The Book Business
The success of a writer is often, if not exclusively subjective.
You cannot guarantee that PEOPLE will want to read your book, you cannot guarantee longevity and you cannot guarantee consistency (as in, well my first book was a hit, so will my second, third, fourth, etc).
There’s a lot of pressure in that.
Couple that with self-publishing and it can feel very daunting. I know I’m not alone (now that I’ve connected with more indie authors) in that this stigma surrounding self-publishing can feel impossible to break away from.
For starters - allow me to fill you in on what a traditionally published author has done for them:
I’m sure there are more, but these are the main/most expensive areas. And THAT IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE.
Traditional publishing does not equal better stories/writing.
Going the indie route, we have to do all of this ourselves OR shell out thousands (no exaggeration) on any number of these. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think many people have that kind of cash lying around.
The more time goes, especially seeing how traditionally published authors I know (who are AMAZING, I might add) are struggling to hit whatever number they had in mind, I am even more glad I went the self-pub route. Book stores are not fully open, publishers are pushing back release dates etc. It is a HARD time for many - authors are certainly not immune.
With that said, I’ve tried to be very transparent about the process, start to finish. I want people to see just how much goes into this OUTSIDE of the writing. Writing a book is easy. Writing a book that will sell, that has a solid story and engaging characters, is fairly easy if this is your jam, BUT
All the rest of it is HARD. This is a business that I am running essentially alone and it is HARD.
I have a degree in Communications, I have a general understanding of how media works and how much of the success you face, is luck. It’s who you know and how marketable you are regardless of whether or not you have a team behind you.
I don’t particularly enjoy marketing, especially myself, alas this is the nature of the beast and I’ve had to go so far outside of my comfort zone, I don’t even know what it looks like anymore. There is no comfort in what I’m doing at all, but that’s why I know I’m getting better at it.
Resistance builds strength.
I am reaching out to book stores, bookstagrammers, friends, family, book clubs. I am working on alternative distribution, I am sending out free (signed) copies WHILE still editing other manuscripts, noting on my next project, beta reading for friends and (happily) about to begin a fun project with a fellow indie author in hopes to change the way people view our industry.
I am also a stay-at-home mother with a household to run while my husband has the “real job” and makes sure we get to KEEP said household (ha!)
Every author works hard (or should) - we are all working to put out amazing stories and maintain readership.
With that said, let me say this for the people in the back:
MY BOOK IS A REAL BOOK.
My cover artist spent REAL time to create my cover for me. I spent MONTHS writing the story, WEEKS editing, DAYS formatting and even more DAYS/WEEKS researching and trying to promote and finding out what exactly I need to do to get it where it needs to go.
I have complete control and also none at all. But my book is here - because I know it’s a great story (otherwise I wouldn't have published).
Once an author’s book is out there, and for sale - it is DONE. It is a product that we hope will reach the hands of many and hold some kind of momentum so that when the next one comes out, that momentum keeps on going or better yet, grows!
This is not a hobby, this is my job. This is my whole business and I will know every nook and cranny.
Do you walk into any local business and say things like:
“Oh, that’s cute.”
“Oh, my friend is doing that too.”
“You should do this...!”
Prooooobably, not. Why? Because you see whatever it is, as a real thing. But for whatever reason, indie authors don’t have that same respect.
I can’t tell you how loud the cricket-chirping is sometimes when I bring up my book/writing.
It’s comical at this point - but here I stand and sure it stings when I hear random comments that imply what I do is not at the same level as traditional authors.
But that’s OK - but it doesn’t lessen what I’ve done or what I plan to do. It doesn’t change the amount of work and effort I’ve put in and it only motivates me to keep going and to connect with even more indie authors/readers because if there’s ever a time for us to find our place, it’s now!
2020 has thrown up a lot of road blocks but I’m not a woman who deals with No, easily.
I will push.