The letter from the indie writer encapsulated a lot of things that are happening in the field right now, and I thought I’d analyze those. I also figured it was timely, considering this indie writer wasn’t the only writer in the past month who had sent me email about recommendations on their prose from other “more successful” writers.
I don’t know what it is about the beginning of the year that brings out these insecurities. Maybe it’s the fact that many of us use the end of the year for reflection and then try to plan the upcoming year.
What struck me about this indie writer, and the reason I’m using her as an example, is that this incident is ramped up from the usual incidents.
As I write this in early January, fourth quarter numbers for all big businesses are just starting to trickle in. The whining about 2016 has commenced, some of it justified, some of it not.
The numbers aren’t just in for the major publishers; the numbers are in for indie writers as well. And the writers who crunch numbers are having varied reactions, often depending on years of business expertise.
I have a hunch that when all of the numbers arrive toward the end of this month or so, we’ll find out that 2016 was truly a mixed bag….
In talking to hybrid writers, I did miss something. It only concerned a handful of writers, and most of them only wrote one series. These writers would email me after they had indie-released a new book or two in their existing series, and complain that the series wasn’t growing.
When these writers were traditionally published, the series grew well. Each book sold better than the last. Now, even taking into account the year or so of sales, the books sold at the same number of copies or less than the previous volumes had.
I couldn’t figure it out…
Here’s the heartbreaking part of this new world. Many long-time writers, who want to go full indie, are abandoning their series rather than put money into their traditional publishers’ pocket. The first time I heard a writer say he was going to do that, I was shocked.
I realized that all these great things had happened in my career, and some other great things had happened in my life at the very same time, and I hadn’t taken the time to appreciate them. Yes, other outside things brought me down emotionally. While those things (as well as those emotions) are valid, they shouldn’t stop me from living day to day.
I decided I needed an attitude adjustment.
So, I decided to look back at some of the good things in my writing career, in the writing business, and in the craft, as preparation for the day of feasting that I’ll be enjoying while those of you outside of the States will go through your usual Thursday routines.
In no particular order, here’s what comes to mind:
No longer can any writer say that she is “just” a writer. Now, if we want our books to be read by someone other than our families, we need to publish those books one way or another, and then market those books.
There is no more “just” any more.
I think it becomes imperative for all of us to figure out exactly what we do.
While I was digging deep into the ugliness that traditional publishing contracts have devolved into, the indie publishing world has grown and changed and become even more positive. More than a light at the end of the tunnel, the indie world has become a haven to those of us willing to work hard and to understand that real achievement takes time. It amazes me how […]
For the past several months, I’ve focused on contracts, contract negotiations, rights, and dealbreakers. I know I lost some of my indie (self-published) readers, who are waiting until I finish this series before they return to reading my blog. Those readers believe they will never sign the kind of contract I’m dealing with. They also believe that they’re protected because they’re in business for themselves. […]
I have to berate writers to get an attorney. Writers are terrified of attorneys. Writers think attorneys are expensive and impossible to work with. Writers think hiring an attorney will harm them.
Writers are wrong.
We’re almost to the end of the contracts/dealbreakers series. I can’t tell you how pleased I am about this, because I feel dirty just looking at some of these contracts and agreements.
Most of you indie writers tuned this series out long ago, because you believed it didn’t apply to you. And yet, I read all the time about indie writers who sign with an agent to sell the print versions of an ebook and to sell foreign rights and auxiliary rights.
Bad move. Really, really, really bad move.