Self-publishing blues – or digital noise

Bloody hell, this self publishing malarkey’s time-consuming. If you’re in the same line of business you know what I mean, right?

First you write your novel. It may not be a masterpiece, it probably won’t set the world alight, it probably won’t even dent the lower reaches of the Amazon top 1,000, but you’ve worked hard at it and made sure it’s readable enough that your readers won’t want to commit suicide by the end of the first chapter. Fine, there you are with your work all double-spaced in Word.

Now you want to get the thing on Lulu or CreateSpace or some other paperback POD company, because you like the idea of releasing it in paperback first (hey, you’re a traditionalist). You either do the layout yourself (in Quark or Indesign or Scribus, whatever) or get somebody else to do it. Style-sheets, page-sizes, font styles, font sizes, H&Js, the whole bloody shebang takes a lot of time whichever way you do it. Great, now you have a book, but you need a cover. You get an illustrator and makes sure the cover looks right.

Then you do an ebook. You can either do it yourself using software or get somebody else to do it for you. You look at the text of your book again for the 1,000 time. You’re sick of the sight of it by now. When you’re happy, you release the book on Kindle. You may also release it on Smashwords, although you worry about the shitty formatting of many Smashwords books.

You think it’s over, but it isn’t. It’s just starting. You get a blog/website and realise you have to fill it all the bloody time if you are to stand even a chance of a handful of people noticing you. You get a Twitter account. You realise you are just one of a million voices doing the same bloody thing. You holler like the rest of them – usually hawking your fucking book (which you are now sick of the sight of), occasionally making a banal comment and occasionally finding a gem of an article, which you pass on. You may also get a Facebook page with fans and do the same thing there.

Then you realise it’s all digital noise, interference that gets in the way of the one thing you wanted to do in the first place – write. You realise that time you could have spent on your second novel (you know, the one that determines whether you might be, you know, at least passable at this writing lark) is being spent on marketing and shouting and trying to sell. You realise it’s not easy to do both at the moment, you’re not a great multi-tasker – it’s either/or.

You choose either. You choose to finish what you started. You decide Twitter’s for the birds (for now at least) and your blog’s going to have to wait a while. A few bits and pieces now and then on both, but no more than that. The actual business of finishing your next novel is more important.

So, that’s me done for a while. An occasional best of crime novel update (’cause that feels like fun), an occasional Twitter update, but nothing on a daily or even a weekly basis.

I will be back from time to time, but don’t expect any 500+ word pieces for a while, because my second novel needs the words more.

Adios, folks!


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