You’ve come to be with me again.
(Readers and writers, I have a question for you at the end of this post, if you can muddle through my long-winded way to get to it, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.)
So, I’ve been an indie author since 2011. At this time, the Indie world was still pretty young. There was a bit of shame in admitting you self-published, because CLEARLY that meant your work wasn’t good enough to get traditionally published, when in reality, it was more that I didn’t want to waste years looking for a publishing house. I wanted people to be able to read my work, untouched by what publishing houses thought would make a better book. So I dove in. Now in those days, some indies raced to the top and made a lot of noise (and some mega bucks). That noise did two things:
1. It validated indie authors as being REAL writers; and
2. It showed people ANYONE could publish a book.
And it’s true. It’s really very easy to publish a book today. It just takes a few clicks of a button and you’re good to go. So, while this is WONDERFUL, it’s also HORRIBLE. Wonderful, because, yeah! Writers can finally have the opportunity to get their work into readers hands. Horrible, because many of these new writers need a bit of… polish? I know you’ve seen or maybe even read some of the books I mean. Everyone wants to make the next 6 figure book deal. I get it. I certainly wouldn’t turn that down! Ha! But I wonder if all these books may have hurt the indie market instead of helped it.
With this FLOOD of new authors I’ve noticed that the facebook boards, where I used to be able to post the buy links to my books and interact with readers, have turned into pages where readers don’t frequent anymore. So who does? Indie authors and then only long enough to post their buy links before they run off to the next page to post. News feeds are being jammed with “BUY my BOOK!” posts (myself included, I’m afraid.)
Bloggers have felt this shift too. When I first started out, there used to be a few bloggers I could share my books with and they, out of the love of books, would post for me. I’d send them some swag to give out or keep for themselves as a thank you. Today, Bloggers are inundated with a new crop of authors all vying for spots on their pages and these poor bloggers can’t keep up with the demand. Instead of understanding the overcrowding, they get to endure the ‘entitlement issues’ of some of these newer authors of why their book needs to be posted over another. (I’ve heard the horror stories.) Many bloggers I used to work with have stopped; overwhelmed and underappreciated for all of the work that they used to love to do for fun, but quickly became stress. I can’t blame them. I myself, get daily e-mails from authors, thinking I’m a blogger, asking me to sign up for this release or this cover reveal. I’m no different, I ask too. We have to. It’s part of being a writer. Marketing. Blah. The WORST part of being a writer. Yes, even worse than editing!
It will most likely be a few years before the thinking turns from: Yeah! I can publish my book!! To: Just because you CAN publish a book, doesn’t mean you actually SHOULD. I mean, I know how to play on Picmonkey. That doesn’t mean I know the first thing about cover design. (As my post here proves.)
What’s an author to do?
I honestly can say I have no clue. I can tell you that it feels like we are entering the arena of ‘pay to play’ exposure. Gone are the days when you could post to facebook and your friends would actually SEE what you posted. You have to pay for ‘boosts’ which, I’m not convinced does much good unless you can sink some bills larger than a twenty spot their way. I tried a few boosts for Dee’s release, and I was unimpressed with the ‘results.’ 40 bucks garnered me 2 clicks. Not a great use of my limited funds.
I’ve been told I need try Book Bub. This is one of the bigger places to go to spend your advertising dollars. Check out their prices though: The arrow is where I guess Dee would live since there is no Romantic Comedy section. My book is $2.99, which isn’t a lot.
Um, yeah. I don’t have $1,700 just lying around. Nor, do I want to drop my current release to FREE so I can pay them $340 of my dollars just to get some downloads that I won’t make any money on. I can do that on my own, without their help and for free.
That’s what brings me back to the self-doubt title. (Never thought I’d circle back to that, did ya?) The self-doubt isn’t necessarily doubt about my writing. I’ve slowly come to terms that I can’t please everyone and for some, I write well enough that many will buy my next books. The doubt comes with the wondering if my writing will ever help feed my family, or if it’s just a really expensive hobby. (Trust me, most of us spend way more than we make trying to be seen).
Now, I’m not about to throw in the towel or anything dramatic like that. I’ll be writing til my dying day. But I AM curious about what you, as readers, or fellow writers, see becoming the trend in the indie world? Will indies, frustrated by this onslaught of new writers, go back to the traditional market? Will the overload of ‘new writers’ level itself out as readers demand better quality work? Will indies, like me, be forced to work the streets to get exposure (see what I did there????) Something else? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.