I’ve been thinking more about publishing recently around my tough schedule of not writing enough, and let me tell you, boy are my arms tired.
Oh yeah, and I’m also kind of overwhelmed and terrified. But mostly the tired arms thing.
I guess I’ve always thought of myself as a theoretical author, maybe even a theoretical writer. You know, I’m a writer in theory, and I practice a lot, but no one really sees so it’s okay. Publishing changes that.
And the more I see of the publishing world, the murkier it gets. I’d always thought (okay, for the past few years had a dream of a notion) that I’d write a book, edit the shit out of it, and then query for an agent and get dozens of rejections before they realized how awesome of a writer I was, and then money would roll in. Or at least I’d get paid.
Now, though, I’m not so sure I even want to try traditional publishing. As a first time, mid-level author (if I am lucky), I am looking forward to a small advance, just enough physical copies of my book being printed to cover the advance, and having to do all my own advertising for a low percentage price per book. But they’ll also take my words and arrange them nicely into a book for me, complete with cover art.
When I dreamed of becoming a published author, that is exactly what I had in mind.
On the other hand, Indie publishing (I should rant about my preference for this word instead of “self-published” at some point) offers me a noisy marketplace filled with books of questionable quality (not that there aren’t good books – of course there are! – just a lot of bad ones) and a distrusting public. I get a better profit per book, but have to do all the heavy lifting (digitally speaking) myself.
Two roads diverged in the woods, and I hit the signpost going fifty because I couldn’t decide which way to turn.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not close to actually trying either option, but it’s on my mind. I’ve got to finish the book I’m on, plan another one or two for the year, and figure out how to edit before it becomes a remote possibility, but it’s on the road map now.
It’s like I’m driving across the country (at night, of course at night, and on the highway. The interstate may be more efficient, but the highway makes for a better story), and I can’t see where I’m going yet, but I can start to see the signs for it. Even the tallest landmarks would be over the horizon if I weren’t in the dark, but I am seeing those green signs that tell me I’m a couple hundred miles from where I’m going.
Still a long ways off, but I’m definitely moving closer. And it’s a little exciting, and a little scary, so mostly I try not to think about it, try to focus on the little things to prepare me. Work on my craft, get creative, don’t drive into a ditch. The important things.
In this metaphorical scenario, I think I am going to a town filled with zombies, but also with guns and explosives. It could be fun if I do well, but on the other hand, I could get eaten alive.