Agent Kristin of the Pub Rants blog posted some of her comments on how hard it is to be self-published. Those are my words. She put it differently:
Regardless of whether an author self-publishes or pursues traditional publishing, some writers just win the publishing lottery and their books become major successes.
Kristin points out how hard successful indie authors have worked, and laments the common misconception, that somehow indie authors have stuck it to the man, given the finger to the industry gatekeepers. Well, maybe they have done the latter, but only because the industry gatekeepers have different priorities than indie authors, and different visions.
Contrary to what many traditional and indie advocates will tell you, going indie is neither better nor worse than going traditional; it’s just different. If your vision as a writer melds well with the traditional publishing industry, you may be well be better off going that route, because the one thing that traditional publishers still bring to the table is their business model. Indie publishing is all about alternative business models, alternative markets, alternative strategies, and sometimes even alternative alternatives. That means you need to understand the insides of the publishing business, and that requires a lot of skill, a lot of knowledge, a lot of learning, and a whole hell of a lot of stuff that is the opposite of writing. If you’re not ready to take that on, you’re not ready to be an indie author.
(Note that I’m distinguishing “indie” authors, who pursue their craft in an alternative business model, from “self-published” authors, who are just publishing for fun or who self-publish as a stepping stone to a traditional publishing contract.)
Amanda Hocking’s post encouraged me in the publishing work that distracts me from writing.
This is literally years of work you’re seeing. And hours and hours of work each day. The amount of time and energy I put into marketing is exhausting. I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn’t writing a book. I hardly have time to write anymore, which sucks and terrifies me.
Yeah, I’ve been feeling the same way. I’ve been trying to get Love through the Eyes of an Idiot up on Smashwords, which has only served to remind me why Smashwords is not my primary (or favorite) distribution platform. (Their submission queue is backed up to a 20-ish-hour wait, and I stammer at how much time we could save if they were to provide a downloadable version of the Smashwords Meatgrinder, to run on my computer for testing purposes, so that when I finally do submit a document to their website, it would be the final version that actually works and that successfully accounts for all the Meatgrinder’s quirks and that comes out looking the way I want it to.)
Meanwhile, I’m quickly finishing up two new free ebooks, “Pine” and 7 Other Short Romances and “Disorder” and 7 Other Flashes of Character. If you follow my story blog, you’ll have read most of these stories before. But preparing these short ebooks for publishing is all about editing and formatting and cover art. And in the meantime, I’m making zero progress on the second Ardor Point novel, on the Second Edition of 1001 Character Quirks for Writing Fiction (which includes a couple hundred pages of new content), or on Catnapping for a Living (a book of humorous sketches about the life of an indie author, compared to what non-writers think it’s like).
So, yeah, crazy stressful sometimes. But you know, this is still a hell of a lot better than sinking into depression.