I haven’t blogged in quite a long time, but I’m still writing, still busy–busier than ever, in fact. I’m still writing short fiction every day, but my focus has shifted from submitting to self-publishing. Under names you probably wouldn’t recognize, I self-publish erotic romance and similar genres.
I used to be wholly against self-publishing. I thought that was what failed writers did to feel better. I cringe writing that now, but I’m being honest. If you couldn’t get published (probably because you weren’t good enough to), you self-published. My thinking on this has evolved quite a bit, obviously.
It began as an experiment well over a year ago, just to see what it was like and see if I could make a few bucks here or there. It wasn’t under my name, so if something tanked, who cared? I put the first story up not expecting much. Maybe I could buy a dollar burger or a pack of gum or something. I made several hundred dollars in my first month, and I’ve never looked back.
Self-publishing has become almost my entire income in the last few months. I no longer write for the two clients I worked for during all of 2012 for various reasons. Both those associations ended at almost the same time, which would have been a very bad thing a couple of years ago. It would have left me scrambling for new clients, popping Advil for stress headaches, and hoping to squeak by until I found work. Thanks to self-publishing, I was able to shrug it off and then see it as an opportunity.
Instead of spending time finding new clients to fill the gaps, I decided to give myself a trial-period for full-time self-publishing. I planned to take the time I would have spent looking for new clients and writing for them and invest that time in myself and my own career instead. I’m making enough each month to be able to try this, which still amazes me. If my income isn’t where I want it to be by the end of June or so, I told myself, I’ll contact some potential clients and go back to writing marketing copy. I fully expect not to have to do that.
I’m extremely lucky in that it would be okay if I went back to marketing and sales writing–I like the work, as repetitive as it can be at times, it’s just that writing fiction is more fun, has been my dream for years and actually pays better in the end. The hours spent writing a story, creating the ebook formats and publishing it don’t pay once like articles and web copy I write for other people does. I keep getting paid for the fiction as long as it’s for sale.
Since my goal is to keep increasing my income, the stories that I plan to self-publish have to be my focus for a while. Horror, science fiction and fantasy stories aren’t in my publishing empire (ha) quite yet. My plan is to take each story, send it to the best markets that are appropriate, and if it doesn’t sell, decide whether to self-publish it or give it another look. I suppose that decision will depend on a number of factors: the story, how I feel about it, its theme. I won’t know until I get there.
It’s an exciting time! My participation in W1S1 in 2011 primed my short fiction pump and made it possible for me to write and built a catalog fairly quickly. So that experiment really set the stage for my success now, and I couldn’t be more grateful.