This month marks the 1 year anniversary for my first novel on Kindle. In that time I have published a second novel and am currently preparing for my third. To say this has been a learning journey would be an understatement of biblical proportions. I’ve learned to be a publisher, marketer, a better writer and a better reader. Unfortunately I have not had to learn how to make use of off shore tax shelters or how to drive a seven speed Ferrari. I will just get this out of the way. The biggest thing I learned is that independent publishing is not the quickest way to writing riches. It is a shortcut but not one that leads right to your bank account.
The original plan for my writing career involved getting some short stories published in various literary journals and attract the attention of an agent. To that end I wrote and rewrote, submitted, waited and licked my wounds after each rejection. I began looking at e-Publishing in 1999 but it still was under the vanity press model of pay to play. So back to the writing and submitting, though now I was clearly in the novelist mindset of write, query and pray. Mind you as an agnostic the last part provided the most challenging for me and the most futile. Fast forward to last year when I achieved part of my goal. I could tell my family and friends that I am a published writer.
I write because I enjoy telling stories and meeting new characters, if only in my own head. I publish because I like seeing my name on a spine or in an Amazon search result. As the title says, It’s an ego thing. Independent publishing makes it easy to stoke that fire and to give an outlet to works that otherwise would only see the inside of a file drawer. That is the good of it. The bad comes in the rush to get material out there that really could use some more time in a file drawer, if ever even let out. I am not a believer in raw talent. Abilities are developed by practice, perseverance, experimentation and listening to feedback. Independent publishing allows authors to seemingly skip the farm league and jump right into the majors. But you cannot skip the years of development that go into your craft. You can’t pay for that either. An editor can polish your gem in the rough but he or she won’t make a piece of quartz a diamond. I learned to keep that in mind.
I don’t mean to knock writers who go this route, as I certainly am not knocking my own writing. I am just hoping to encourage those who like me have reached milestones only to see more milestones in their path. It’s called a journey for a reason, but at least my ego is having fun on the ride.