As an indie publisher, how fast should you publish books?
For some reason, this has been a big hangup for me, mostly subconscious. I have eight books that are written (plus two short story collections) and can be published. They still need to be edited, have covers built, etc., but they’re there, and I’m behind on getting them out.
It isn’t just that I don’t have time. The second someone says, “I don’t have time,” don’t look at their time. Look at their priorities.
I started going to karate with Ray, and I just started playing MMOs with my husband again (we got bored of the last one and drifted away from it, especially when Dead Island came out, but that’s another story). Those are good things. But I had time.
I dug down into the problem and came out with this:
- I thought Chance Damnation would do better than it has.
- I thought the short stories would be doing better than they are; they’re staying at a constant level, even though I have more stories up.
- I feel like people will think poorly of me for publishing quickly, like I’m writing sloppily and poorly.
- I feel like the people who actually give a crap about my stuff will feel overwhelmed.
- I feel like I must be screwing something major up, all the time.
- I think I’m a terrible writer because I got a bad review, because I’m not hitting sales, etc.
- I feel like I put my foot in my mouth in public too much, and that turns people off.
- I feel like people have read things they didn’t like and will never read anything by me again.
- I think that people are cheap and don’t want to pay for things.
- I think that people are freakin’ attention cheap and would rather watch TV shows that bore them, because it’s easier.
- I think the publicity system built around publishers is unfair; on the one hand, self-publishers aren’t supposed to mind when their stuff is grouped in with big-publisher stuff (like on Amazon), but we can’t get through the normal channels the way a big publisher would (I just had to give up a signing at B&N, because they won’t take books that won’t do returns. @#$%^!!!). So it ends up that nobody pays attention to indies, unless they just do.
- I question daily whether this is all worth it. “Nobody said it was easy/No one ever said it would be this hard.”
It’s just this panic attack that really isn’t rational. But there’s a big mess in the way of me getting out books as fast and as well as I could be, is the point.
This is the beginning of month 6 of the great publishing experiment. Rationally, I can’t judge whether the whole project has been a success or failure; I can only judge whether the doing of it makes me happy, and it does, except for when I go, “Where’s the external reward?”
I went back through my kids’ stories this week to get them ready for a POD collection and kept thinking, “Hot @#$%, woman. You are good at this.” The fact that I, who have a terrible time saying anything nice about myself, could say that was really something. I sent the cover out, and people have said nice things about that, too.
Here’s the cover draft:
I am holding back out of self-doubt.
I am not holding back out of any rational reason that will make things better for me in the long run.
Okay, if I were editing and got to the point where I was like, “I just don’t think this book is ready to see the world,” then that might be something, a reason to stop and think about what I was doing, but I’m not doing that.
So I should probably make more of a conscious effort to jump into the unknown, in this respect. What have I got to lose? Big publishers are not interested in most of this stuff, and if they change their minds, they can always give me a call. If I were doing this for the money, I never would have quit my job. If I were doing this for other people’s respect, I’d write more literature and less pulp. I’m doing this because it’s what I’m built for, dammit. I was just tickled over what I wrote this morning, although part of my brain reserves the right to dislike it later. I am so much better at this than I was when I quit my job, than I was a year ago, than I was in July.
I just have to accept that publishing is a learning curve, too, and I want to move along that curve instead of turning everything over to someone else to make it magically all better, and that means surviving the sucky part.
How fast should I publish books? As fast as I reasonably can. I know how amazing it feels when I have an empty inbox. I can only imagine what it would like if I had all my current stuff out, too.