I don’t often go on drunken rants, but the one time I did in recent memory, it was about how much I hate libraries. Whoa there. Put down your pitchfork. I don’t really hate libraries. I love libraries, same as the next nerd. But what got me going on this particular night a couple of […]
I started a new book last week. I mean, technically, I “started” a “book,” but all that means is I have a few scenes from a hypothetical story outlined in a notepad and sketched out on my computer. That’s not a book. That’s not really anything. In fact, I stumbled over the first line of this blog for some time, because even saying, “I started a new book” sounds like a fraudulent statement.
It’s funny how the tiny beginnings of major happenings can make you feel exactly like that, like a fraud, just pretending to be something you have far more fantasies about than experience. It’s like referring to yourself by a fancy new title on your first day of work, or commenting on your marriage the day after your wedding. The claims feel sort of contrived and uncomfortable. Technically, you are those things, but it still feels like you’re faking it.
When you’re in a centuries-old trade that has been completely turned on its head, there are no rules by which to be guided, nor to be bound. People have been writing and selling books for a super long time, but the indie author/POD/online marketing approach is brand spanking new. It’s an interesting challenge, because some of the tools you need have been around forever, but are entrenched in the old way of doing things, and others are simply so new, there’s just no way of knowing what the best ones are.
Prostitution and hunter/gatherer notwithstanding, I would venture a guess that writer and musician are two of civilization’s oldest careers. I would also guess that this is the first time, over centuries of these careers, that a writer walked into the living room to ask her musician husband about the wisdom of bundling her ebook with the sale of her physical book for a discounted price. And for that musician to respond, “Just as long as it’s not free. Free is what ruined music sales.”
We live in strange times, is what I’m saying. It’s interesting to be doing something that people have been doing for so long but in a totally different way with so many different options. It involves making a lot of decisions about a tried and true business that are neither tried nor necessarily true. And as Mike pointed out has happened with music, if we as indie authors or the larger publishing industry makes some poor choices, things can get really screwed up.
Here’s a thing that happened to me: I walked into an independent bookstore to inquire about hosting an event related to my new book. I was, after admitting to be an independent author, shut down pretty quickly. Some indie bookstores, it turns out, have no time for indie authors. So that’s cool.