Late Start

There were plans for a big push over the weekend, but ultimately I realized that I was completely and utterly exhausted, pushed to the brink by insomnia last week. Saturday was a lost day, as concentration was impossible and I napped for hours even after coffee and multiple cups of Mountain Dew. There are times when exhaustion cannot be denied. Saturday was just such a day, and given that today was going to be such a big day (starting a new job), it seemed appropriate to rest yesterday as well. So now my batteries are recharged, it’s just a matter of finding the time. Easier said than done, however, with all that entails starting a new job and editing a podcast AND AND AND. It’s driving me a little crazy, but what else can I do other than carry on and do the best possible with these contraints?

I’m also experiencing some…I don’t know if it’s frustration. Perhaps looking into the state of the publishing industry, specifically the publishers and agents, is overwhelming. Things are moving so quickly that it’s hard to know what “accepted wisdom” is anymore. That’s good in some ways – there’s a lot more room for trailblazing, but it also has left me wondering if the idea of trying to forge my own path rather than going through the old system is a way of avoiding going through the time-honored grinder that most writers have to face. I think that the answer here is to just accept what I want to do and not allow the idea of comfort to drive me.

The source of my discomfort, actually, is hearing about how much publishers expect writers to self-market these days, and how little backing one can expect from both publisher and agent, has driven me to make a decision. As much as I would like to have the “name recognition” of a publisher behind me to lend some legitimacy, I’m coming to the conclusion that publishers really do only offer a “label” anymore. I know graphic designers for cover work, I can find a competent copy editor fairly easily, and I’m learning marketing lessons every day in running a podcast.

May as well just call it now – short of some miraculous offer, once this novel is finished, edited, and packaged, it’s going straight to self-publishing. I want to start with an ebook, then branch out to a limited print run; I’ve been examining options on how to do that, and will continue to research.

I am, however, well aware of the stigma involved in self-publishing, so the following commitments must hold true:

  1. My works will be of the utmost quality as I see fit. I’m a professional technical writer, and I expect my works to live up to the level of quality that my employer expects of me. This means proper formatting and proper editing.
  2. This is a business, which means there will be a business plan.
  3. Review copies will be copious. Especially digital copies. Why hold back on something that’s essentially free?
  4. Responsiveness. Customers will come first, with perhaps fans whenever they may come along.
I’m sure more will come along as I think about this, but just making the decision and laying these out is so freeing. It’s clear now that some of my depression of late has stemmed from reading about the state of the industry and despairing of where I fit into it. It’s clear now, however, that I have always been the kind of person to follow their own path, and it should apply here as well.
In that vein, today’s link is Publishing Basics. Really, it’s almost a one-stop shop that helps authors to understand the basics of self-publishing, and I’m pretty stoked about reading their eBook. Once I’ve completed it, I’ll report back here on what I think. Definitely check them out if you plan on following down the self-publishing path!
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