We talk a lot on MW about what habits you need to make as a writer, what goals you need to set, how there are give-and-takes all the way through a writing career. I’ve been considering a year-long themed set of postings that are simply A Year In The Life: trying to get some of the nitty-gritty of the work down in part so our readers here can get an on-going sense of what it’s like to do this as a career. I’ve got some other things to talk about today, too, but: would that be of interest?
The Other Things I have to talk about today tie into that, mind you, because as of today Faith Hunter and I have officially plunged into the fascinating new waters of self publishing. “Easy Pickings”, the crossover novella we wrote featuring both our main characters, Jane Yellowrock and Joanne Walker, has gone live on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
If you’ve been around MW for a while, you might remember me going off on a tear more than once about self-publishing. I would have advised you (possibly violently) to Not Go There.
Here I am today, eating crow.
I think the market’s changed hugely in the past few years. Self-publication and epub-only is a much different creature than it was. The growing popularity of e-readers has seen to that, as have the greater ease of publication through Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and other sites. From where Faith and I are sitting, with 25+ novels to our (collective) names, running an e-pub novella up the flagpole actually seems like a pretty good idea. It’s testing new waters, and it’s an opportunity for an oddly-lengthed piece of fiction to be put on the market. I’m tremendously excited about it.
Five years ago I absolutely would not have done this. I still wouldn’t advise a new writer to do it. Not unless you have a truly amazing amount of time to self-promote, and also have the knack of doing so without making yourself obnoxious. Faith and I are in a lucky position here: we already have a reader base in place. We’re not starting out fresh; we’re just trying to catch and perhaps combine the readers we already have. The downside to the ease of publishing through Amazon is, well, it’s easy: an awful lot of people are doing it every day, and unless you have some compelling reason that will bring people to you (like an established name, or a rare, fascinating topic upon which you are an expert), I think there’s far too much chance your signal will get lost in the noise.
Frankly, I don’t know that *our* signal won’t get lost in the noise. I’m certainly looking forward to finding out, though.
So–to bring it back around a little–this has been a big part of the Year In The Life for 2012 for me so far, getting this set up and ready to go. And let me remind you: this may be work, but it’s not writing. It may pay off, but it’s not writing. I’ve *also* been writing–working on short stories & comic scripts–but there’s a great deal of Day In The Life stuff that ends up not being putting words on a page. I suppose that’s some of what I want to highlight over the coming months, if people are interested, but also of course there’ll be the in-the-moment writing projects as well. So what do you think?