Jul. 27th, 2011

naomi_jay: (Fiery Raziel)
So JA Konrath notes on his blog today that Amazon will soon be launching the Kindle in India, which is interesting. I guess it's another potential income stream for indie writers, and Konrath raises the issue of translation in order to make books more accessible world-wide, which makes sense of course, but here's the thing for me (and possibly others like me): Dude. That costs money and I don't have any. Konrath himself points out that translators are expensive, and there's more discussion about that in the comments. Frankly, rather than making me want to push harder at self-publishing, this development makes me want to shy away.

Unless you're lucky, it's near impossible to self-publish for free, well. My covers are home-made and they're ... not great. They're not terrible, but they're not professional, because I can't afford to pay for art. I can do the formatting for myself now, but I find it pretty time-consuming and tedious, and I'm not a fan of time-consuming, tedious things. And clearly, if I can't afford cover art, I can't afford to pay someone to do formatting for me. Obviously having your books translated isn't compulsory, but the very idea of it makes me knackered.

I decided to try self-publishing for two reasons: 1, I hoped it would bring in some extra cash. It hasn't, although the mantra is of course "ebooks last forever, therefore eventually you'll make money." 2, I'd just parted ways with my second literary agent and I felt like I didn't have the strength to start on that route again, so self-publishing was worth a try.

Well, I haven't made any money, and I don't feel quite so negative about my career as I did at the start of the year. So those reasons are kinda less relevant now than they were back in January. Because here's what I've found (and this is purely for me; I'm not even pretending to speak for other indie authors, as many have found success and I'm really happy they have) - I don't want to be in charge of my own cover art, formatting, or translation. Some people talk about creative control; I'd gladly surrender the business side of writing to focus more on actually writing. And now that I've taken on some editorial responsibilites, I'm even more reluctant to spent time on formatting, art, translation, or whatever.

I do believe you can succeed at indie writing, because the evidence is out there. But I don't believe anyone can succeed at it, and as with most things in life, not everyone who does win actually deserves to (Anderson Silva, I'm looking at you). I've talked recently about re-evaluating what success at writing means for me, and as the year moves on and I get closer to my promise to myself of trying indie publishing for twelve months, the one thing I keep coming back to is that, for me, the benefits haven't outweighed the downsides.

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