when I return, I'll be giving away a bunch of books from my overflow shelves. And there's always the newsletter signup, as well as sharing recipes and pictures that will get you into the drawings.
And if you have a moment to give Nicole a virtual cheer on Sunday, that would be great! She'll be wearing Number 374. She estimates she can do the course in 13 hours (gasp!) And if you're really dedicated, you can follow the action at IronmanLive.com. Everyone starts at 7 AM, so she thinks she'll finish around 8 pm. I'm so proud of her, even if I can't bear the thought of anyone actually doing an Iron Man. And, to help keep her motivated, she'll be running for her local Team in Training "hero", 3 1/2 year-old Emmy with leukemia, as well as several other family members who have had or do have cancer. Think about them for her, as well.)
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