On Tuesday I announced that I’m self-publishing a novella companion to The Broken Lands, my second traditionally published book. In the related Kickstarter campaign, I also committed to blogging regularly about the process. Keeping this commitment might possibly be the biggest stretch for me, but here we go.
So, first: full disclosure. I’m not interested in self-publishing.
No knocks against it—it’s just a business model I neither know about nor am motivated to spend time learning about. In my head, successful self-pub authors must be kind of like Jordan from Real Genius: she is brilliant at everything, has endless energy for experimentation, can do absolutely whatever’s necessary for her projects, and isn’t intimidated by having to do those things quickly.
I’m a selectively lazy human being. I am also not an artist, not a designer, not a copyeditor, and not someone who gets excited about crafting publicity campaigns. An even bigger problem for me is this: I don’t have an e-reader, other than my smart phone, because I just don’t enjoy reading in that format. Also—which is no less an issue—I like to own and collect books. So the focus on digital books that is at the root of every successful self-publishing effort I’ve ever heard of has always kind of left me unexcited. Again, no knocks—but if you saw what I was willing to do to my writing room in order to own physical books, you’d understand. I’m just not a reader of digital books.
I also–just to complicate things–don’t want to worry about whether or not I see any kind of profit off of this novella. Not this time around. This time I want to focus on learning how to create the content I want in the forms that I want.
So what’s the point, then?
Well, first of all, I want to find a way to provide more stories that will enhance the larger story begun in The Boneshaker as it is being told, while using self-publishing services that support independent bookstores (so if you read my earlier post and were wondering why I chose to do a Google Play digital book rather than use Amazon, there you go). And (bonus), it would be really nice to not only enhance the larger story, but to help drive sales of my traditionally-published books, as they’re being released.
As an aside, it would also be nice to find a way to use both types of publishing in conjunction. I’m not unbiased, as I’ve mentioned. I work two days a week in an independent bookstore, for one thing; for another, I’ve enjoyed my experiences with my editor and agent. I think those experiences made my books better by about a million miles, and both I and my books needed those interactions. Obviously there’s room in the world for both models, though, and I think there are compelling ways to combine them.
Success, for my purposes, is going to look like enough interest in this project to complete it (meaning to finance the creation and printing and digital release of the three editions I’ve announced), and to convince me that it’s worth doing again with my next hardcover release. Success isn’t going to look like an ongoing revenue stream; not this time, at least. I’ve never done this before, and the whole idea came together literally at the end of February, so I anticipate there are lots of things I’ll learn along the way and lots of things I’ll file away for next time.
But I am trying to think like Jordan: Jordan would not waste an opportunity just because she was afraid of overturning a sled on the ice. She’d make the best plan she could, get in there and give it a go.
At bare minimum, I’m pretty sure the actual novella is fairly awesome. Also, the cover is going to be gorgeous. So what else can possibly go wrong?
Don’t answer that.