There’s one big problem with self-publishing, especially if you don’t require it to pay the mortgage. And that is that there’s nobody giving you any deadlines except yourself.
I decided two, maybe even three years ago to stop being exclusive to Kindle with my ebooks. That meant giving up Kindle Unlimited payouts, which were running maybe thirty or forty percent of my writing income at the time (partly by virtue of running ads on BookBub that were driving that income but also steadily losing me money). Part of this is because I find KU readers have never been as enthusiastic about my quirky-bordering-on-literary stuff as people who read traditional novels tend to be, so the stand-alone read-through was blah.
Yes, you read that right. I made this decision two or three years ago.
Yes, I was writing another book (PRIDE AND PRECARITY, now due out in January), but that hardly took all that time.
And when did I actually start to put my books wide? Well, Kobo got some of them a few months back. But not all of them yet.
Draft2Digital got THE AWFUL MESS finally earlier this month, which means that book is now available at Apple and many other retailers. But I still have to add the rest of that series, plus the rest of the backlist.
Part of the delay was that I wanted to go straight to Apple, but navigating my iTunes accounts and my various Apple IDs (one for an iPhone I haven’t owned for over a decade, connected to an email address I don’t have access to anymore) proved to be beyond me.
I find things like that so discouraging that I will often turn away from them for weeks, or months, or forever. I’ll just go read, or something. (Yes, I’m already at over 100 books this year on Goodreads. Including some really good ones recently.)
Then there’s the paperback, which I took out of expanded distribution years ago because I was making about 25 cents a book, mostly off other vendor’s sales of it, since they could beat my price. I knew I needed to go to Ingram Spark for wide distribution at a better profit level, but that introduced a whole new level of technical agony about ISBNs, covers, etc.
I finally started it with THE AWFUL MESS last month, because Shepherd.com had asked me to write something for them that would feature it. However, it appeared I’d need a new cover first. Ingram has different spine widths and I can’t currently afford to go back to the original wonderful designer (plus his lovely cover gets dinged all the time for being too sexy).
So I polled my newsletter subscribers about two possibilities for that new cover.
And they were evenly split.
Which called for way more procrastination while I agonized about it.
(Also, I suddenly realized how few of my newsletter subscribers are still getting my newsletter, which was a whole other traumatic episode and required a whole lot more stuff to do that I’ve been procrastinating for years.)
But a choice had to be made, and then once I made it (based solely on what would make the best back cover background), I had to actually make the cover. That took another while. Because I don’t use Photoshop often enough to remember how to do things fast. But by God, I finally got it done.
Then I finally went to upload the cover yesterday, and all my earlier work to set up the book had disappeared and Ingram told me the book I’d started to upload COULDN’T BE UPLOADED, only transferred from KDP, because that ISBN had already been used.
This meant I didn’t even need that new cover I’d just slaved over. Unless I put it up on KDP … where it would require a different spine width using a different template.
So anyway. The transfer has been requested for that one and the two other Lawson novels and now we’ll see what happens. Yay for me not procrastinating that for yet another month, I guess. But it could take another month to go through, assuming Amazon doesn’t refuse to do it or something.
Speaking of Amazon, they’ve been terrifying a number of indie authors lately by refusing to believe their books are actually their books just because some random hacker has made a copyright claim, perhaps to extort money or steal books or, who knows, screw with a competitor. The Zon won’t necessarily accept an author’s actual copyright registration or long history of publishing with them as proof, either. It’s a Kafkaesque horror show.
Meanwhile, the only reason I’ve made as much progress as I have recently, I suspect, is that I said yes to teaching a 12-week composition course this fall and can’t afford to mess around any longer. I’ve got to pour all my spare energy into prepping a class I haven’t taught for three years into a very different weekly format that could go online at some point if polio really takes off or something. (Meanwhile, I still don’t have access to the college electronically.)
Wish me luck with all of it, please. Or maybe just roll your eyes and remember that there’s a reason traditional publishing still has a lot of fans among writers.
(Possibly quite slowly.)