I’d been contemplating closing it up since the day after I published my first story on it.
You see: here’s the thing: if I’m putting all my stories out there on the Internet and they’re all free, why would anyone want to publish them in book form? Really! Think about it. If you knew you could download all of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books for free, why would you buy them in a book store – or even on Kindle? (disclaimer – I am not comparing myself to JK Rowling – wish I could…)
But you’re a writer and you want people to read what you’re writing and you want feedback – you want to know – is any of this any good?
It’s a rock and a hard place.
Publishing books isn’t what it used to be. Publishers get thousands – hundreds of thousands of manuscripts every year – and agents are so inundated it’s mad. Most of these manuscripts never get read. And then, given the industry today, agents and publishers want the “book du jour.” Is dystopian YA literature selling? Then that’s what they want. If you happen to have the next War and Peace on your hands – too bad – it doesn’t fit into what’s hot now.
And so people turn to self-publishing. Even established authors are doing more of that because they get better royalties – much better. But then you’re not only a writer, you are now the publicist, the distributor,the designer, the everything. And suddenly you’re not writing; you’re spending most of your day pushing your book and trying to make sales alongside ten thousand other indie publishers doing the same thing.
What to do?
The biggest problem with indie publishing is that most people who publish their own books have not done the hard work of editing and having others proofread and edit – and edit over and over. And most of the indie books are crap. So if indie books have the rep of being crap, a good one has to work even harder to get read.
The agents and publishers are good gate-keepers. They do great work.
But man it’s tough.
There’s a saying or a philosophy or a mindset if you will, that just having written a book is reason enough to celebrate! It’s a great achievement.
Yes and no.
A writer writes for others. Writers want other people to read what they wrote. That’s the point – to share your world, your vision, your story.
My pet peeve: everyone seems to think they can write. Because we learned how to string words together to make a sentence back in grade one, we believe that anyone can write. Nothing to it.
Like music or painting or dance or any creative discipline, writing is a skill and an art. It takes time and practice and hard work to be good. Writing is a full-time practice. Sure – anyone can write. And the crap indie books are proof of that. There’s a reason they’re called “vanity projects.”
And yes – there are people who have enormous natural talent and all they need is a good editor to make sure they have their syntax right. But the Mozarts of writers are rare.
The indie route is not one that I will take. The idea of doing all that social media work, all the promotion, all that everything but writing work – it’s not for me. I’m going to do the work of submitting. I’ll go the traditional route.
I’m glad I posted some of my stories – got some feedback – encouraging – all of it.
But my site is down now. It was an experiment. Still not sure if it “worked.”