The long and winding road
Being an indie isn’t an overnight thing. In fact, many indies find, years after starting, that instead of the hurricane of money, rolling in at force five, they’re still being blown around forums like tumbleweed, joining the other tumblers in chasing attention.
So, I thought I might share a couple of things I’ve learned, seen and worked on in the last few days. I took a holiday at the beginning of the week and had a good long hard think about this, and the other post I’m going to make ‘it’s not the journey, it’s the map you use’, which will be up in the next day or so.
One of the things that got me thinking last week was a writer asking if they should just ‘assume the position’ when publishing to KDP, and how there was ‘little reward’. I’m still having a ‘say what’ moment over that, to be fair. I just can’t wrap my head around it.
But the conversation isn’t an unusual one.
All over all of the indie groups I’m seeing things like ‘I can’t afford to edit’. ‘My book doesn’t need edited’, ‘I can put up a draft, charge a tiny bit, get feedback, and raise money for editing,’
I’m sorry to disabuse you poor saps, but if you’re not editing your book before putting it out, you are nailing your career into a coffin, chucking it down a well and you’re done. Seriously. Don’t bother writing another book, because your name will be mud.
The release cycle of a book if you have no money
So the war cry I’m seeing on the groups now is that we’re in a global recession, we’re all in this together, and we’ve all got to pull to help all of these new writers reach their goals – because of course THEN, its human nature to pay for the help they’ve had.
Except it isn’t. There are a very rare few that do manage the ‘pay it backwards to pay it forwards’ concept, but most? Most are scrabbling to fix the stuff they’ve done before, and in their later career it holds them back. And it’s a noble thing, to help where you can, but an editor can’t eat ‘nobility’. And no, it’s not kosher to ask an editor to take a percentage of your royalties – not unless you’ve got a proven track record.
The release cycle of a book, money or not should run something along the lines of ‘draft, leave it alone for a month, redraft, beta, edit, edit, proof,’. While you’re at beta – proof, get your cover, find a formatter, and work out your ACTUAL budget.
As for ‘little reward’ – writing is a business. And as with all businesses, it’s really important to understand that it’s a long road to publication, and one of the major signposts you’ll hit is completely handled by your editor. And if you choose to ignore that signpost, then you’ll find it difficult to get back on any path – that includes the highway that is ‘the long term career as a writer’.