I love writing. I am happiest writing. That’s the reason I’m writing this post instead of working on the orchestra mailing list to market Perceval’s Secret. Yes, I will get to the marketing tasks today, as well as my new freelance editing business (more on that in another post), but first I need to write.
My life has truly changed in the last ten months. My choice, so I cannot complain. But I want to share the changes and their place now in my life. The life of a writer could be solitary, isolated, and focused only on writing. This is the way my writing had been for years, despite many efforts to obtain representation and publication for my fiction. I now view this time as an apprenticeship, a time of learning and growth, and one that formed the foundation on which I can now build my “writing career.”
Yes, career. That’s been one of the changes. I’ve thought of my writing work as a job for years. I am disciplined and dedicated to it. But career? No, I’ve thought of it as a life or lifestyle. It is absolutely required to make a commitment to the endeavor, to dedicate myself to the writing and making it the best I can so that I can tell stories the best I can. Artists don’t have careers like a corporate manager. Artists’ careers are intertwined with their lives in ways that any corporate manager would have a hard time comprehending.
Ten months ago, frustrated by not being able to find a job in the general workplace to pay my bills, I decided to pull out Perceval’s Secret and publish it myself. But I didn’t dive into it. I proceeded slowly and with careful thought. I wanted to publish an excellent novel as excellently and with as much class as I could. I met with a writer I know whose career has spanned about 30 years. He was generous in giving me his time, insights into publishing, and recommendations. He also encouraged me to move forward with self-publishing my novel simply because traditional publishing is increasingly difficult for new writers. Self-publishing increases the monetary return to the writer (no commissions to pay) but also increases the risk and the initial money paid up front. Based on this meeting and research I did into self-publishing, I established a business plan.
I experienced failures (Kickstarter fundraising campaign) and successes in the last ten months. I expected to work hard and I have. I’ve been fortunate to work with honorable people who knew what they were doing and were dedicated to doing the best jobs they could for their customers. I’m quite pleased with the result. Perceval’s Secret is now published and on sale for readers to buy and enjoy.
My job as a writer doesn’t end there, however. Nowadays, it’s really not possible to send a book out into the world and let it sink or swim. Nowadays, authors are expected to market, promote, and sell their books. Traditional publishers rarely have significant marketing budgets for books they publish with the exception of blockbuster authors (who may not need a concerted marketing effort). Since I self-published Perceval’s Secret, I’m the one who must come up with a marketing plan and the money to implement it.
So here’s my Catch-22. I chose to self-publish in order to put the novel out into the world, sell it, and bring in some much needed income because I need the money. But a marketing campaign costs money. I needed to make another big decision or two.
I am proceeding with my marketing campaign. For the moment, the bills will go on my credit card. However, I’m now thinking of launching another fundraising campaign at either Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I’m back in the advertising and marketing world I left 30 years ago — that’s a huge change. I’m going into debt for something I totally believe in: my novel and its worth. I’ve not done that before in my life. I don’t like debt at all. I’m working more on marketing and business tasks than I am writing — another big change and I hope not a permanent one. Not writing daily makes me crazy and cranky. But at this point, the way out of this is the way through it.
Now I’ll go work on those mailing lists…..