Monday, August 12, 2013

I Talk Briefly About My Reading Diet, And Another Good Reason Why I'm Not Ready to Self-Publish

First up, I have a brief guest entry over at Draven Ames'  as part of his "Ah-HA! Moments" for writers, about when I decided I wasn't as well-read in genre fiction as I should be. Go check it out, share with your friends, and as always when it comes to advice: your mileage may vary. 

In other news, I solidified another good reason why I'm ultimately not ready to jump into self-publishing. I've cited lots of reasons so far - lack of a loyal readership, not being a seasoned-enough writer/self-editor - but probably the biggest factor that trumps all of them?

Money.

Start-up capital, pure and simple.

Last week I posted some covers for an experiment I'm considering for Things Slip Through, which involves releasing a few short stories from the collection on Amazon, trying to draw some folks to my work and the collection. 

I'm still refining my plans, but in the process I've started putting together files on Amazon's KDP (Kindle Direct Program) and I've started toying with some very simple covers...covers that were free to make.

I then posted them to Facebook and asked for honest opinions.

And I got them.

None of them were bad, really. Most folks thought a few covers were just too plain and didn't reflect my voice strong enough.  I still plan on going forth with the experiment, after tweaking a few covers. But one thing that was really stressed: hiring cover designers. 

And to be honest, I just can't afford that, right now. Also, after toying with prepping the short stories for Kindle format, I've  decided that for a novel-length project, I'd be much better off hiring someone for that, too.

And I can't afford that right now, either. 

Now, I'm not whining about how poor I am. We make do and pay our bills and live comfortably. But we're definitely not in the place to spend money on publishing projects with no guarantee of recouping the expenses, and that's ANOTHER factor: there's no guarantee. I know several authors who have done very well self-publishing. I know others who haven't done well at all, and I'm not sure what separates them. They all seem to have great covers,  great editing and good "pedigree" as authors.

But some are doing great, others aren't. And I can say - without getting too personal - we just don't have the disposable cash for such a risk.  

Author Nicole Cushing mentioned on a FB thread awhile ago that it's probably wise to approach self-publishing as a small business. And to launch a small business successfully, you need a certain amount of start-up capital or disposable income.

Which I just don't have.

So ironically, I just can't afford to self-publish right now. That sort of thing will require careful budgeting, and right now, it just doesn't fit in.

However, that's fine, because it coincides with the reality that I don't have a big enough loyal readership to warrant self-publishing a title right now.  I figure I'll be ready to self-publish when it feels like I've got a decent readership (however one determines that), but most importantly, when we can fit it into the budget without risking the mortgage, or swapping it for groceries. 

Until then, of course, I'll just experiment here and there in ways that won't incur too much risk (which, of course, I realize will diminish the returns, but these experiments will be mostly learning experiences), and, of course, keep plugging along at the keyboard....