It’s only Monday morning and I’m already exhausted–not a good sign when the work-week is stretching before me like the first mile of a marathon. The worst part? There’s no particular reason for my fatigue. No big weekend behind me, causing me to run from one activity to another. No special events that spent my emotional stamina. I didn’t even attempt to tackle the dust bunnies running rampant through my house. No, I spent the weekend working on writing stuff, most notably working on promo events for the novella I released last week.
I had my work cut out for me too and started with a long to-do list. Send newsletter announcement: check. (Okay it was a week late, but it’s out.) Post headline ad on one of the romance sites: check. Update web site: check….I think. (Note to self: check web site.) Tweet about the launch, post on Facebook, check out that whole ISBN business, submit to review sites: two full checks, one half-check and one non-check….Oh well, there’s always next weekend. On the plus side, I did manage to spend a couple hours Sunday afternoon actually working on a story.
If you follow this blog, you know I rarely write about writing, or my books, or any of that stuff. I started this blog (and titled it “A Voice from Silence”) because I needed a dumping ground for all the extraneous angst floating around in my head. I figure if something bugs me, it probably bugs someone else too, and maybe those someone “elses” might want to read about whatever it is bothering me, and might even find comfort in knowing they’re not alone.
But writing doesn’t bother me. Writing is my outlet, my passion, my joy. At times it comes as naturally to me as breathing. Other times it’s a struggle, like pretty much any time I have to do anything on the business end. And when you’re following an independent path to publication, as I did with this novella, you are the business. So I find myself, a week after the launch of that novella, looking back on my decision, wondering if I knew what I was getting into.
I knew the promo would be up to me, but that’s the case too with my 2010 novel which was released by a romance publisher. True, aside from the actual production, the publisher distributed the book and sent it out to review sites, but that’s pretty much it from a promo standpoint. The marketing team is good about letting us know about opportunities, but whether or not I snap up one of those opportunities is my call, and it’s my time and/or money spent to participate.
But an indie author not only has to spend the time or money, he/she first has to mine the far-reaching fields of book promotion sites/companies/groups to identify the opportunities. Certain promo things are fun. I love anything that has me interacting with readers, whether they read my books or not. It’s a chance to meet new people, find out what they like and don’t like, and I always have a great time.
Then there are things like putting myself out there on the various social media sites, asking to guest blog, or asking (begging) for a review. These are much more difficult for me. I really dislike being the center of attention, and it feels more than a little narcissistic to be asking people to look at and talk about, maybe even read my work. I’m confused by the etiquette of the various social media sites too. If someone follows me on Twitter, should I reciprocate? Will I hurt that person’s feelings if I don’t? Realistically, I don’t know how anyone can possibly follow dozens (hundreds?) of tweets multiplied by hundreds (thousands?) of people. I know I can’t, and I can only hope that they have so many followers, the addition or omission of my little name won’t matter. Or do they sit there comparing their “following” lists against their “followers” lists and figure out who might have ignored the handshake they’ve offered.
My mind races in circles with this stuff!
If that wasn’t enough, then there are the real business considerations: Do I buy my own ISBN, which platforms do I want to be on, and the biggie, how much to charge for the fruits of months of labor that someone will read in a couple hours? Now I’m really out of my element. (I have about zero amount of business knowledge or acumen.) I spent hours agonizing over the price issue alone–reading blogs and polls and otherwise soliciting readers’ and writers’ opinions–and I’m still not certain I made the right decision.
So, like I said, here I am, a week later, wondering if I made the right call. And then I got to thinking about why I put it out there at all. It wasn’t to make a million dollars, or to be one of those super-lucky souls whose books shoot from anonymity to the zenith of the publishing world (you know, in the top 100 on amazon). (Okay, that is a nice day dream, but it’s hardly an expectation.) No, the reason I published it independently (instead of sticking with the contract I had) is because for months my little group of followers have been asking me when the next book was coming out. It killed me to admit it was going to be a full year. I mean, how lame is that to be able to get only one novella out in a two-year period? (And that’s not even counting the twenty or more years this story has been been sitting in my file cabinet, germinating and waiting for life.)
Before you start thinking what an obnoxious, arrogant soul I’ve become, let me say I’m completely and unabashedly humbled by the support I’ve received from so many. And believe me, I don’t carry any illusions that the presence or absence of my work will make anyone’s life any better, or worse. But you can be sure that I know how blessed I am to have people asking me when the next book is coming out.
So I suppose in retrospect, regardless of sales rank or royalties, I’m glad I chose an independent path to publication. I’m glad I chose to make public a story I’ve loved for a long time. And I can only hope that if any choose to purchase it, the story will entertain them, prompt them to think about something in a slightly different perspective, or maybe just help them escape into a different world for a couple hours. That’s my goal as a writer, and if I can accomplish that, I’ll be happy, and I’ll know that the months of work, and resulting fatigue of “birthing” the book, were well spent.
* * * *
(Okay, okay, I suppose I have to add this….)
Adrienne’s Ghost tells the story of the discovery of the body of agent recruit Adrienne Garza in the basement of FBIHQ, and of the relationship that develops between the investigating agent and paranormal psychologist who hunt for the killer…and encounter Adrienne’s ghost along the way. Complete details, including an excerpt, can be found on my web site.