February 21st 2015

Today I spent the morning reading articles on self-publishing. Just to see. A publisher ‘liked’ my post yesterday, so I went onto his/her page and had a read. There were various links to articles about publishing. What caught my eye was an article about self-publishing through Amazon, and the pros/cons of doing so.

By reading the article I learnt about self-publishing processes that I had previously not known about. Kindle Direct Publishing, as far as I can tell, is literally click-to-upload publishing onto the Kindle. I can’t see it being that simple, though. I noted down KDP, as well as the name of Amazon’s other self-pub service, CreateSpace, though I am yet to find out exactly what CS does. It’s noted down though, as well as the name “Lulu” whatever that means.

Within the article there were accounts of real authors that had used the services I’ve just described, and had both good and bad experiences with them. One writer would say that the service was excellent as a way to get attention and readership, as she uploaded a novel to Kindle with KDP, and within a month she’d had 10,000 free downloads. Which told her she could start charging $2.99 or something for a purchase.

Whereas another writer said she’d also uploaded a book to Kindle, paid $500 for a YouTube promo/ad, paid $400 for an independent book reviewer to write a review of her book, and in total she sold 60 copies, making her about $170. And that’s not profit.

Some writers talked about their experiences with Amazon. Although some praised the company, it seemed as if there were a lot of anti-Amazonians also. The main complaints followed the general theme that Amazon does not give a shit about the little guys. If you upload a book to Kindle, they get 30% of the profit, if it makes any. If it doesn’t, they’ve not lost anything because they’ve invested no time or money to your project. So why should they care about you?

But then there were accounts of Amazon noticing that a self-pub novel was doing well in the market, so they offered a proper publishing deal, with editing, and branding, and marketing. But I guess that is only if you’re doing well.

What worried me about reading this article was that the writers whose stories they were quoting always came with a job title.

“Mary, 47, an accountant from Ohio, uploaded…”

That doesn’t fill me with confidence of making a career from writing. The fact that a 47 year old has been trying to publish a book for 20 years with no luck, so she’s got a full time job to subsidise her writing. I know I’m young, only 21, but I do want to make a career from writing, and reading the accounts of these people struggling to get published made me, well, panic for the future.

I want to do this for a job, and I want to make a lot of money. Doesn’t everyone want to make a lot of money doing what they love? I’m not saying writing is a get-rich-quick scheme for me, because I know for a fact it won’t be. But I don’t want to be making $170 off a book I’ve put a years work into and invested 6x that amount. That’s not a job, that’s not a career, that’s not my future.

On an unrelated, related note. This evening I watched all three Back To The Future films for the first time. I figured that was relevant because it seems my day has been all about thinking towards the future, and in some cases the past and present too.

Until tomorrow, or yesterday, or today,



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