On May 1st 2022, I’m launching my course: The Efficient Novelist. It shows, in detail, and with many supporting resources, how I create, write and publish four novels a year.
Why do I do that?
There are two reasons:
1) At one stage in my writing career, I had 37 works in progress (WIPs), containing seven completed first drafts. And I didn’t like any of them. I had enough experience as a reader of novels to know that these works weren’t anything I would want to put my name to and have published. And each time, I thought that the next novel would be the one which I could publish and which would launch my career as a novelist. I was in a hole, a strange kind of Writers’ Block, where instead of not being able to write anything, I just couldn’t write a book of quality.
2) I had been publishing since 2010 (collections of short fiction and non-fiction books for other authors), and I had become addicted to the dribble of royalties from sales of those books. I wanted to reach a wider reading audience, and improve my royalty return.
In 2018, I began to take control of my career.
Coincidentally, like things are sometimes, 2018 was the year I became aware of the 20BooksTo50K® group on Facebook.
American Science Fiction and Fantasy author Michael Anderle began writing in 2015 (yes, really), convinced he could make $50,000 per year from writing books that readers wanted to buy and read. After publishing his first book, he noticed that he was earning around $7.50 per day in royalties. Each year, he could make $2,737 from that one book. His aim was to earn $50,000 per year, to become a full-time author, so would need at least 19 books on sale to make that amount. Twenty sounded a much better number.
And so in 2015, the group 20BooksTo50K® was created on Facebook, to help other authors achieve their goals. But of course, publishing one book every year or two years would take far too long, so the idea of rapid writing and rapid publishing into a voracious market was born.
Now, that group has nearly 60,000 members, many of whom openly share their writing / publishing / royalty results with the members of the group.
It is inspiring.
Here’s an image:
Jacki’s story: she started self-publishing in October 2017 after having had her first book published with a small publisher, and realising few sales.
After trying a number of genres, she chose a genre she loves to write: paranormal murder mysteries. She tries to write 1,000 words a day. She releases a new book every 3 months (yes, really – I didn’t know this until I started writing this blog post!)
She only publishes with Kindle (seriously – I’m not making this up!) because she found it works well for her.
I won’t go into detail about her marketing techniques – she’s just one of the successful authors on 20BooksTo50K® and each has a different marketing process.
By the end of 2021, she was making more than $50,000 per year and she will have published 17 novels (the first five, in an urban fantasy genre, don’t earn much).
There are many more such stories in the group.
Back to my story…
In 2018, after listening to a published crime author tell delegates that he rewrote his crime novels 10-12 times before publishing, I was certain that there was a better way. I was determined to turn my career around.
A group of writing friends help me identify the common genres within my 37 works-in-progress. I was honest with my friends – sharing titles, brief descriptions, and word counts (totalling well over 1 million words). My friends helped me discover my thematic passions.
At the same time, I had been working through books and articles about plotting and planning. I needed to fix the ‘soggy middle’ and the ‘droopy end’ in my stories. I wanted to keep readers turning pages, and keep them reading until the last page.
One book I read was Randy Ingermanson’s “The Snowflake Method” – breaking the novel down into smaller and smaller ‘sections’, gradually revealing more detail. I was familiar with the concept from my earlier career, writing software.
I also read the late Blake Snyder’s “Save The Cat” book – hitting 15 ’story beats’ through the story to keep the tempo and pacing on point.
Which to choose?
My friend Garrett Robinson had the answer – he used both – starting with The Snowflake Method, and then moving to Save The Cat.
I had discovered my method.
Since 2018/2019, I’ve been working hard at my craft and my process.
I was passionate about political / apocalyptical thrillers, so I wrote and published:
“Deceit” (https://gerald-hornsby.com/deceit/) in December 2019,
“Meltdown” (https://gerald-hornsby.com/meltdown/) in January 2020,
“Corruption” (https://gerald-hornsby.com/corruption/) in February 2020, and
“Wildfire” (https://gerald-hornsby.com/wildfire/) in May 2020.
In June 2020, I produced a box set of these four thriller stories (https://gerald-hornsby.com/thriller-box-set/)
But I was also passionate about reading and writing crime stories.
So I published 3 crime novels:
“Body on the Beach” (https://gerald-hornsby.com/body-on-the-beach/) in December 2020,
“Body in the Hut” (https://gerald-hornsby.com/body-in-the-hut/) in March 2021,
“Body under the Pier” (https://gerald-hornsby.com/body-under-the-pier/) in June 2021.
All of these stories were rewrites / replots / reworks of stories which I’d already worked on, to a greater or lesser extent.
But what about income?
2020 (the first full year when I had novels published) showed an increase of 33.5% in royalties over the figures for 2019.
2021 showed an increase of 67.3% over the royalty figures for 2020 (double the increase seen over the previous year).
2022? It’s difficult to tell, since I haven’t published a novel since last June (I’ve been working on the course), but it’s likely to be similar to last year’s, until I start publishing the next book series in the autumn. I’m planning to double the royalty figure for last year, showing an increase of 100%.
1. The Efficient Novelist method broke me free of my ‘completion’ block. From having 7 unworkable first drafts to publishing 7 completed novels in 18 months.
2. I’ve seen huge jumps in sales and royalty incomes since I began publishing novels at the end of 2019. More books = more royalties.
I have just completed my one-minute pitch for the Efficient Novelist course! See below:
The course will launch on May 1st 2022 HERE:
although you can sign up NOW for the early bird offer – 50% off.
Follow the Efficient Novelist on YouTube:
The book is also available on Amazon via:
If you’re interested in the Efficient Novelist program, there’s a Twitter account. It might be worth a follow for future updates: @EfficientNovels
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