I’m browse over to Janice Hardy’s blog, Fiction University on occasion. This last Thursday she had Dario Ciriello at her site discussing the grueling hassles of marketing for the self-published author.
I have yet to publish a book, but the vision of what self marketing is going to be like once I do have a published manuscript has me wondering if I want to get that far. The daunting thought of all the work that goes into self marketing makes me cringe. Really! I find such enjoyment in the writing process. To even think I must put it on the back burner so that I can hopefully sell what I have published is something I think about with animosity.
Sure, the gratification of selling a book I toiled over for two plus years or so sounds marvelous. To be recognized for my accomplishment is going to be thrilling—I think. Will I be treated better by those who snub me now? Will I even care about such people when I hit that stage? Self publishing could assure me of a slice of this even though it may be small, right? All the same, is cutting the economic corners of publishing by doing it myself going to assure the goal of success? My probable answer is “no.”
I may not have gotten down the path far enough to experience all that goes on after that last draft, but I’ve read enough to know that it’ll be a time when I won’t be working in solitude. Even if I go by way of self-publishing, I know I’m not skilled in the work of making an Ebook or, certainly not, the cover for one. This doesn’t even touch on the turmoil of creating a traditional book with bindings. Even at that, if I do all of that right, if I didn’t write well enough to make the story come to life, all is lost and it can’t be undone.
None of this even has to do with the marketing that Dario Ciriello outlines so well. He talks about the time taken away for blurbs at social media sites, guest posting to get the chance to promote, and spending time looking at stats and techniques for maximizing sales. For the Indie writer, all this is figured out and dealt with without the help of an agent or publisher.
With the Indie approach, I can be assured that my book will be published. There isn’t any doubt about it. Still, how much of the passion for writing do I lose in the process? I shudder to think on it. Maybe if I had a few books under my belt already, I’d be more willing to give the self-publishing route a try. After all, I’d have readers; I’d have some experience in the field of publishing; may even have experience doing my own PR work. I could avoid all that time it takes for a publishing house to get my manuscript through all of the runs, and avoid the terror of waiting to find out if my baby makes it all the way through.
However, for this first book, I want to know, without any doubts in my mind, the story I have created is worth the time and effort of a publishing house, no matter how small. It’s a check point that tells me I do have a talent in the art, the craft, the passion I love so dearly.
Did I hear the whisper of someone saying the fear is too great? Yes, the fear of realizing that I’ve been a complete idiot to think I could write anything worth reading is great—huge—humongous. But how else am I going to find out what the naked truth is about any ability I have or may not have in this craft? Listening to my friends isn’t going to do it. Even the ones who are writers are going to be bias. And if they aren’t, how long will I want them as friends if they’re telling me how inept I am? I can take criticism from friends, but only if I’m pretty sure they aren’t enjoying the telling. But blunt truth? I think I can take it from a stranger even if I end up in tears. I know I couldn’t take it from a friend giving it in the same manner.
Please friend, please do a little sugar-coating. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Just enough so I’m not gagging to death on the truth.
When I eventually get to that final draft of this book, I’ll be spending the time and stamp money (if necessary) to get my manuscript accepted at a publishing house.
People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it. – Harlan Ellison