Don't Get too Focused on How your Start
As a first-time independent author, I’m starting off in the back of the pack. I don’t have one of the coveted slots up-front that would allow me to start off at a full pace from the front. That’s just a fact. No matter how amped up I am or how prepared I am to run the race, I’m starting as an unknown number in the back.
The Ethiopians and other elite runners, i.e. the established writers with the big houses behind them, are going to have the advantage of being able to start from the front row. They’re going to have instant visibility from the start and the fact is they are starting ahead of me. When the starter’s gun sounds on book publishing day they have the chance to start off at a sprint, while unknown writers like me begin in the middle of a large crowd hoping to just find a little bit of elbow room as we cross the starting line.
While it would be great to have the chance to compete with the elite runners from the word “go,” it’s impossible to break out right at the start of a big marathon if you start in the pack. Anyone who has ever run a big race knows it begins with a slow walk that moves to a faster walk before you even get the chance to pick up the pace, much less even think about hitting your stride.
But the good news is that eventually, over time and during the 26.2 mile course, the field does inevitably break up and you do have a chance to run your pace. That means if you’ve done the training (written a good or great book), stay focused and keep taking stride after stride, you can eventually separate yourself from the pack and achieve your potential in the race. And when that happens, those spectators still watching the race (your readers) get to see exactly how good you are.
And while starting in the back in your first marathon likely means it will be almost impossible to catch up with those who began in the front, you can run a great race and post a strong time. And that is what just might get you the opportunity to start towards the front next time you run. And when that happens, when you have the chance to eventually start up front, then you will have the opportunity to compete with the elite for a potential win.
For writers, this is all good. Thanks to the changes in publishing, marketing a book is no longer a three month sprint. It is now a marathon that gives you plenty of time to separate yourself from the pack and show readers the kind of talent you possess. But it’s not going to happen at the start of your first one. You’re going to start off in the middle or back of the pack, at a pace that will seem excruciatingly slow, but if you don’t quit, you’ll eventually find your reach the open road and get the opportunity to achieve the result you deserve.