Today in the Magic Thermos (TM), ginger coffee. It's awesome.
News about yesterday's little breakdown... It's all resolved. I have the Amazing Flatmate to thank for her help in getting the issue fixed. It turns out that a corrupted video clip was the issue. She confirmed this by removing the clip and exporting the file to a hard drive. It worked.
I skipped training last night to get home and fix the video a bit and upload it. As of 11pm last night it was uploaded. I fixed up the thumbnail etc this morning and it is now up and ready for viewing. To spare you a click through, I've embedded it below:
Q: Do you find it hard to be self-published?
Let me explain my hesitation to describe this particular path of publishing as 'hard' or difficult.
It's actually not hard to self-publish, really. It is extremely difficult to be successful when self-published.
I really enjoy the whole self-publishing process. I really like having all the creative control. *sinister voice* All of it. I get to decide how the book looks. I get to decide the cover image and layout. I decide which scenes stay and which go (which is a double edged sword, I'll admit. Sometimes a scene you are really fond of would be best deleted from a story in order to make the narrative stronger). I control everything and so if the book does well, I get all the credit. *sinister voice* All of it. Likewise, however, if the book doesn't do that well, I bear all the blame. All of it. I have also made some wonderful friends on this path of self-publishing. I am quite good friends with my cover artist (whom I cannot recommend enough), Laura Miller. She's a fantastic cover artist and a wonderful human being.
Yet for all the enjoyment, none of it is particularly easy.
In fact, the easiest part of self-publishing is the writing, and that is saying a lot, because writing is bloody hard work. Even when it comes easily, it's hard.
One of the most obvious difficulties is the expense, and I am not especially wealthy. It takes me a while to save up to get the services I need, actually. In traditional publishing, the publishing house is the one who pays the cover artist, the layout artists, the editors and does the majority of the marketing (including ads, if you're extremely fortunate). When you're self-published you are responsible for shelling out the money to get these things done. You could, of course, do it all yourself, but alas I have not the technical know-how to whip up an even half-decent book cover, let alone one that is on par with traditional covers and I am a terrible self-editor. Even if you could do all of it effectively, it takes time and it's all time and effort you spend not writing when self-publishing. It's all time you can spend on writing when traditionally published.
Speaking of taking up way too much time, I would absolutely love it if I didn't have to stress about marketing my books and could just focus on the writing. Also, not going to lie, I don't do half the things you are supposed to do when marketing a book (press releases, anyone?) because I don't know the first thing about marketing and I much prefer writing to anything else involved in the publishing process.
I'm a terrible marketer, so I find that aspect of self-publishing extremely difficult. SO VERY DIFFICULT! Seriously, I look at the stuff I'm supposed to do, and then I go to a corner, sit down and rock myself back and forth whilst blubbering incoherently. It's for this reason I also don't chase up publicity. I have no idea how to get that interview, or interest a local paper about my writing or any such thing that would help boost my exposure and thus sales.
On a related note, it is getting increasingly difficult to get noticed on the book blog circuit. Unfortunately the terrible behaviour of some self-published authors when they receive a mediocre or bad review on a blog has led to many book bloggers who were previously open to self-published books create policies where they simply will not review self-published books any longer. Furthermore, trying to get noticed amidst the sheer volume of self-published books is nigh on impossible. It is really, really hard.
Another thing I find hard on a more personal level is not seeing my book in actual physical stores. I would love to be able to travel, walk into any book store and see my book on a shelf beside the authors I admire so very much. I crave it so. I want to be able to sneak into a book store and (with permission, of course) sign my own books so that random people can get signed copies without having to travel to whatever convention/signing event I may be attending.
Also, if you're good enough and you sell enough, traditional publishing houses may help you out in creating and executing a book tour. Oh that is such a dream of mine! Meeting readers is one of my favourite things in the world - the sole reason I love to sell at ComicCon etc is that I get to chat to readers. How cool would it be if I could travel to meet them and not worry about the expense?
Which leads me to another difficult aspect of self-publishing. You get no validation. There is something special, I feel, about a publishing contract in hand; that moment when someone who deals specifically with books all day every day says that yes, you are worth taking a risk on. This story is worth taking a risk on. I want that so badly it sometimes reduces me to tears (especially when that next rejection comes in). It's equally as awesome when you get a good review, though not everyone who reads your stuff is going to review it, and not everyone who reviews one of your books will do so favourably.
Since it is so difficult getting noticed in the publishing world few people typically read any self-published author. More people will not touch a book that does not have a traditional house backing it (sometimes for good reason. I mean, there is a lot of self-published drivel out there). That means you have a smaller pool of readers, a smaller number of reviewers and a smaller number still of people who will review favourably. That's a tiny number (often zero), actually, and it means that acquiring new readers is next to impossible. New readers will check to see how a book is reviewed when making their decision. If there are no reviews... well... chances are the new reader will pass your book over for something else.
So, you see, yes, being self-published in incredibly difficult. The writing is hard, the production expensive (if you want it done right), and the marketing is downright terrifying. It can all also be incredibly rewarding. I've met so many wonderful people, and I'm now friends with a whole bunch. I love writing so very much, and I would whither into a dessicated ball of bitterness if I didn't have this creative outlet. Seeing my stories become actual physical books is wonderful.
But trying to be successful at self-publishing. That is some difficult shit right there. I'm by no means a successful self-publisher. I do hope, however, that one day I will be, and I will be able to make a decent living from my work as a writer. It's a long way off, however, and every day is a struggle to get myself one step closer to achieving that goal. They key is, I think, to keep at it.
And maybe get that traditional publishing deal. Fingers crossed!
Anyway, I hope that answered your question, Angelina. It's a bit of a rant, I know.
Now I'm off to attempt Welsh again. Have a great day, everyone!