The self publishing tornado

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Am I the only one who finds the whole self publishing thing  a bit of a hassle?

No, I can’t be the only one. I refuse to believe no one else feels this way. There has to be more people out there like me.

I’ve only been self publishing since 2011 so I’m a relative noob to this whole thing, but even in the time I’ve been doing it, I’ve noticed the whole thing become less of a joy and more of a chore. I’m talking about publishing here, not writing. That’s a whole different thing.

When I published my first novel, Redemption, back in October 2011, it was exciting to go through the whole process and come out the other end feeling like I was finally a ‘Writer.’ Now though, it feels like I’m walking into a black cloud that will eat me up, throw me around a bit and chuck me out miles from where I started and nowhere near where I wanted to be.

Advertising is a constant source of anguish. The hassle of actually finding effective advertising/promo space that doesn’t cost a fortune aside, the sheer volume of other authors all screaming their heads off about their books is enough to make anyone feel as though you’re trying to swim upstream. What readers must feel when trying to find a book to buy, I dread to think. There are those who react to this feeling of being overwhelmed by resorting to nasty practices to try and give themselves a leg up and although we all know it goes on, no one seems to be tackling it effectively. Is it even possible to tackle it effectively? Has anyone tried just telling them that it’s not a competition? There really is room for everyone’s book out there.

There are many who, when faced with yet another day of trying to get our name out there, look at the enormity of the task and think, “oh fuck, I’m wasting my time here.” Many days dawn finding me amongst them. On such days I go and do something else, hoping that with some time spent doing other things, the spark for the fight will return to me. I’m still waiting.

The lack of any feeling of ‘community’ among the author crowd doesn’t help either. Although they always declare themselves to be willing to help out and encourage other authors, try finding a comment by one of them on your blog or facebook author page. Try finding them among attendees at your giveaway event. Try finding them having bought your book. Try finding them having reviewed it. Yes of course there will be one or two lovely folks who genuinely care and try to help and we all give thanks for them, but there really are only one or two.

Self publishing today is something of an all-in wrestling match without a referee. It’s a dog eat dog world when you’re a self publisher, and you must be always on your guard or you’ll find someone chewing on your ankles. The lack of any real legislation is partly to blame, in my humble opinion, as is Amazon’s well known and continuing dirty tricks campaign, (that itself is a blog for another day). We all know that to get ahead, we must fight our way to the sunlight like creepers in the jungle, and just like them, the most successful are the strangler vines.

If like me you’re not the confrontational type, you will struggle as I struggle. I do not have the energy or drive to fight with other authors who are all convinced that it is imperative Merita King be kept out of the limelight as much as possible in order for the Earth to continue to revolve. Dramatic perhaps but you get my meaning here? Everyone is fighting everyone else and I’m not a fighter. Not because I don’t care about my work, I do, but because I’m not that desperate. It would be lovely to make money from writing, but that is not why I write. I think that is the difference between those who screech the loudest and those who don’t screech at all. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you which is which.

I’m like that seed that stays underground for years waiting for sunlight to hit the ground. When it does, the seed sprouts quickly and reaches for the sky. I’m just hoping that while I’m underground, writing and quietly self publishing, the sunlight hits my bit of earth before I shuffle off this mortal coil, never to return. I’ll be happy to bet my life savings that I’m one of those authors who will be extremely famous – fifty years after they’re dead!

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14 comments

  1. Indeed 😦 I was telling you how I felt trying to share and how few even care or stop to like and the wonderful elusive comment. So many other fun events or craft tug at me while I spend hours trying to help. I can’t say no to books and only have so many hours to read them. So, I feel your pain and know this, I love your work. ❤ I too hope you are discovered, and long before you go to the next place. ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. My main complaint is that I used to be able to shake my fist at the air and curse “The Man” for conspiring to keep my genius down. Then I’d go get a cookie and play video games. Now that the only one between me and a writing career is me, I actually have to do work and stuff. Boo.

    2011? I don’t think you’re a noob anymore.

  3. I enjoyed your blog and agree with 90% of what you have written. Here is where I disagree. You say:

    “Has anyone tried just telling them that it’s not a competition? There really is room for everyone’s book out there.”

    Sadly, it is a competition, and the best books by the best writers do not necessarily win. And, as Amazon publishes thousands of books weekly, soon to be daily, there is not room for everyone as there are now more people self-publishing than reading.

    Self-publishing allows writers to circumvent mainstream publishers, but it also opened the floodgates to self-publicists able to sell themselves and their work at the expense of the “non-confrontational types,” a group to which I, too, belong as, as likely as not, the dead authors club discovered fifty years after they are dead.

    My blog on writing can be found at http://www.chloethurlow.com/2014/06/writing/

    1. Hi there, I take your point. Being able to self publish has meant that quality control no longer exists and as you say, those who sell well are not necessarily the best writers. There is room for everyone’s book out there, but it won’t always be immediately visible. It will usually be buried under a ton of trash that should never have been published.

  4. i have to admit I do get quite a bit of feedback from readers and other writers, and it’s less dog eat dog than working in the media. The biggest drawback is, although I am really and genuinely to read about a success, it can get daunting each time you look at your low level sales line 😦

    1. Oh I so agree with you on this point. It is the one area of being a writer I hate with a passion. The moment I win the lotto I’m hiring a firm of publicists to do it all for me.

  5. I know exactly how you feel! At times I find it a blessing and at other times I find it unhelpful that I’m trying to market my husband’s books, and not books that I wrote myself.I guess I can market them like a reader but I can’t deliver the heart and soul that he can when he was the one who came up with the ideas, plot, character etc. There is so much choice out there, and I can see how overwhelming it must be for book readers to find books when there’s so many to choose from. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to say, “I followed Merita’s blog before she got so famous and rich!” 🙂

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