I really hate self promotion.
Like, really, really hate it.
See, the thing is, I’m a writer by trade (no really, I write for a newspaper by day and then at night, I write many a fictional tale) and self promotion is the only way that I can get an audience for the things that I’ve written, I write a thing, I get a friend to edit the thing and then I load it up to jottify, turn it into an ebook and unleash it on the internet.
This is where the shameless self promotion that I hate so much comes in. I like being an independant author. I like that I don;t have to work to deadlines and I can publish what I want when I want to publish it. There are no rules because there are no consequences, I’m not looking to earn money from anything and so, if people don’t like what I’ve written, no harm no foul. The reason that I love writing so much can be summed up by this quote from John Green:
Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.
It is absolutely that. Part of the reason why I like being independent is because of some of the horror stories I have heard about traditional publishers, so I’m hoping that some of you can assuage my fears.
Last year, I won a competition in which I was able to have a story of mine published, (you can buy it by clicking on the picture of my face on the side bar there) and the other day I got a lovely remittence notice telling me that I’d actually managed to earn some money from it. Which was nice. I know that earning a living from writing novels is pretty much non existent, you have to have had an JK Rowling sort of success to be able to give up any other jobs that you have and focus just on the writing, but I still can’t help but think that maybe I should go down the traditional publishing route in the future.
Herein lies my problem.
I don’t really care about earning money from things that I have written. I write because I like writing, living in a fantasy world in my head with people I’ve created is way better than being grounded in reality. In fact, I’m not overly concerned about whether other people even read what I’ve written or like it, but I do wonder sometimes if I would reach a wider range of people from traditionally publishing something. The reason I’m thinking about all of this is that I am currently writing my fifth full length novel and am about to release my fourth in ebook format all published by yours truly. Now, because I hate spamming people with this kind of thing, I’ll maybe tweet about it twice, if that, when I unleash it on the world, which means, of course, it isn’t going to come into contact with very many people. So, what this long winded post is about, I guess, is some advice from fellow writers, perhaps who have done the traditional publishing thing or who know more about it than I do.
I am tempted to leave the world of self publishing behind me and try for something a bit more traditional, publishers have people that can create amazing covers and are more likely to get my book into a shop, obviously they will want to make money from it, so I’m assuming that some of the awkward self promotion stuff will be taken off my hands – but the fact that they will want to make money is what is making me nervous.
If I do strike lucky and a publisher wants to take my story and make it into an actual proper book, I’m scared that I’ll have to change things or drop entire projects on their whim. I know that editing is good and I am always open to constructive comments to make my work as good as it can be, but I’m against say, adding in unnecessary things to ‘sex’ a story up a bit for instance. Is this something that is likely to happen? Am i going to have to betray characters that i have created because someone else thinks the story would sell better if they were white or male or whatever. I guess I’m scared that the creativity of it would be taken from me. So someone needs to tell me if this is the truth or if this is just a horror story perpetuated by the internet.
Someone also needs to tell me if Scrivner is worth forking out for, because seriously, it sounds amazing and you have no idea how difficult it is to write a 75,000 word novel using a normal word processor.
Basically, I want to keep doing something that I enjoy and I want to leave an imprint on the world and combining the two would be wonderful. It would also be nice to be able to continue to live by John’s words up there and to relate to this gem from F Scott Fitzgerald:
My whole theory of writing I can sum up in one sentence: an author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.
So, there we have it, two questions and some shameless self promotion.