Reflections On This Self Publishing Thing
I woke up this morning to a post by by J.A. Konrath about Why You Should Self Publish. Um, yeah, what he said. All the way.
It’s been quite the ride this year. I’m not sure exactly when it was I turned wholly indie. I decided to write Forsaken By Shadow in August or September last year, I think. At that time, I intended to use it just to build a little bit of a reputation, a name with readers, while waiting on a traditional publishing contract for the rest of the series. I was more seriously considering the indie thing by the time I put it out in March.
Then life blew up in the form of my husband breaking his leg. If I’d been affiliated with New York, with all their attendant deadlines and such (which would already be an issue due to the multiple jobs), I’d have been totally screwed. I lead a very busy life. That’s just a fact. And when we start a family in a year or two, that life is just going to get busier in many ways. If I’m to have a chance at making writing a career, I can’t wait on New York. I have to keep moving forward, building my platform, building my audience and fanbase, title by title, getting as much accomplished as I can in the meantime before crumbcrunchers arrive. Add to that the fact that there has just been SO MUCH STUPID evidenced by traditional publishing, and my decision is made.
I didn’t get as much written this year as I wanted. Well, I wrote over 100k, but only about a third of that is seeing the light of day. There was a lot of stopping and starting and rewriting and throwing away. Plots that were abandoned. The leg break incident threw a serious monkey wrench into my creative process, and I’m only just now truly recovering 9 months after the fact. There’s been this tendency for me to look at those 9 months as wasted time. I only managed to get one very short novella out in that time span, and that was LAST WEEK. And yeah, I’m still kind of disappointed in that.
But here’s what I did accomplish this year.
- I released my first title. Nothing but a longish novella with which I have built name recognition. By the end of the year I will have sold nearly 3,000 copies of that novella. In 9 months.
- I have made about what I made after taxes on a single section of community college teaching. Of course the government hasn’t taken their chunk yet, which will kind of wipe out a lot of the profit, but that’s still quite respectable for my first title out the door.
- I have been on a month long blog tour and have written at least that many more guest posts and interviews over the course of the remainder of the year. This has gone a LONG way to getting my name out there. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see people actually searching for my name and finding my blog rather than the former high contenders of “the crud” (seriously, who needs to google that? It’s the same sinus shit everyone gets every year) and “Gerard Butler”.
- I helped to found the Indie Book Collective. I wrote articles, did promo, and worked with my fabulous co-founders to get the IBC off the ground. I’m pulling out in 2011 due to time constraints, but I am proud to see what the IBC has accomplished since it’s soft launch in September.
- I have had people come to ME for help and suggestions and advice on going indie. That’s been exciting as well, to see that there are people who believe I’m doing it right and have something valuable to share.
- I began with an initial, out of pocket cost of $120. I made that back in the first three months and used the profits to fund 2 more book covers, an audiobook cover, audiobook production, copyright costs, and a little bit of promo/advertising. On my total expenses for the year, I have had nearly a 100% return on investment (i.e. I spent about half what I made). In terms of doing it on the cheap, I definitely have done that right.
- I have seen where I was going astray with my series metaplot and am now moving forward in the right direction. Not that I have ANY idea what the next full length book in the Mirus series is going to entail since the events of Devil’s Eye totally blew up my metaplot, but I’ve got the production time of Red in between to figure it out.
- I’ve met dozens of marvelous people along the way and formed an invaluable author network.
- I’ve figured out what works for me in terms of how to promote myself and my work. And that cannot be overvalued.
There is no doubt in my mind that the indie route is the right one for me. I’m incredibly self-motivated and organized, and nobody in New York is going to care more about my books and my career than I do. I think I’m really in the best hands possible. My own.