20 March 2015 by Published in: Uncategorized 14 comments

I read a post by Hugh on his blog, and felt compelled to add my spin on KB – my first post in a year.

I’m linking it because it states my view of the author/self-publisher duality that self-pubbed authors face, and addresses complaints from those who are finding it to be barren economic soil.

Rather than repeating it, here’s the post (scroll down): http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,211162.150.html

Much has changed in the market over the last year, but my view of the best approach for authors to take, that of two separate disciplines recognized as such, hasn’t. Like a student attending a bilingual curriculum, part of your studies will be in one language, the rest in the other. They are different languages, so excelling in one is unlikely to do much for your success in the other.

Many authors dislike my take. That’s fine. There are many ways to skin a cat.

Every author I know who is operating a financially successful self-publishing venture does so as both author, and publisher, and they’ve all developed the business skills to make the book selling business work for them, while honing the book writing skills necessary to create compelling, and more importantly, commercially successful, content.

Anyone who believes this is an easy way to make any kind of a living knows little or nothing about it. Those entering into it with the idea they’re going to earn money at it would be best advised to consider my post, and the merits of my argument, and prepare for a butt-load of thankless hard work in one of the most competitive endeavors I know of.

On the new release front, I have the second JET – Ops Files novel going live at the end of March, and my first installment in my new series, Ramsey’s Gold, at the end of May. I’m currently writing the final JET novel, JET – Escape, which will go out in June, and will be available for pre-order shortly.

Next up you can expect the second installment in the Drake Ramsey series around Sept, the final Assassin in Oct, a BLACK in Nov, and TBD in December. Maybe another Ops Files. Dunno.

Now back to work for me. Damned books don’t write themselves…



  1. Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 12:56 am

    Thanks for sharing, Russell. I’d call you a gentleman and a scholar but there are rumors of tequila and man thongs.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 7:09 pm

      If no pictures it never happened.

  2. Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 7:38 am

    Well said and to the point (as usual). I think a lot of writers struggle with the business side of things. There’s this enduring idea floating around that after you write, “The End,” that the job is done. In truth, that was the fun part, and the really hard work is just starting. And the toughest task for me is balance. It’s all too easy to focus on the business side of things and neglect keeping product in the pipeline. I suspect it’s just the opposite for folks with a ‘literary’ vs. ‘business,’ background.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 7:11 pm

      By thinking of it as two separate businesses, I find it easier to allocate time appropriately. Could just be me. But that makes a certain sense in my addled brain. I can spend X number of hours per day as an author, and then turn to publishing tasks until they’re done. Separation of content creation, and content packaging and promotions, and hopefully, sales.

  3. Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I gotta be honest – after reading your post about the value of hard work, I searched out Hugh’s article. Can you please explain to me, in plain English, what he’s saying?
    Sorry. It may be that I’m super jet-lagged and my brain is skewing sideways, but the article sorta meandered. You’re astute. Can you boil it down for me?
    My take away is– if I stick with KDP I’ll be a chump who has made it into the 1%. But I’m not sure I’m reading him correctly.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 7:09 pm

      The short version is that KDP builds strong bones and teeth and has provided authors an opportunity of historic proportions, even if most won’t see a jackpot payout.

  4. Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 5:19 pm

    You’ve nailed it. Hard, hard work and the millions in profits just aren’t there. We write because we love it.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 7:12 pm

      Yup. If you want to make a killing as an author, you’re deluded, IMO. Having said that, as a publisher you can do well, but only if you’re a pretty damned savvy and lucky one.

  5. JT
    Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 7:18 pm

    You made me look! 🙂 I had to log into KB to comment on your comment when I’m supposed to be in my writing cave. But seriously, I still agree with all that you said, and I did point out that it took me 2 years to listen and find out you were right. Anyhow, what you said summed up that discussion on KB. And just in case you don’t go back to KB here’s my response:

    “…didn’t give up until my sales turned the corner.” – The Blake on the KB

    ** My KB Response: **
    Well, I had to crawl out of my writing cave to read the thread. LOL. I’ve also been off KB for a while since I have to go write LOL. I’m one of those who argued with myself about whether or not Russell Blake was right about indie publishing (all that he said on KB circa 2012-2013) and it took 2 years of internal debate before I decided to step out in 2014 and try it and when what he said WORKED like magic, I had to apologize to The Blake for being such an idiot at my own expense.

    At the baseline is something I have to keep in mind all the time: “most books don’t sell.” So, hehe, write something that sells. And better enjoy it because you have to write for hours and days and it goes on until you can afford to feed the family pets or send your kids to college.

    There is no formula to publishing. TEHO, YMMV, and all that jazz. But you find your own niche, you guard it, you produce, you learn, grow, move. It’s freeing, really. As to income, if you’re working for money, then money is all you got. I’m living my life, and I’m not rich nor poor, just a writer going about my daily business. Hard work? You bet! I’m in the middle of writing a series and it kills me all the things I have to do other than writing, but I have to do them (putting on my publishing hat) but this is indie publishing. It comes with the territory.

    “Writing is an art and self-expression, something beautiful and intensely personal. Book selling is a commercial enterprise. Confuse the two, and you hurt any chances you have of success, if success to you means selling a bunch of books.” – Russell Blake

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 8:05 pm

      I’m both humbled by your response, and delighted that my approach worked for you.

      Imagine how much I could make if I gathered all this into a how to book?

      The rub is twofold on that. First, that no matter how much I made, I’m not much good at non-fiction, so it would feel like work. And second, I want other authors to succeed, and making folks pay for level-headed counsel seems counter-productive.

      It’s only lonely at the top if you don’t help a bunch of friends get there, too. Or you’re a dick. I’m working on both issues. Glad to hear you’re prospering. Nothing better than doing what you enjoy, and getting paid fairly to do it. Sort of the meaning of life right there, in a lot of ways.

      • JT  –  Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 11:44 pm

        Very good, sir! And thank you — again. God bless! 🙂

  6. Sat 21st Mar 2015 at 8:53 pm

    I wouldn’t be as nice as you 🙂 Bottom line, some people just like to bitch, and when things don’t go there way after a little heartache, they quit. All good for guys like us.

    And of course they don’t do what you mentioned: “Every author I know who is operating a financially successful self-publishing venture does so as both author, and publisher, and they’ve all developed the business skills…”

    I’ll continue working my ass off and keep my promise to NEVER visit KB.



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