Some people get mad when you ask simple questions. As people ought to know, I’ve been working on a couple of books off and on, mostly off because I haven’t had time, but now I’ve gotten back to it and I think I’m making some good progress. However, as people also ought to know, I am entirely turned off by self-promotion and marketing and I’m loathe to actually do any of it myself once my books are finished and ready for sale, either to a traditional publisher or to put them up on Amazon as an e-book.
So I asked a bunch of writers and other industry types what I should do and the answers ranged widely, but some of them were really kind of interesting.
My question was phrased very nicely, I simply laid out the facts in a couple of forums frequented by writers and publishers, both on Google+ and other industry boards, and said that I had a book that I’d be ready to publish soon, but that I really wasn’t interested in all of the hoops that traditional publishers wanted you to leap through. I’m a writer, I’m not a marketer. I’m not interested in fame, in fact, if I published, I’d almost certainly do it under a pseudonym so that nobody would ever “recognize me on the street”. I don’t want to be a household name, if and when I interact with my fans, it will be on my terms, not theirs. I write. I do not promote and, in fact, I find self-promotion to be utterly obnoxious most of the time. I neither have the time nor the interest in sitting around autographs for people or trying to hawk my book at a convention, etc.
I got some helpful responses, saying to either publish it for free on a blog or put it up on Amazon for free or cheap and just don’t do any publicity, it sells or it doesn’t and since I’m not trying to make a living at it, it really doesn’t matter one way or the other. Those were the normal responses that I expected to get, saying pretty much what I expected them to say.
Then there were the angry responses. These were writers desperately trying to make a living posting stories to Amazon and getting very little back from it. Apparently, they’re willing to point fingers at everyone but themselves for why they’re not making a huge salary posting fanfic. Sure, that’s probably a bit cruel, but they seem to think that anyone who puts books up on Amazon for free or cheap is somehow doing it to hurt them. It seems that the free books on Amazon get more downloads, and that’s to be expected because there’s no barrier to entry, and therefore, people have no time or money or interest in downloading their $4.99 books and that’s money straight out of their pockets. How dare anyone ever write without wanting to make a bunch of money out of it? It can’t be allowed!
Now I understand their frustration. They want to be well-known authors and they’re not. They want to make a living off their writing and they don’t. It’s understandable that they become embittered when someone who doesn’t have the same aspirations comes by and potentially threatens their gravy train. However, to attack someone and pretend that they’re doing it specifically just to get back at them, that it’s some kind of personal vendetta against people who, before they responded, I didn’t even know existed, is ridiculous.
Writers are kind of an odd lot. They’re fighting for an ever shrinking audience and they take the battle personally. It’s not honest competition, it’s war and some of them insist that they have to win, no matter what it takes, or there’s a conspiracy out to get them.
I really don’t care. If I ever put something up on Amazon and it sells, great. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too. It doesn’t matter to me at all because I’m not doing it for fame and fortune, I’m doing it because I’m creative and I might as well share my work with others. If it never sells a single copy, what have I lost? Not a thing. If it does become big, people are going to hate me anyhow because I won’t do all the personal appearances and interviews that most authors are excited for.
I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I don’t do anything else, sorry.