The title pretty much says it all, folks. When I’m writing, I’m constantly needing to research things: medieval clothing, swords of various eras, ships, rigging, rope names, sewer system management, tidal estuaries, mercantile societies and the role of guilds within said societies, pre-industrial food staples in different parts of the world, the burial rites of various cultures and much much more. And that is to write fantasy, which when I was young I thought wouldn’t need any research, because heck, I was going to make everything up from scratch! The optimism of youth right there.
But no. Everything requires research.
Advertising on amazon: research. Once you’ve done some and worked out the rules you then have to research keywords that’ll work. Or genre categories that best match your book. Then you can move on to researching Facebook advertising. If you wanna. But maybe I should research my overall marketing strategy first. Or maybe I should have done that before I did my research into how to build my website. Or perhaps do it as part of my ongoing research into what to have on it. (Announcement: I finally made the first chapter of The Thief and The Demon available here on my website, under the Books tab. I meant to do it months ago, but swithered over just the first, or the first four chapters! Just one for now.)
Hiring people to help you with aspects of book production? Research. Wondering about tax implications of book earnings? (Don’t laugh at the back!) Research. How to run a blog? Research. (Clearly ignored in my case.) Which sales platforms to use and why? Research. What font would I prefer my print edition to be in? Research.
It truly is never ending. And I try to cut it into one hour chunks so it doesn’t get overwhelming. One hour on X subject, then switch to Y before X becomes a rabbit hole and I learn far more than I ever needed to about Scandinavian clinker techniques in shipbuilding. In the 9th-11th centuries. Don’t judge.
The one hour then switch is good for all the stuff around the business of writing, and helps me to nibble away at the things I need to do. Currently it is keywords, and an hour at a time of coming up with new ones and inputting them is about all I can take at one sitting. Then I can spend an hour trying to fashion new advertising copy. Or reworking the old stuff to freshen it up. Or researching what makes the most effective advertising copy!
I think if you turn it into tinkering, rather than labouring, it becomes slightly more fun, and each hour becomes useful, rather than turning into what can often feel like a lost afternoon or evening.
One hour, and one research topic at a time.
Oh yeah, and there’s actual writing to do too…
Good luck to all writers, and may your researches be enlightening, amusing, and fruitful!