Okay, as indie or self-published writers, we’re all over the positive news stories. “Konrath makes $22,000 in a month”; “Hocking sells over 100,000 books in a month”; “Michael J. Sullivan makes $34,820 in a month”, and they give us inspiration. Few of us will match these astounding figures, but there’s no harm in trying, and even a little fraction of that performance would please most of us.
But what is it about writing that I like? Is it purely the ability to create a story that I find entertaining, and meeting the challenge of completing the work? Is it the hope that I can have many thousands of dollars entering my bank account?
Well, yes and no to both. The main reason I’m writing nowadays (rather than taking an easy retirement from a lifetime of hard, non-writing work) is because people like to read what I’ve written.
Yes, I’ve been an avid follower of Joe Konrath for some years, and when he started talking about how his experiments with self-publishing were going, I’m afraid I got excited. I had dollar signs in my eyes – and I can convert US dollars into my native UK pounds in a blink of one of those eyes. But since self-pubbing two collections of my short fiction, I’ve discovered something.
I’ve discovered that warm, cosy, wonderful feeling you get when someone contacts you and says “hey, I downloaded your book. You know what? I loved it. Where can I read some more?” For me, that says it all. It’s not about the money, it’s not about the mental challenge – it’s about the entertainment, it’s about a person saying nice things about something you’ve spent many hours creating. I don’t think there’s any feeling like it.
So this morning, I followed a link from a friend on Facebook to a good news story. A debut novel has been picked up by Bloomsbury, and the author signed up. She’s over the moon. And quite rightly. Read about it .: here :. But, reading the story, something shocked me.
Bloomsbury will publish her debut novel ‘The Night Rainbow’ in the spring of 2013
Come again? Bloomsbury will launch her book in over 2 years’ time.
Now, I’m of an age where I don’t know if I’m going to be alive in 2 years’ time. Statistically, I should be. But who knows what the publishing world is going to look like in 2 years? Ebook sales are rising dramatically, although still less than 10% – 15% of total book sales. But with Amazon being predicted as possibly selling 12 millions Kindles in 2011 alone .: story here :. and Apple reportedly placing orders for 65 million iPad displays for 2011 .: story here :. there is no doubt the traditional model of book publishing is being changed, rapidly.
I wish Claire King all the best, and it’s no mean feat to break through in the way she did. Having read some of what she’s written, I would say it’s truly deserved. She’s a damned good writer.
But I just wouldn’t want to wait more than two years before my readers could enjoy my work. And that is why I self-publish.