I've heard the metaphor "it's a marathon not a sprint" too often lately. Okay, maybe not too often--but many times. It's an appropriate one for many things in life because, after all, life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Writing a novel is a marathon. Selling short stories is a marathon (at least it takes a looooong time to develop your craft and wait for market responses). Selling a novel is even more of a marathon. Should you decide to go "indie" (or self-publish), selling books is a marathon. At least it should be--the sprints will kill you.
In a meeting yesterday, our superintendent said a school improvement process was a marathon, not a sprint. One of my colleagues freaked out: "I'm better at short distances!"
It's not the distance, dear. It's that you shouldn't blow all your energy in one, short burst. You'll need to pace yourself.
I love selling ebooks, but I'm not one to go crazy with marketing. These are the sprinters. I do a few things, here and there. The most effective being Library Thing giveaways (they'll let you give away ebooks--unlike Goodreads which requires dead-tree editions) and making books free at Smashwords. Nothing else comes close as far as impact for the amount of time involved.
And time, these days, is a very precious thing. With two very busy children and a third on the way, my life outside of school is torn in several directions. How do I find time to write? I don't know. But, like sleeping and eating, I need to write to live--at least to add quality to my life. I probably need to sleep a little more, though.
In the Memory House is almost finished. It will be a short novel at about 60K. If I was worried about querying agents, I might as well stop and forget about it. No one will touch a 60K novel. Good thing readers aren't so picky. I've really run the marathon with this book, and I hope to push to the first of many finish lines later this week.
How's your marathon going?