Thursday, March 05, 2015

Constant Change is Here to Stay

Dan Walsh is the award-winning and bestselling author of 12 novels, including The Unfinished Gift, The Dance and When Night Comes. He has won 3 Carol Awards and 2 Selah Awards. Three of his books were finalists for Inspirational Book of the Year. Dan is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in the Daytona Beach area where they love to take long walks. Click here to connect with Dan or check out his books.
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I don't know who said this: "Constant change is here to stay." I first heard it many years ago at a pastor's conference. It was shared by a seasoned pastor speaking to other pastors and, as I recall, he didn't know who first coined the phrase, either.
I don't even recall the topic he was speaking on. I just remembered that phrase, because it hit me as something eminently true. I suppose he offered the quote to comfort us about some big change he was announcing. It's not surprising that I don't remember the big announcement. Why should I? Whatever it was, it's probably been changed many times since then.
Because constant change is here to stay.
If you like your present circumstances, don't cling to them too tightly. They are going to change. If you don't like your present circumstances, be of good cheer. They are going to change. Constant change is here to stay.
The reason this saying came to mind, I'm pretty sure, is because I'm going through a season of change...again. Largely because, the whole publishing world is going through a change. I've been talking about some of these changes in my last several posts here.
Back in November, after publishing a dozen novels the traditional way through two major publishing houses, I released my first indie-published novel (read, self-published). I had been thinking of doing this for some time. My decision was greatly helped when my publisher decided not to re-sign me (after being with them 6 years).
Thankfully, because I did see this coming I began setting aside some of my advance money to be ready for this change. That's one of the things about being an indie: no more advances. You write the book, get it out there, people start buying it (you hope), then you get paid. One upside to this is that you get paid right away (well, every 30 days). But with the traditional routeWhen Night Comes smaller, money only came in about every 6 months.
Since everything was already going through an upheaval, I thought: why not increase the intensity? I decided to make my first indie novel, When Night Comes, a suspense novel. You're not supposed to do that, write a novel outside of your "brand." What's my brand? All my other books have been compared to Nicholas Sparks (not known for writing suspense).
Well, that was 4 months ago. Has this change been a good thing? I'm saying yes. A few reviewers clearly preferred my other kind of books (to be expected). But the overwhelming majority of reviews have been extremely positive. Perhaps even more importantly, the sales have been strong and steady. I'm close to reaching the 5,000 books-sold-mark and the income is on a track that, by year-end (Lord willing), I could make the same amount I used to receive in a typical advance.
It's been encouraging enough for me to decide to stay in the game and continue writing as an indie. I've decided to flow with the changes rather than try and stop them. To that end, I'm getting ready to do something else I haven't tried before as an author.
In a few weeks, I hope to release my first non-fiction book, a 31-Day devotional called,Perfect Peace cover idea Perfect Peace (in Imperfect Times). In it, I share all the lessons I have learned during these last several years, a season most definitely marked by constant change.
I've been told that devotionals don't sell well. We'll see. Maybe they don't, and maybe this won't. Then again, you aren't supposed to write books outside your brand. Either way, I'm grateful for the freedom to be able to write this book, even if it only sells a handful of copies. It was a book I needed to write. I hope its lessons will encourage and strengthen believers wrestling with the uncertainties of life.
Because one thing is certain. Constant change is here to stay. And one other thing is certain--a more important thing: God is faithful; He loves us with undying love, and He's well-able to work all of life's changes together for good.
How about you? Going through any changes lately?


Nicole said...

I think it's marvelous that you've altered your genre and are doing the books you want to write and publish. Indie is good for established writers especially.

My guess is the reason those who preferred your "usual" novels might have really preferred that genre and not the story itself. WW11 history buffs will love When Night Comes and how it's woven into the suspenseful storyline. (Review here:

I'm not a person that easily adjusts to change, but it can't and won't be denied. Personally, I rarely use my cell phone, keep it off most of the time. Hate that people can't let 10 minutes pass without staring at it, texting, or calling/receiving calls in checkout lines, the post office, etc. Won't deny their usefulness, but that is one change I haven't adhered to.

Michael Ehret said...

Looking forward to the devotional, Dan. I have been in such a season of change and NOT peace, that this could be just the thing to help me refocus.

Nicole said...

(*I need to clarify my comment: "preferred the genre and not the story itself" meaning the story of When Night Comes. They probably liked that story, but preferred reading your "usual" genre.)

Janice L. Dick said...

"They" used to say, "Write what you know." I prefer: "Know what you write." Perhaps the old adage, "Don't write outside your brand," needs to be tweaked to: "Expand your brand."

I've had four historical novels traditionally published, but I also have a completed cozy mystery I'd love to publish. I think brand expansion and indie might be the way to do that.

All the best in your writing endeavors and thanks for the encouragement.

Dan Walsh said...

I supposed starting as a traditionally pubbed author does give you a headstart, but I've gotten to know a few indies who were never really given the opportunities I was, who've done really well as indies. Some are doing better than I've ever done (and I'm learning a lot from them).

I hope it does encourage you. I've definitely been through seasons like that. You come to realize how precious God's peace truly is.

If I had limited myself to "write what you know" I'd have stopped after the 2nd novel. What It's fair to say that some people will not cross over with you into different genres, but many will. And you pick up new readers who prefer the new genre more. I enjoy the freedom to do both. I don't just read in one genre, so it's nice to write in more than one, too.

Barbara Anne Waite said...

I Just finished " When Night Comes" and really enjoyed it. To not be allowed to occasionally change genre is like saying if you like Mexican food you must only eat Mexican food. I love reading that you have switched to writing as independently published. I would like to see you tell at years end how it compared as far as income. Three years ago I independently published my first memoir. I was terrified my initial investment of $3,000. could be lost. I had gained it back I think within the first 8 months. I found my niche and it is working. Using free days for Kindle helped dramatically.I think your suspense novels will especially appeal to men who like clean stories. Looking forward to hearing at the end of the year your evaluation. Thanks for the transparency.
Barbara Ann Waite
Author "Elsie- Arizona Teacher 1913-1916"

Dan Walsh said...


Glad you enjoyed the book. I've heard enough similar comments to say, I think the idea that authors must always stick to one genre is a publishing myth. Lots of readers read more than one genre. They might not read 10, but they don't read only one. If they like the way an author writes, and they happen to read another genre he writes in, they'll give it a try.

My plans now are to write both kinds of books in the days ahead.