Monday, August 29, 2016

Exercise in Futility

Can't get an agent or editor to offer for your book? Thinking of Indie publishing?

Think long and hard and then rethink again.

I've been on a journey to Indie publish my middle grade novel, Evolution Revolution:Simple Machines. There six planned books in the series. (Originally it was 4.) My agent loved it- and shopped it around. But there were no takers. So while she and I are working on other novels (mg historical fiction, contemporary mg sci fi, etc.), I decided to Indie publish Evolution Revolution.

To quote Marissa Tomei from My Cousin Vinny: (close your eyes, Mom):

"Oh my god, what a fucking nightmare!"

Indie publishing is not for the fainthearted. It will test the patience and intestinal fortitude of even the most stalwart author. This is what I've learned:

1. When outfits like CreateSpace and Smashwords tell you "It's easy! It's simple!" Don't believe them. Not a word. Here's why: when you see those words about how easy it is, those lies were written by marketing people. They have no idea if it's easy, hard, or psychosis-inducing. They're paid to write anything that makes the product look good.
2. You have 'customer service'! - which means you have to wait for service. Okay, one business day for a reply to their emails. Sounds good? But when they answer, it's the same gobbledy-gook that's on their website (which means you won't understand it until the fourth time you ask the question). But what about the "Call us! We're here 24/7!" Well, maybe, but you have to wait for them to call you. They don't list a phone number (it's super secret and you probably have to be 007 to get it), so that means you're glued to your phone having to wait. Suppose you have to work? Sleep? Take care of kids? Have surgery? Go to the bathroom? You have no idea when they're going to call and you know it's going to be at the worst possible time.
3. Step by step instructions! They're perfect! IF you have a computer science and engineering degree, a graphics design background, and insane knowledge of coding. Pages and pages and pages... and you still don't know what the hell they're talking about. (I've been to that hell...)
4. We have design services! Yep, for a hefty price. Everything costs- design, cover, etc. So don't expect anything for free (except the marketing guides which are ABC. You can get more detailed info scouting around the net.
5. Oh yes, you must be a tax professional to understand all the ramifications. I have a CPA, I'll let him tell me what to do because I won't know, and I doubt the IRS even knows.
6. It takes hours to do all the author profile, short and long synopses, upload the cover (good luck with that one!), fill in a thousand blanks. (But they do have a service, starting at $400). And write everything down because if you don't finish, you lose all that input then have to spend hours more re-entering it.
7. Are you having fun yet? There's more. They ask you questions that include math (# of text pages times .0002475 or some such number to determine how big your book will be, but without illustrations, so then you have to us formula.... Yep. It's a horror story. I'd rather sit through college pre-Calc again.
8. You do know that stores like Barnes and Noble and indies don't really want to carry Indie pubbed novels, right? Sure, they'll do some- but probably not yours. You have to figure out how to get sales some other way.
9. There's still a stigma- and not without good reason. Yes, I've seen traditionally pubbed novels with some goofs that should have gotten picked up by the proofreader, but it's a very small amount. Some of the Indie pubbed novels give me heart palpitations they are sooo bad that the stigma is not wholly unjustified. Don't be one of these people. Hey, I hate proofing and revising a thousand times just as much as anybody; but I do it. Your final product has to be as close to divine as you can get. If you put out crap, you hurt the rest of us who are trying to do a professional job.
10. I don't know if this is true, by I figure by the time I learn all this stuff for book two, they're going to change the programs and I'll have to learn it all over again. (You can expect a new rant when that happens.) Technology changes so fast.

I just want to write. But sometimes to make your dreams come true, you have to do dirty, nasty, cringe-worthy tasks. But my book is worth it.

I'll be checking in-- *checks for stomach ache medication, tissues for crying, shoulder to cry on.


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