I have been lazy about posting – some kind of summer doldrums, perhaps. I have not been idle, but have been writing more fanfiction than original fiction, and have been involved in beta work for other people. None of this activity ever seemed appropriate to write about for this blog, which is intended to be where I discuss original writing.
The novella I published on Smashwords – Silkskin and the Forest Dwellers – has not done well. Once I ended the free period (after a month) and set a price ($2.99), the downloads came to a complete halt. This made me stop worrying about applying for a US tax exemption for foreign writers, and also made me postpone reformatting for Amazon, though I should probably do that. The US tax forms look threatening, and I am dreading trying to work through them.
I have put a lot of effort into making the formatting as good as possible, and have been shocked at the low standards achieved in this respect by some professional publishers. The widespread criticism of self-publishing for poor editing and formatting is not, I think, deserved, and seeking so-called professional help is not necessarily the way to go. There are good and bad examples on both sides.
My heart sinks at the thought of the different formatting rules for Amazon. It probably won’t be so bad once I get down to it. Lots of people manage it without problems so why shouldn’t I? Smashwords was an uphill struggle at first, but I now feel confident so Amazon shouldn’t be any different. And once I’ve done it all for one story, the others should be easy. Right?
My heart also sinks at the thought of needing to advertise. I don’t have (and frankly don’t have either the inclination or time to have) either a Facebook or Twitter account. I lean towards longer posts and conversations, and more personal privacy. But some researchers are beginning to suggest that too much self-marketing can be counter-productive. I hope they’re right!
What I do think I need to do is get my Amazon edition sorted and then format the other stories I have ready so that I have more chance of attracting attention. Research also claims that writers do better with a number of stories for sale. The stories are there – written, edited, and ready to go. I have some kind of publishing block which is as unconstructive as writer’s block must be.
Meanwhile, I continue to write fanfic, at least partly because I can post it easily (to AO3 – Archive Of Our Own) and get feedback. And yet I have a lot of original stories to tell!
Have any of you got advice or encouragement to offer?