From Electric Gutenberg:
For years I’ve been one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders of the self-publishing movement. Publishing my first novel on Amazon was one of the highlights of my life. I’m the guy who would jump up and down in rapture when I made a single 99 cent sale. My charming (if crudely drawn) cartoon strip series, Hyper Geek, features a perpetually optimistic and largely autobiographical writer (named Mackay) enraptured by self-publishing.
. . . .
Since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a novelist. I wrote short stories, started a couple novels and went to college to study fiction writing, but… yes, I gave up. The more I learned about the state of the traditional publishing business back then, the less I wanted to attempt a writing career. I simply couldn’t see myself playing the submission game, particularly by writing the kinds of books my professors thought would get past the gatekeepers of the literary elite. I had no interest in being a starving artist fighting against the system. I moved into personal computer sales and then into computer education and business consulting. I have no regrets about changing course back then. It was probably one of the smartest moves I made in my life.
Then the internet took off and the digital age arrived, which provided me with all sorts of business opportunities working for tech startups. But I also realized it presented new creative opportunities for writers to go it alone through self-publishing. I decided to try writing a novel once again. I started this blog in 2010 when enthusiasm among indy writers was rapidly growing, in a large part thanks to Amazon and Kindle. People talked about a gold rush in self-publishing. It hit a fevered pitch around 2014 when Hugh Howey published his first Author Earnings report. He and the Data Guy proved that the self-publishing market was growing by leaps and bounds and some indy authors where making serious money. Many were even able to quit their day jobs and support themselves simply by self-publishing. A few were even getting rich. It was like a shot heard round the writing blogs.
. . . .
I wrote and self-published my first novel, Eve’s Hungry, on Amazon through KDP. It took longer (three years) and was more work than I anticipated, but I was very happy with the result. I started to build a little following on this blog and Twitter. I was learning a lot, and having fun. Sales were nothing to get excited about, but I got a few nice reviews and followed it up quickly with a short little book of cartoons I had drawn years ago. Initial sales of that were double my first work. Still combined sales were tiny and sporadic. I certainly wasn’t going to be able to quit my day job. I’d be lucky to buy a Happy meal at McDonalds.
Then reality hit: my day job became a night and day job.
I got so swamped, I couldn’t even put out 140 character tweets to promote my book, let alone think about writing a new one. I stopped blogging and working on my Hyper Geek cartoon series midway through the story. Months went by and I… gasp… stopped checking my ebook sales (which had flatlined anyway). Things have gotten a little better with my schedule lately, but it’s unlikely my day job will ease up significantly for years. I now know from experience how much work is involved in self-publishing new books. It’s not an easy hobby and it’s unlikely to be a real source of income anytime soon. Conventional wisdom is that in order to make a living by self-publishing, you have to crank out books regularly, like every three months or faster. I can’t possibly do that now. I’m not even sure I could or would want to work that fast in the future if I did have spare time.
. . . .
So, is it time for Mackay Bell to give up on his crazy creative aspirations yet again? Like I have so often in my past? If formerly “best selling” self-publishers are quitting, how can someone like me, who never even sold many ebooks, keep at it? Do I finally understand why someone would give up self-publishing? What’s the point if it is “no longer possible” to get rich? Or replace your day job? Is my last post about self-publishing to be an announcement of defeat and surrender?
Of course not. Only an idiot would quit self-publishing.
Now, before you flood the comments with complaints that this whole post was just shaggy dog clickbait, let me explain. Yes, I never had any intention of quitting. I got busy and had to take a break, but I always figured I would get back to self-publishing. While I’m a big believer in quitting things, I can’t see any reason I ever would quit self publishing. Frankly, I can’t see any reason anyone else would. Even if the market is down. So what is really going on with this latest doom and gloom meme about how all these indy writers are quitting?
Who is quitting? Quitting how exactly? Supposedly “successful” and “best selling” indy writers are quitting “self-publishing.” Presumably, they aren’t being named because they are too embarrassed to admit it.
Link to the rest at Electric Gutenberg