I am coming to you as a failure.
Now, before you berate me, or beat me over the head with “all the way I am great,” let me explain. When I started this publishing journey 4 years ago, I had literal stars in my eyes. I knew very little about writing and even less about publishing. All I knew were the books on the shelves at my local book store. I wanted that. I wanted my name nestled between bestselling authors I admire.
With little to no experience in writing (I was still flailing around, learning, FINALLY joining a critique group), I dove in, head first.
And I settled.
I sent one book off to a small publishing house. I can’t say exactly that I have regrets, because this was a learning experience. I’m still learning from it. From there, I self-published, impatience getting the best of me. Having control over every aspect of my writing was enticing. It was fun. I loved designing covers and learning how to format. Still, with every publication, I saw those dreams of having my books on the local shelves dwindle. Disappear.
I told myself it was because I suck at marketing (it’s true). So I shelled out cash for Amazon ads, Facebook ads, book tours, Netgalley, paid promotions, giveaways, and contests. I spent countless hours scouring the internet for marketing strategies and attempting to create graphics that would sell my books (I’m not so great at this, either). I watched my time spent writing (and my MONEY) dwindle. Disappear.
The fact is, young adult is an extremely hard market to sell when you’re indie. Sure, people do it, but it’s like winning the lottery. You have to be in the right place at the right time and be wearing your superhero underwear. Then, MAYBE, the chances are about as equal as getting struck by lightning.
If it seems like I’m frustrated, it’s because I am. Have the past 4 years been for nothing? Of course not! I’ve met people, my writing has grown by leaps and bounds, I’ve had a lot of fun with readers and traveled to some cool places to sell my books.
Financially, trying to sell my books is killing me. With my family expanding, I can’t continue spending ungodly amounts of money earned at my day job to market my passion. It just can’t happen. Not to mention, my creative time has massively suffered from spending so much time trying to sell my books to everyone and anyone who would listen to me. It’s like neurosis, and I need to be free from it. And why would anyone spend $2.99 on an ebook when there are MILLIONS (LITERALLY MILLIONS) of other writers just like me stuffing FREE EBOOKS down everyone’s throats. Everyone wants something for nothing, and I just can’t work like that anymore. It’s too stressful. Too demeaning. And I need to be paid for my time.
See, here’s the thing. I am an artist. I create worlds for others to enjoy. I’m like the cook at the restaurant who builds you the perfect meal. I am like the mechanic at the auto shop who listens to your car clunk and knows exactly what magic will fix it. I have studied. I have learned. And I deserve to be paid for my services.
This isn’t entirely about money. It’s also about time (which, as the saying goes, time is money). I haven’t lost sight of my dreams. I still want that little (or BIG) space on my local book store shelf, and to achieve this, I can’t keep splitting myself in two. I must either be indie, or I must be traditional. Trying to be both makes each side suffer too much. Either I don’t have enough time to write or I don’t have enough time to market.
And this time I’m choosing me.
As of now (because I always open a window when I close a door), I’m shutting that indie door. This may not be forever. It may just be a hiatus that allows me to focus on my writing. It may be permanent. I just don’t know at this point.
What I do know: I’ll have more time to write, and more importantly, this singular focus will be a major relief.
What I need from you, dear readers: Support. I’m not going into hiding. My books will still be on sale. If you read them and loved them, tell a friend. Loan a paperback. Leave a review. Leave reviews for every book you read. Support authors. Stop expecting things for free. (Yes, I know it’s hard to hear, especially when so many of us authors are so desperate to get our work out there. But you wouldn’t expect your gourmet meal for free, would you? Or that magic mechanic? Of course not.) However, (as ironic as this is), I do have one more scheduled promotion for Reflection Pond coming up August 22-24 where the ebook will be free for kindle. Tell all your friends.
Lastly, I need your patience. The traditional publishing world moves at the speed of a snail crossing the desert in the midday sun. I don’t know when I’ll have news again. It may be next week. It may be in 2 years.
I hope you’ll stand beside me as I enter this new phase of my publishing career, and that you’ll still be here when I find that space on the book store shelf.
All the best,