It has been six months since I stepped out on a ledge and completely changed my life from professional security of the private industry (those who work in the private sector might not feel so secure) to the world of fixed income, free-spirited vagabond (correction: I do have a home). This week, I experienced the first victory of my new existence; I published a novel. Well, a novella, actually to be fully honest a novelette. Whatever! it’s the quality that counts as opposed to the quantity of pages. I must restate: it is not necessarily the quality that counts more so the act of doing.
I always wanted to publish a book and I needed this 56-page win to prove that I can and the victory serves as motivation for future writing endeavors. Over the last six months, I learned a few simple notions about writing.
- To be a writer one needs to write. There is no way to get around this concept and as simple as it sounds it is also the most difficult aspect of the initiative.
- Writing is a process, not a goal. If one sticks to the process, the goal will be accomplished.
- One needs to live because unless someone has the most vivid imagination, the actual inspiration for engaging stories comes from real life which means getting out there to see, meet and experience.
- A manuscript that one composes needs to be double spaced in Times New Roman 12 font and do not use exclamation points unless you are really screaming!
- Writing is mostly about re-writing. If it takes a certain time to write something, it will take seven or more times to re-write it so it becomes readable.
The mechanics of self-publishing are pretty simple. Initially, it can be intimidating but Amazon offers so many tools to format text and to design a cover that publishing truly becomes a simple mechanical task. Setting up an author’s page is simple; deciding on the pricing is not a big deal. In general, the process of getting out there is a snap. What is difficult is promoting one’s work and getting people interested not just in purchasing the book but also providing reviews which are absolutely invaluable.
What I discovered about the marketing and promotion process: the first person to purchase your work will be your significant other or your best friend so if you don’t have any of those, get some. The next group will be those who in some way participated in the process: reviewers, editors, collaborators, artistic advisors. You may also have colleagues who either like and respect you and what you are trying to accomplish or have plenty of money (one amazon purchase is not a big deal). I wish, I would have more of these types of patrons! Your direct circle of friends can be a mixed bag. There will be those who jump fast with an honest vote of confidence and support. There are those who will support a writer in spirit (I drink spirits but I’ve never seen an apparition). What about the family? You can be blessed with a father who receives an email from you about your book debut and respond “OK, but I already have two books to read.” You may have a sibling who will respond with “56 pages?” That is a fact but I still do not understand what the comment means. Too long? Too short? Not worth $1.99?
Amazon offers two payment structures: 35% royalty and no delivery costs and 70% royalty for books over $2.99 (delivery costs to be considered). At these payment rates, writing books for KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is truly a hobby for people who are not required to earn a living wage. Nevertheless, there is so much joy associated with releasing and publishing a piece of work. This feeling of joy, a high of an accomplishment is similar to what I experienced early in my professional career in the high-tech industry. With time that feeling disappeared not because there was no opportunity for a little success and achievement; it disappeared because of an inability of the industry to understand the basic drivers of humanity. Wealth is wonderful and I am glad that I have enough to pursue these unlucrative projects that contribute value to my daily life. Thank you, high-tech industry for failing to motivate me to continue working in a crowded, gray cubicle farm (aka my home office). I am so pleased to experience joys of an aspiring writer’s life!
Writer’s income accounting as of the time this blog was published:
16 books sold at 70 cents royalty per book = $11.20
Today, I can buy a fast food lunch and ponder if I should go back into high-tech.
Please support me in my endeavor by purchasing and commenting on my book!