Author's Note: A hearty kudos and a free mock-cyber-puppy* (author's second note: please see disclaimer at the bottom) to the first person who figures out my blogging pattern.
Word of the week: fathom - \ˈfa-thəm\ (hear it!) - noun: a unit of length equal to six feet (1.83 meters) used especially for measuring the depth of water; verb: to penetrate and come to understand - Merriam-Webster Dictionary
365 Days and Counting
And so it begins.
Three-hundred sixty-five days until I publish my full-length dark fantasy novel, even fewer before I dive headlong into the indie publishing world with my short story collections. Yes. Face-first. Like plunging into ice-cold water.
Truth be told, ten years ago, I would have never envisioned myself sitting and planning (and learning!) all that went with publishing my own work. No, no, no . . . that was for agents, and editors, and publishers to handle; I didn't have to worry about this or that or the other thing or . . . you know, those . . . whatchamacallits, doohickeys, and whoozywhatsits involved in the business side of publishing. I was a writer, dammit! I wrote. Period. (Or full stop.)
Yet here I sit, nearly a decade later, and here I plan. And prepare. And drink coffee. Determined. Sometimes frustrated, occasionally perplexed, and often jittery from too much caffeine. But am I scared? No, not yet. And likely not ever. Too much to do with regard to preparing my short story collections and novels for a potential readership. Besides, what's left to be scared of when one approaches middle age? Barring natural disasters, of course, or personal harm, politics, a bunch of angry circus clowns driving heavy machinery through the woods . . . not much. Or perhaps that's just the way I think.
So, why did I choose to indie publish, when traditional publishing is the “holy grail” for writers?
Oh, various reasons. Sure, I tried to break into publishing through the traditional route (you know, the query letters, the synopses, the sample chapters polished to near-perfection) yet got no closer to that much-coveted end goal of a published book. Before I knew it, a cruel and puzzling mini-cycle of research, revision, and rejection had developed. Cruel, because it made me over-think, and over-edit. Puzzling, because I couldn't fathom how beta readers always wanted more, while those in the publishing industry always told me: “No.”
It made my brain hurt. And old brains are fragile. So I . . . um . . . er . . . *ahem* Yes. Where was I again?
Oh, right. Reasons.
There were many: the constantly slamming doors, the subjective selection, the as-of-yet unestablished author reputation, the hale and hearty “try, try again!” mindset smothered to near-death by a bewildering overabundance of advice on snagging the attentions of the right people in the right business at the right time with the right words and the right hook, the right amount of this sprinkled with the right amount of that, slathered and mixed and ground up and marinated and sautéed with the right dash of—
Damn. I told you old brains were fragile.
So I swept up my brains, and turned a keen eye to indie publishing when I discovered the bottom line of those in the industry was different from my own. And I believed in my projects.
Yes, of course I'd been told to try harder, wait longer, aim higher; that my author reputation will be tarnished, and no one will want to pick up my projects because they would have been published already. (But if you self-publish a book, it's not considered . . . published? Really haven't figured that one out yet.)
But you know what? I have worked long and hard enough to try to leap through the near-impossibly high hoops of subjective gatekeepers, and I no longer wish to smack my skull against this brick wall. With six novels, one novella, and a collection of shorts all waiting to be read? I ain't getting any younger. I no longer believe in the contract fairy, not when a hopeful sliver of light shines from that cracked-open back door. . . .
So here I sit, and I plan. And prepare. And drink coffee. Bold and determined enough to meet publishing challenges head-on with gritted teeth and a pieced-together brain.
Alas, my hell-spawn demons may never overrun the world. Yet they may one day be enjoyed by my ultimate bottom line and true reason I chose to plunge face-first into the ice-cold, semi-uncharted waters of indie publishing: Dark fantasy readers.
Oh, they're out there, all right. I can sense it. Somewhere. Waiting. Watching. Breathing. Stalking. Eating, or maybe sleeping, or engaging in other recreational goings-on . . . but they're out there, yes. . . .
And now, I just have to snag them.
* * *
Photo credit for blue "365" picture: Velo Steve - Flickr Photo Sharing – Creative Commons License
*Actually, I'll just post up a picture of Bailey as a puppy (oh, he was ever so cute!) with an official "congrats" to the winner.