Monday, October 22, 2018
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING
Pretend you want to be a writer.
You have a great idea for a story and you've begun to bang it out on your computer.
But you have some questions.
How do I publish my story once it's complete? Where do I publish it? Should I just do an eBook or should I do a physical copy as well? How do I format it? Where can I get a cover? Do I need an editor? How much will all this cost me? Can I make some money off of this? How much could I make? Could I make a career out of writing? How do I make a career out of writing? Do I need a blog? What about just a basic website? What do I need on my website? Can I use Facebook, Twitter, etc to sell my book? Can I quit my job? What font should I use? Should I hire someone to put it all together for me? If I have a blog what should I write about? Won't that take away from writing my book? Do I need to be out there in front of everyone all the time so they don't forget who I am? Would it be more worth my time to shop to a publisher? How do I shop to a publisher? What's a query letter? I never went to college, should I taking some writing classes?
And I've barely touched the tip of the iceberg.
What you'll find when you start asking questions is that there are a crap ton of people out there who have the answers.
Some folks will answer all of these questions for free. Some folks will want you to pay for their wisdom.
The problem is that there is so much out there, from so many people, that it's more than difficult to discover who you can trust and who is just trying to make a buck. And the folks who offer their advice for free, how do you know if they even know what they're talking about.
It can be enough to make a person just want walk away from the whole thing without even trying.
Myself, I'd turned on the flood gates and let all the free advice that was out there drown me. In time I've come to just ignore it all.
Of course what that means is that I have no idea what I'm doing.
Take this blog for example. First off, it's on Blogger. I see nothing wrong with that myself, but i know that there are a lot of people out there that would just love to line up and tell me what a moron I am for using the free service. They want to tell me that I can't trust that all my content will still be out there in a year if Blogger (or any site like it) decides to just up and pull the plug on things.
Of course, I don't worry about all that. I have backups of everything.
But the fact is, I don't use Blogger for the ease of use (and after a number of years using it, I do find it easy and comfortable). No, I use Blogger because it is free, and free is all I can afford.
It's tough being a writer trying to get things done when you have no money. I once saw a post on one of the various social media sites in which a fellow self published writer degraded the book covers of other writers, stating that they obviously did their cover on the cheap and if so, why bother.
Well, I made the mistake of responding. I asked what is someone supposed to do if they want to write and self publish but just simply can't afford to hire someone to create a professional looking cover for them?
I was told at that point that anyone not willing to put some money toward their book is disrespecting their readers. I tried to explain that not everyone has money, even a little. Again I was told that you have to spend money to make money. If you can't buy a professional cover, if you can't hire a professional editor, then you shouldn't even be a writer.
And while there were a small handful of writers who offered suggestions for how a writer with no money could get these services through trade or other means, the resounding majority message was: No Money? Don't Bother. You Suck. Die.
Well, that certainly depressed me for a few days. I had a really hard time with it. And one question kept coming to me:
So, only people with money are allowed to pursue their dreams?
The answer I found was, in most cases, yes.
And yet, with that answer wedged firmly between the cockles of my heart, I decided that I didn't care. I was going to continue writing. When I finished a book I would put together the best looking cover I could. I was going to edit it myself, as best I could. I would put it out there and market it as best I could.
Maybe, just maybe, people would stumble across it and buy it. Maybe, just maybe, I could then take that money and put it into my writing.
Or maybe no one would buy it.
I had to face that possibility as well. And frankly, I decided that I didn't care.
Okay, that's not true. Of course I would care. It hurts when you spend time creating something from scratch, something that literally came straight out of your brain, something you put your heart into, something you love almost as much as your own family, and you put that creation out there into the world only to get nothing in return but silence.
So yes, I care. But I decided that I was just going to have to suck it up and put it out there anyway.
And so yeah, here's the thing, I have no idea what I'm doing. Am I using my blog the correct way? Is serializing The Adventures of Norman Oklahoma mistake? Should I never say anything to anyone about what I'm writing until I have an actual book out there to sell?
I. DON'T. KNOW.
Because I just don't have the time, or the energy, to spend pouring through the blogs and the podcasts and the tweets that tell me how to do this and what I'm doing wrong. Not anymore.
9 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Author Blog. 10 Ways To Build Up Your Mailing List. 6 Pronouns You Should Never Use.
I just can't.
All that stuff does is slow me down and make me doubt myself. And it is everywhere.
But here's the thing. I think it's great that that stuff is out there. I do think that there are some truly great people out there who have figured out how to make it and have decided to share their experiences with others. I thank them for that. Much respect.
But I think I'm just going to do my thing. I'm going to continue to shout into the hurricane of indie publishing, of indie marketing, of all the people out there with something to sell, and hope that someone hears me.
A few of you have. Thank you. You help make it all worth it.
But yeah. Again.
I have no idea what I'm doing.