I didn’t get a single thing accomplished that I wanted to accomplish over the weekend.
Well,that’s not completely true. I did level up in Destiny.
I suck at life, and I suck at chasing dreams.
I had a great plan for getting back into my current WIP. I did. And it still is, and I’m still going to try and get it done. But I didn’t do diddly-squat over the weekend, not a single word. I didn’t even get into my computer chair. I just ran some errands with my wife, had breakfast out, brought home stuff for the kids, and never wrote a single word.
I don’t know if I just don’t like the story, whether I’ve sort of been bitten by the same bug that caused me to go deep into Mass Effect last year, or whether I’m just yanking my own chain about being a writer, but whatever the reason, I just don’t seem to get to the writing chair.
While there’s no shame in being a hobbyist writer, that’s absolutely not the path I wanted to tread with it for myself. I wanted – and still do want – for it to become my living, replace my income and provide for my family. But I can’t seem to force the writing to happen, and that’s the breakdown in logic I don’t have an explanation for.
Writers write. They don’t make excuses for not writing, they don’t sit around not writing and watching TV and saying they want to be a writer. They write. They don’t wait for any mythical “muse” to strike them, they write. They write when they don’t feel like it and just keep writing until they do feel like it. Or until they finish. Then they rinse and repeat.
So, maybe I’m just daunted. For whatever reason, maybe the realization of everything involved with indie publishing is something I just don’t want to face. It’s a big deal.
To make a living indie publishing and writing, I have to do a few things.
I need to write books. I have to have a catalog for people to buy items from on the chance they enjoy my writing and want to read more of my stuff. Having one novel, two short story collections and about six short stories isn’t going to cut it. I need to have product available. You can’t run a store without products to sell.
Once written, I need to have the product looked over for quality assurance. That can be expensive. I have a nice team of people I trust who look over the manuscript, but that’s not the same as hiring a professional copy editor to go through it (although the last time I wrote a story, it actually was the same – maybe better). Also, I can’t ask people to do that every time I write a book. That’s not fair. And should anyone on that team refuse, I have to find someone else to do it. Or, pay someone again.
Next, the product must be formatted for both print and electronic distribution. A lot of authors forego print, but it’s a mistake to do so. Plenty of readers still want paper in their hands to read, so it helps to have both available. Paying someone to do this isn’t as bad as editing costs, but it’s another expense. There are a few websites which offer authors formatting services for a flat fee, and I’ve seen variance between $80 and $150 for those services. I can do this myself in Scrivener, but HOLY SMOKE that’s a lot of work. Yet, with money a consideration, I have to do it this way.
That product will then need some sales copy written for it. I have a book about how to write sales blurbs for places like Amazon and Nook, but it’s not easy to see whether your sales copy is working or not. (Based on number of sales…not.) So I can either hire a copywriter to do it, take a copywriting course of some kind and do it that way, or do it myself. Since hiring copywriters isn’t even on my radar, I guess I keep doing it myself until I find a formula that works for me. Or at least one that seems to garner interest in the product.
The product also has to look professional, so I have to either pay someone to create professional-looking covers, or do it myself. And there are two types of covers, one for print and one for electronic books. The print version will depend on the step above because an accurate page count is necessary. I have little confidence I can do this myself, but I have to find somewhere to save money. It’s just too expensive to do this all by pay services.
So you can see, there are a lot of things to do when you’re indie publishing a book. And I have to do them all myself, which takes time away from the writing. This also doesn’t talk about how much time and money goes into advertising. Campaigns for ebooks are pretty common, and if you don’t get your product in front of the consumers who use it, you’re not going to make many sales. And that’s exactly what’s happened for me up to now.
So…is the pressure of all that stomping my creative drive? I don’t know. I don’t think so, but who knows? All I know is, if I want to be a writer, those are the steps required to get a book into the world and available for purchase. Then it’s a matter of waiting for discoverability.
On top of those things, which have to happen for each book, there are refreshing the product every three to five years so it stays current, at least on the outside. Covers and sales blurbs are perishable even if the book isn’t. So there’s that matter, which, with a larger catalog, becomes a larger task.
I don’t know what’s stopping me from writing. I’m shooting myself in the foot for the most part. But I haven’t given up yet. And today’s a fresh new day.
But I didn’t do a thing over the weekend. Nada. We’ll see about this week as it progresses.