Chuck Wendig: Amazon Is Not Your Friend

The snow has stopped

 

Still waiting for that Spring Thaw to give me the energy boost I need. Or at least to put an end to the snow blindness I’m experiencing from weeks of looking out the window and seeing nothing but the frozen freakin’ tundra.

 

Meanwhile, here’s an excellent post from the talented author and self-publishing guru, Chuck Wendig. All about why you should NOT make the mistake of letting Amazon become the only game in town–whether you’re an author or a  reader. Enjoy!

 

Diversify Your Publishing: Why Amazon’s ACX Royalty Change Matters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Slow Writing – Or, When Did Writing Stop Being About Writing?

just-printed-1408010-mI couldn’t help but notice Terri Ponce’s blog today. Terri is burnt out and has decided to take an extended break from writing. I say good for her. As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with the latest “chick noir” novel. I definitely have a big problem with “been there, done that” thinking and this would be my third contemporary women’s fiction with romantic elements, so no wonder it’s seeming unexciting to me. But there’s more going on with the slow progress on The Monaco Mission.

Like Terri, I’m burnt out too. But not so much on writing. I thought I was burnt out on writing up until a couple of weeks ago, when I was reading an extended discussion on one of my online critique groups about pricing strategies for selling the most books at the iBookstore. That’s when I realized what’s really got me burnt out.

I’m not burnt out on writing, I’m burnt out on all the peripheral pressures – the well-meaning writing friends who post daily word counts and page counts on FB & Twitter; the constant discussion of sales figures; all the posts about pricing, advertising, and marketing strategies on various writing loops. I remember when most of the discussion on those loops was about plotting, dialogue, and comparisons of favorite writers and their styles. These days, it seems like hardly anyone in the writing world talks about actual writing anymore. Writing is just “content” to be generated as rapidly as possible, posted for quick consumption, and then instantly forgotten.

Add to that the new paradigm that says we have to churn out two or three or more books per year in order to get any significant income at all from all these $1.99 books we’re producing. Hence the increasing pressure to produce so many words or pages a day, and the suggestion that you’re a slacker if you don’t.  All this can really kill your enthusiasm for writing.

But I think it’s the brave new world of publishing that’s the real issue, not the actual writing. After about a year of feeling too burnt out to write, I’m just now learning to separate what I now call “Publishing Burn Out” from my feelings about actual writing. And what I’ve remembered is that before I was published, I wasn’t thinking at all about daily word or page counts – I was just thinking about a story I wanted to tell. Sometimes I didn’t write A WORD all day, sometimes I would spend the day cutting pictures out of a magazine to represent characters or story settings. But that was part of telling the story too. Unfortunately, creative exercises like that tend to go by the wayside if all you’re thinking about is speed. And along with them goes all the fun, too.

I applaud Terri’s decision to take an extended break and slow down. I think creative writing should be just that — creative. And if that means slowing down in order to actually think about what you’re writing, so be it.

A New Beginning. Or maybe just a slow fade.

As I said in the last post at my old blog, I’m making some changes this year. I’ve got the rights back to the two books I published with The Wild Rose Press and plan to republish them with new covers. This should end the whole pesky “lesbian porn” issue. It seems a number of friends and acquaintances were quite spooked by the original cover of Thirty-Nine Again, not just because the couple were undressed and in a slightly risque pose. No, the fact is, lots of folks thought that guy on top of the blonde chick wasn’t really a guy at all. He looked pretty manly to me, but clearly I wasn’t considering the effects of bad lighting, aging eyes, eyes too vain to wear their glasses, and the dreaded over-active imagination. Hence, the belief that a nifty little chick lit suspense novel was actually some sort of lesbian erotica – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, the next cover will definitely be somewhat more tame.

But what’s to come after I re-release the first two novels?

To be honest, I have no clue. Many friends are urging me to get back to writing fiction and to self-publish my works. I like that with self-publishing, I can choose my own covers and schedule my book release dates at a time convenient to me. But I have to confess, this whole self-publishing e-book thing does take a bit of the shine off of publishing for me. I bought a Kindle, but I still have difficulty seeing e-books as “real” books. In the world of self-publishing (or indie publishing, as it’s more fashionably called now) I’ve discovered some wildly talented authors – James Everington, I’m looking at you. But I’ve discovered that an alarming number of people with no knowledge of spelling, grammar, or the most basic storytelling techniques have decided they want to be authors – or at least be able to call themselves “authors.” I worry that these hacks and self-deluded hipsters are going to give self-publishing a bad name. Oh wait – it already had a bad name in traditional print publishing.

Still, e-books and indie publishing could mark a fresh start for the entire industry, so I hope we don’t wind up awash in badly written third-rate fiction. And I definitely don’t want to contribute to the pile of third-rate stuff.

My friends who’ve jumped on the indie bandwagon are urging me to “hurry up” and get some new stories written and get them out there – as if the most critical component of a story is the speed at which it’s written. I’ve always been pretty fast at writing news stories; but fiction, not so much. I understand what my friends are saying: they fear the big names are swooping into the e-book market now and will soon be crowding out the lesser-known indie authors who launched this new wave. And they’re probably quite right. But I have to be who I am, and who I am is just not fast.

So I’m hoping to find the time to write some new fiction this year, and I’m planning to self-publish it if I do. But I’m going to take my time – something I know the Internet gods really hate. The stories will come when they come, and if they come, I’ll definitely share them with you. But I’m not going to scramble to put together some formulaic fiction I don’t enjoy just so I can follow the Pied Piper of Instant Gratification. I’m going to sit back and take my time with this thing called living, and if I find a story worth writing down, that’s cool. If not, I’m beginning to think that’s cool too. As my hairdresser says, It’s all good.