At the start of 2016 I was fed up with traditional publishing. I’d been trying and trying at what felt very much like a rigged game for years. So I decided to try the life of an indie writer for a year, with the exception of my novel, Broken Patterns.
Turns out that was a good call.
After a full twelve months of being my own publisher, I have a very different perspective on the world of writing in general. And I’m ready to give you the full report.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now. While no writer writes for the money, none of us return checks.
In 2015 I made no money attempting to sell my writing traditionally.
In 2016 I made $3 selling my writing myself.
So if we look purely at profit, without including business costs, independent publishing made me more money. Most of the money that I spent on my writing this year was on things like pens and notebooks. Things I would have bought either way. The one exception is that I hired an artist for the cover of Seeming. Which, I have to say, was totally worth it.
In 2015 I published one story, in an anthology called, How To Trick The Devil.
In 2016 I self-published three books and published so many short stories on PBW that I lost count.
If we’re just basing success on how much writing I was able to get out into the world, self-publishing won, hands down. I could put up anything I wrote, and people read it. That made me feel awesome all year, and you guys were a huge part of that. So, again, let me say a great big Thank You to all of you.
The good part of this year has been the level of control I’ve had over my writing. It has been absolute. I controlled every single part of my writing from artwork to publication dates. I loved that.
It also made me feel really accomplished. I felt like I was writing for a purpose. Like no one could tell me no, so I was going to just kill it.
However, I don’t love that I had no restrictions. I worry that my writing got really lazy this year. I was mostly just pleasing myself, writing fluffy work without solid foundations. When I’m not trying to write the best of stories, I tend to write what will amuse me a little. I need to fix that.
I’m glad I spent a year doing my own thing my own way. I’ve gained a lot of perspective and had a lot of fun. But I think, after a year of purely traditional publishing and a year of purely self- publishing, the best path for me is both. To that end, I’m going to spend 2017 self-publishing Station 86 stories. I’m hoping to get two out. I’m going to write short fiction and send it to markets, but I’m also going to write short fiction to put together a new collection for you. In addition to that, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to work with my publisher to get out another Woven book.
After all this time, I’m learning all over again that I’m a true Gemini in all things. I don’t think I’d ever care to just write one genre, or just publish one way. Am I saying that this path will work for everyone? Of course I’m not. But it might. And it’s something to consider.