The first post of 2019 talks about the joys and pitfalls of being an independent author who just published her first ebook.
I have been gone for a while from the blog, I have been writing, editing, publishing and promoting my first book.
That’s right, I wrote a book. And it was hard to write it, from top to bottom, with some help from some generous friends, but in the long haul mostly by myself. I edited my book. That was harder, I had to develop a different state of mind to do that; I could not be the author and the editor at the same time so I created this editing persona—the kind and supportive editor—that could compassionately tell me how to improve my book and hone my skills. And guess what? Me editor and me author, we make a great team. As I am giving the manuscript a quick once over before the publication of the paperback, I cannot help being amazed by how well it came out. I wanted a happy book, and I got it, I wanted an original book, check. I wanted a book full of joy and love, entertaining, even exciting, but without any explicit depiction of violence, and to my delight, I accomplished this goal. In principle, that was a huge challenge but, as I wrote I realized that this loving and positive state of mind is the creative framework in which I feel most comfortable working. Will I be able to sustain this type of writing for my next book? I hope so, I am very satisfied with what I have accomplished. And it is so much fun to read!
The challenges of publishing as in independent author are many. Exhausted, isolated, a muted voice in an ocean of noise. I am doing something that many people do and don’t do at the same time; I am following my dream of publishing a book, but some of the most common tools out there for independent authors are not fitting me, so I am trying to discover my own road and that is a tough journey through rocks and thorns. I spend my days alternately elated at how awesome my book is and despondent because I don’t find a way for my audience to find me.
If you look at advice for independent authors, one of the things you read is that your first line of readers and publicity is your friends and family. After three weeks since the publication of my ebook I have sold nine books. That means that only about 0.002% of the people that consider themselves my friends and family have find it expedient to support me. I am not mad; if I were, then I would run out of friends and family and the world would become soooo sad. So I prefer to consider that nine wonderful, caring, and supportive persons in the world have given me a chance to invite them to a beautiful story-land that I have extracted from a mixture of reality and dreams. If you are reading this, my most sincere gratitude.
As for the other people, I am sure that they are kind and supportive but just don’t understand how this independent book thing works. I have a wonderful book, a funny book, a compassionate book, full of stories, each one different, so that the first is a coming of age story, the middle is lovely speculative fiction—mostly about how people’s beliefs affect their understanding of reality— and the last story is hard science fiction. So, what happens? When you go to the digital bookstore it is difficult to fit Lizard-Monkeys and Other Stories into one specific category. The book is wonderful but that is not what sells books, what does it, is the social visibility of the book—in other words, monkey see, monkey do. That is why it is important to get those first sales, those star ratings, and those users reviews in Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and everywhere else. Some people had told me they prefer paper books; I do too. But making paper books from where I live right now, is long, difficult, and expensive, and due to government regulations, I, personally cannot sell books here. I will produce the paper book to sell through Amazon at some point, but it might take a long time if I have no incentive, because I am just human and occasionally, I need a pat in the back and to see concrete actions together with the kind words in order to gain momentum.—As I am writing this Maj has come to rub himself against my calves to say that he does support me, pity that he can’t read or buy stuff online.