I thought I’d share a few things today about writing. I constantly feel like a newbie, because no matter how much I learn, no matter how I change, there always seems to be so much more ahead of me on my journey. Sometimes it’s a little daunting, but you can’t give up, I can’t anyway. I want to share the stories I write with the world, and this process, this business of being an author, no matter how difficult, as far as I know this is the only way we do that. I have a total of four pieces on submission to three different publishers, one full-length novel and three short stories. I’m proud of that – not proud because I want to brag, but proud that I stuck to it, proud that represents all of my spare (and not-so-spare) time for the last year and a half. I’ve had to give up other things, things I really wanted to do, in exchange for finishing my writing. I’ve had several rejections – that is part of the game, for me anyway – and while I’m not happy about them I think I handled them pretty well. I have several other works in progress, but I wanted to try something else before I continued on the same path. Sometimes it’s time to lift your head and look around. This is one of those times.
I’ve read a great deal, as I’m sure you all have, about indie publishing. I’ve talked to other authors, both experienced writers with dozens of books in their name(s), and those, like I am, who are still struggling. I’ve heard success stories, both from those with backlists to sell, and those with no established fan base. I’ve found tools, exhortations, and those precious few who attempt to dissuade us from anything other than the New York City big six. I think I see another road, one I hadn’t known was there, becoming visible through the mist.
Before going there, though, I felt I had to ask myself a few questions. The biggest, I think, is the hardest. Am I doing this because I’m too lazy to pay my dues, because I’m so arrogant I think that my judgement about my own writing is better than an editor who’s been looking through the slush pile for thirty years? Of course, it’s easier to make that decision when you actually get an input from the editor. Waiting the two to twelve months while you migrate through the process is difficult, even though it is just “the way things work.” The second is a little easier – can I manage my expectations well enough, and am I up to this? By the time I got to the third question it was simple. Can I find enough information to try this and make it happen?
While trying to think my way through this, I came across an extremely useful tool. There are many facets to becoming an indie publisher, and I felt like a juggler trying to keep them all in mind, all the balls up in the air. And I hadn’t even started yet. I read a post by Christine London with a set of spreadsheets intended to help organize for self-publication. Suddenly everything fell into place. It also got me started using Google documents, which I had seen before but never used much. There was this sudden, serendipitous thing where I could see everything that had to be done, could guess how long it would take, and could make an informed decision.
Examining your soul is best done in private – but I can share the results. I decided that I will try this. If I succeed, I will have established a closer relationship with my readers than I might otherwise, I will have put my work on the open market and it’s been bought, and I will have learned a new set of skills. Who knows when they might come in handy? If I fail, well, at least I tried. If I didn’t do everything I could to become an author I’d consider myself a quitter. Quitters never win, and winners never quit.
So I am off on my journey. I thought I’d share it with you all. Perhaps if I make mistakes and am honest about them, you may avoid the same ones. If I share my successes, it may make it easier for you to try the same path. I’d love any comments from the rest of you as I go forward – sharing helps us all.
For reference – the pointer to the original spreadsheet set is
Thanks, Christine, for making a hard decision easier.