Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thinking that e-book publishing is in my future

In yesterday's blog, I talked about how I was getting discouraged and frustrated with...well, not writing, but I guess the results of my writing.  I've been very blessed to have some success with my article writing - I don't get tons of page views, but I get fairly consistent numbers, I'm not making a ton of money but it's trickling in and building slowly.  I just hear these success stories and I want so badly for that to be me.  I know it takes time and a lot of patience, perseverance, determination and hard work, but at times it feels like I've been doing all that and then the rest is out of my hands because I can't make people read my articles or like them and I have no control over how much money I make.

I also mentioned yesterday how I found a little glimmer of hope.  On the weekend, I was checking my stats on Suite101 and I saw a forum topic about ebooks.  Out of curiosity, I clicked on it and this guy was saying how he had started writing an article and it hard turned into something more and ended up being a short ebook that he published through Kindle.  He said that for the first few months, there were no sales and he had pretty much forgotten about it then went to check and had sold quite a few and made some money.  There were links to different articles and sites within the forum and I started browsing and the idea began to appeal to me more and more.  Then I came across Amanda Hocking's blog and was astounded.  She's my age, has a bunch of ebooks published, sells them like mad and has made a ton of money.  This isn't the norm, but I now know it's a possibility.

I'm sure that anyone who's ever written or thought of writing a book, and has done some research on publishing has heard tales about how independently published authors are screwed for life if they ever want a contract with a traditional publisher, or that ebooks are poorly written because anyone can do it and it gives the whole industry a bad name, etc etc.  But people like Amanda Hocking and many others are helping to change those perceptions and giving people like me hope.

I've written three novels so far.  One was just for me, something I have no intention of pursuing (at this point anyway).  The second was one that I wrote when I was 19 that I'm really quite proud of and would like to get out there.  At the time, I knew it needed work, I knew it needed fleshing out but I couldn't figure out what else to add to make it longer.  Last year I went back and read it for the first time in years and saw all kinds of changes I could make and things I could add.  It's amazing how much your perspective changes in just a few years.  The third one I wrote was a collaboration with my ex and we spent months querying agents and getting rejections.  We talked about going the route of e-publishing but at the time, the negatives seemed to outweigh the positives.  I currently have three ideas for novels, one that's started but that I don't feel I can continue until I've had more traveling experience.  The second I have almost completely outlined and the third is an idea that I've had for a few years and decided a couple of nights ago that I wanted to pursue so I've been working on a tentative outline which I'm about to send to a writer friend of mine to get his feedback and thoughts.

Now I want to set some goals.  I know the basics but haven't actually decided on dates or set time limits.  The only thing I know for sure is that I'm going to get working on it right away and have at least one novel or novella e-published by the end of the year.  Since that's still a long way off, once I actually get writing and get a feel for how it goes, I'll set goals with actual dates to work toward.

The idea of it makes me nervous - that fear of failure that held me back from trying to get published for a long time.  But at this point I guess I figure what have I got to lose?  I could spend months or even years querying agents and publishers, or I could publish it myself and possibly - hopefully - be making sales, making money and reaching the audience that I've always dreamed of.  Even if no one buys the books or reads them, at least I've tried - I've made the effort instead of just sitting around and whining about how hard it is to make it in this business.  I don't like the possibility of failure - no one does - but it's better than just waiting, wondering and hoping isn't it?

I'd love to walk into a book store someday and see my books sitting on a shelf.  Or walk into the library and see someone sitting reading my book.  But what if that never happens?  Or what if to make that happen, I need to get my writing out there now and the only way to do that is self publishing?  I think it's worth a shot.  I don't want to be rich and famous, I just want to make a living doing what I love best. 

The day I read that forum thread and ended up finding Amanda Hocking's blog and spending hours reading her posts and getting really excited about it, my Facebook fortune cookie said something like 'pray for the things you want, but work for the things you need'.  I both want and need to be a writer, so I'll do both, but since hard work is what's really going to make it happen, I'm going to continue to work hard, not give up, and yes, send out a few prayers in the process.

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