I’ve been reading up on all the “how to make it as a self-publishing author” posts I can get my hands on and to be honest, it’s more than a wee bit intimidating.
By that, I mean I got so overwhelmed by the idea of doing everything on the must-do-or-else-fail-terrifically lists that I curled up in a fetal ball and whimpered for a day or so. Not my best moments, no, and very poor use of time at that.
Finally, I gave myself a stern talking to and decided to throw most of the to-do lists straight out the window. I may very well fish them back out in a month or so when I stop hyperventilating, but for now, baby steps.
In addition to writing/editing/behaving like a mostly-adult person, I’ve decided that I will try to keep a log of my self-publishing adventures as part of my blog-regularly effort.
In the meantime, I feel that my spoons might be put to better use writing the next book and the next book after that before touching the whole promo end of things.
Because ultimately, why did I self-publish?
Yes, the lure of higher profits was part of it.
Yes, I am terrible at the whole hurry-up-and-wait game and I have no patience to speak of.
Ultimately, however, I think what tipped me over the edge where I didn’t even consider looking for an agent was because I really wanted to have full artistic control over the end result.
I wanted a specific style of cover by a specific artist: Phoenixlu. I wanted to make damn sure that my cover was not white-washed because “covers with POC don’t sell well”. I wanted to write a novel set in imperial China that was mostly fantasy with romantic elements despite being told “no one cares about China or Chinese mythology/legend”.
Estyria’s story is one that I’ve wanted to tell for years. It’s the story that I’ve had to grow into as a writer to tell, one that I wasn’t sure I could pull off. I’ve been struggling with it since 2004 — so 10 years of my life has gone into the plotting, planning, writing, re-writing and editing of this book. I can’t say how often I’ve been told that maybe I needed to set it aside and do something else, that maybe I needed to start with something easier, but I never could stay away. It and I grew together over the last decade and I can’t regret any of it. Perhaps I still haven’t managed to fully accomplish everything I wanted to do with it, but Phoenix Chosen is a story that I’m happy to put my name behind and call mine.
I also believe in Dean Wesley Smith’s take on rewriting. You learn more by doing than anything else and constantly trying to fix a story rather than moving on is the worst waste of time possible. It’s also why I believe that if fanfiction is your thing, that is the best way to start out — but that’s another post.
I only have so many spoons and I’d rather spend them on writing more stories rather than chasing the query-go-round.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Stop being part of the Amazon=slush pile problem, right?
I agree, don’t contribute to what Chuck Wendig calls the spewing volcano of shit. But I don’t believe that if you write out a story, edit it, copyedit it and then send it out, that you’re doing anyone a disfavor. Yes, make a professional cover for it, find a good editor who will make it grammatically correct and hunt down all your typos. But as for plot, characterization, logic? It doesn’t matter. SOMEONE will like it. Whether or not enough someones will like it that you become the next E.L James or Stephanie Meyer remains to be seen, but if you’ve been professional about it, you aren’t adding to the problem. I can’t even list how many times I’m reading a book review where the reviewer says with great chagrin: “This book was like crack. I couldn’t put it down. The inconsistencies were legion, the characterization was shit, there was no logic whatsoever to anything going on — but I couldn’t put it down regardless.”
No one can tell what’s bad and what’s good until the populace gets their hands and brains around it. Too many literary works considered works of art have sunk like a stone and too many books that would make an English teacher sob have become runaway bestsellers for me to buy into the idea that there’s this standard of good.
So here’s to writing more stories, improving my craft through the doing and entertaining some people along the way.
As for promo… Perhaps tomorrow I’ll start finding people to follow on Twitter and try to strike up conversations with people. Maybe.