What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?
While a tired week on the home front, it’s also been a pretty good creative week. I’m rethinking what I had believed for years would be my second novel, in favor of swapping it with the third (which I’ve had some good inspiration on recently, but that’s not necessarily the reason for my consideration).
Also, many thanks to writer Axel Howerton for his review of The Imaginings at Amazon. If you haven’t met Axel, you should check him out. He’s an interesting character and a talented writer. For Axel’s blog, click here.
I debated posting today’s post next week and actually putting up a review of Joss Whedon’s new horror movie, Cabin in the Woods, but by the time I thought of the doing the review (sometime yesterday afternoon), I already had this post written. So I hope you’ll forgive the fact that next Friday I’ll be putting up a movie review two weeks after said movie’s release.
But without further ado…
One year ago, I was just starting to feel better again.
The artist ego is a fragile one, and in November of 2010, mine had taken a pretty good kick in the crotch when the agent I’d been working with for six years told me she wasn’t handling horror anymore. (for more on this, you can also read my second official blog post, To “e,” or Not to “e”)
I’ll be honest. It was a dark winter.
I was certainly happy to be a new father, but I had also just gone part-time teaching with this whole “kick start the writing career” thing going on.
To quote from Raising Arizona, “And then the roof caved in.”
[Note the use of humor to dull the pain.]
And it was the middle of winter. Dark and cold.
I watched a lot of television, ate a lot of junk and nursed my wounds.
But as most of you know, around March of 2011 after much consideration (and cajoling from my father), I made the decision to self-publish The Imaginings. Mostly just to see, you know? I found a great book with some amazing resources to get started (How to Make, Market and Sell Your E-book: All for Free), did some research, and thought, Well, I’ve got the time. If I don’t have to spend that much money, what do I have to lose?
That last part is a pretty funny question really. If you’re a writer, stop and think about it, and you might have a chuckle.
So after a few months of preparation to go it alone, I self-published The Imaginings.
Now I’ve always been a relatively practical person, raised up with a blue collar work ethic, and many years ago, I came to the realization that while overnight success might happen for some people, I would have to work for it.
Or maybe this is just my excuse for why I’ve never done that well at gambling.
But either way, I have to admit that while I was still considering looking for representation, I wasn’t doing much about it actively, and when it came to the original consideration of self-publishing, the siren song of the self-publishing success stories was pretty stinkin’ strong (how about that alliteration?).
I believed in my writing abilities (still do). And I thought, Why the hell should I wait around for some publisher to decide they agree?
Then I thought, Furthermore, why the hell should I pay someone a percentage of my sales when I can do it myself?
Of course, I had yet to learn what “doing it myself” actually entailed.
There were hours of writing, rewriting, revising, and tweaking… and that was just for my 150 word book description (I’ve never been so frustrated with the concept of pronoun agreement).
And then to finally settle on something, only to wonder if a marketing person would just chuckle and rewrite the whole thing.
(repeat process for cover design, formatting, keywords, SEO, etc…)
That I think has been the hardest aspect of the past year. Well, that and feeling like even though I’ve been writing for years, since this is my first foray into finally being actually published, I’m still very much a beginner when it comes to growing my audience.
But anyway, even though I value the learning experience I’ve gained on how to put together an e-book from Chapter One to “Upload,” there’s so much uncertainty to knowing if I’m the best guy to be doing the best job of the business side of the writing business (like that one?).
[Again, see my earlier question about “what do I have to lose?” and consider the fact that I’m not a fan of gambling (read: experimenting), especially when it comes to the future of my family.]
After all, my degree is in writing, not business. Certainly there are people out there who can do it better (and probably quicker) than I can. People with more connections, and who are being paid a percentage of my sales to work for me.
And while she may not agree with much of what I’m saying here, as Triberr mate JW Manus pointed out in a recent post, at least now I’m empowered with knowledge of how to do it myself so I can negotiate what price I’m willing to pay to have someone else do it for me.
Do I want to be a successful writer? Certainly. Do I believe I have that capability? Yes. Do I think I’m going to have to work for it? Dammit, yes.
(What’s that line from ‘The Office’? “Stop asking yourself easy questions so you can look like a genius” 🙂 )
Okay. So while I may have temporarily lost sight of the fact that I wasn’t going to win that lottery (even given a little talent), while I have been hard at work at making my success, I’ve realized that it’s time that I put my hard work (given my limited time to do it) back in the direction it belongs.
It’s been a great year. And a hard year. And exciting. And frustrating. Educational. And humbling. I wouldn’t change what I’ve done, but it has definitely given me perspective on what I want to do differently.
I’ll be very interested to see what the next year brings.
What do I want from you?
This post was inspired by a two-part series of posts by fellow Triberr and TESSpecFic group mate, JW Manus. JW is great for telling it like it is. If you are wondering about your options as a writer–or just to see more of my feelings on this top (I left comments at both posts), please check these out:
I may be opening a can of worms here, but… what are your thoughts?
Finally, don’t forget to check back next week for my review of Cabin in the Woods.
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