Well folks, it’s been a good run, but it’s time to pack it in. This whole self published author thing isn’t working out for me. I published well before I was ready to do so, and only now do I have to perspective to sit down and admit it. Trying to run a business on a shoestring budget (which is code for no budget whatsoever) is not the way to go about it. My books were nowhere near where they should have been in terms of quality when I published them (although I thank all of you who gave me such kind reviews!) and I was in severe need of an editor but unwilling (and now unable) to pay for the services of one. I was embarrassed by my own work, which should have been a hint that I wasn’t going about things the right way. It’s been a painful decision to make, but I think it is the right one. Clicking unpublish gave me a sense of relief, like a proverbial albatross fell off my neck.
Now that the depressing part is over, let’s get to the good stuff, shall we? You might be thinking that I’m giving up on the writing game for good. You would be mistaken, my friend. This all started when I finished draft one of my fantasy novel Aral-Kahn. I got to thinking that a work of that length would require extensive editing, and that it wouldn’t be something I could do myself (not that you should ever try to go it alone where editing/copy editing is concerned). Freelance editors of any quality are well outside my price range at the moment, being unemployed and all, and even if I did find work I’m not sure it would make good economic sense to stake that much money on a maybe. Plus, I’ve always had this dream of being a big fantasy author published by Tor, alongside the likes of Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, and Robert Jordan (my love of writing the horror genre is a relatively recent development). My dad decided, what the hell, he was going to give submitting his manuscript to Tor a shot. That put the idea back in my head, where it has festered for months now.
Are there difficulties in traditional publishing? Of course. Self pub and trad pub are both difficult, just in different ways. Writing is a difficult industry all the way around. I’ve put a great deal of thought into the matter, and I have decided that I will try to pursue the traditional publishing route. Will I succeed? It depends how you measure success. I personally expect a whole pile of rejection slips, because the gates barring entry into the trad pub realm are so high (which is why self pub is so popular). But if you have a hard head and keep smashing it against said gates for long enough, you just might break through. That’s a success in and of itself. Not that breaking through and getting a book published really means much from a monetary perspective (for those who measure success in dollars earned), since most books by new authors don’t sell out their advances.
That’s simply the reality–self pub isn’t any better, as most books sell only a handful of copies and then get lost in the sea of poorly edited, crudely constructed crap flooding Amazon. Trust my personal experience on that. Neither option is a magical panacea that will pour heaps of gold coins and scantily clad women (or men, if that’s your preference) into your lap. Whoever tells you that is lying through his/her teeth and you should punch them in the throat (Note–this author does not condone violence…maybe send them a strongly worded letter or something instead).
The fact is you don’t usually make it big by publishing one book or series, the Stephanie Meyers of the world notwithstanding. Most don’t make it big at all, but if you want to make a living off your writing, which is nearly as remote as making it big, you have to keep cranking out books. Your first book probably won’t make bank, but your tenth might net some return. Or not. But then we writers don’t write for the money, do we? I don’t know about you, but I’d be scribbling silly stories whether I got paid or not. Unless you can say that with complete and total honesty, you have no business trying to publish by any means, traditional or otherwise. For a writer, craft is king. Business is something that maybe, hopefully gets your word out to others. Money is just a nice side effect (for people like Stephen King and Stephanie Meyers, a REALLY nice side effect).
So, I’ll make a go of it. How it turns out, I have no clue. It’ll be an adventure, won’t it?