Today marks a nerve-wracking moment in my author journey. To many, releasing one little short story on Kindle Direct Publishing probably sounds like a bit of an “And…?” milestone, but it marks something of a turning point for me, at least in my thinking.
For months now (really, ever since the rights to Curse Bearer reverted to me) I have been in a writer funk. A quagmire of doubt about the future of my writing.
I am mid-series with everything I am writing at the moment, and I don’t have anything brewing in the back of my mind that is independent of The Risen Age Archive or The Windrider Saga. This puts me in a very bad position in terms of growing my author platform through traditional publishing.
Many cry, “Go indie! It’s so easy to do now.” Well, yes it is. And no it isn’t. The issues of justifying the investment in high quality editing and cover art can be momentum killers for independent authors. I’ve been spinning my wheels since August because of those two issues, with regard to re-releasing Curse Bearer and deciding what to do with its sequel.
And so, while I was perseverating about that series, I decided to work on some shorter stuff I have kicking around in my piles of ideas, specifically Veranna’s origin story (the prophetess character in the Windrider series, if you’re struggling to remember who that is, or if you haven’t read those at all) and another piece called “Delquessa’s Lament,” which is an ancient history tragedy set in the same world.
As a way of getting my feet wet and taking on a “training project” of sorts, with regard to formatting, uploading, and the like, I worked on every aspect of the Veranna story, “Beyond Price,” from cover art, to interior illustrations, to formatting, to proofing. I did have a group of critiquers help me clean it up and edit the actual text of the story. (Which they are awesome for being willing to do.)
The process has been stressful, but in the end, it has been liberating too. Working on the short story, interior images included (which I had read could be harrowing), and taking control of the process with a short, low-impact project, has helped me overcome some of my technical intimidation. Granted, if feedback ever starts rolling in, I may take a beating on the cover, because it doesn’t look like the typical style wrapped around fantasy on the market right now. But at some point, I decided that what I can do at this stage is what I can do. What I have made is 100% me in terms of style and execution. People will either find it novel or pass, and that’s fine.
Most importantly, I have decided that there are things I can do to keep moving, writing, and growing as an author while I work out the challenges with my longer projects. I can do some frequent releases of short, world-based supplemental stories and build up my list of active projects, which will build up the number of books I have flowing into the sales stream. And best of all, I have complete control over my promotional activities. If I want to give away one thing to help sell another, then I have the liberty to make those decisions.
It’s daunting to have the momentum all on my shoulders. But having anyone else to blame doesn’t move anything forward, so in the end, this effort will contribute to my sanity. Which is good, because it’s been in short supply of late.
For those of you who would rather avoid the sales pitch…stop reading here. J
You can find “Beyond Price,” available in e-format only, on Amazon. Proceeds of the sale of this book benefit my kids’ need for shoes and haircuts. Seriously. That’s not a guilt trip, it’s just the reality of being an artist in business for oneself. Thanks for picking it up, if you’re inclined, thanks doubly if you’re willing to leave a review or encourage friends to check it out!