Publishing for Pleasure

Guest Post by Ron Fritsch

What do we non-celebrity authors hope to achieve with our lonely hours of writing? If it’s fame and fortune in the short term, all but a few of us are certain to face a vast sea of disappointment when we embark upon publication.

As Mark Coker, the founder of and genius behind Smashwords, says: “Most books don’t sell well,” and “very few books become bestsellers.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise. On a very basic level, there are simply too few readers reading to consume the glut of writers’ writings.

So do we abandon our word-processors—along with our dreams—and content ourselves with the excuse that we can’t hope to compete in a market where the supply is far, far greater than the demand? I think for many of us that isn’t an option.

We first have to acknowledge that selling is only one aspect of writing and publishing, and it isn’t the most important thing in the game unless we let it be. I believe many authors—and I count myself one of them—write and publish our writings mainly because writing and exposing the  product of our writing to the world give us pleasure.

I’m far from saying writers shouldn’t universally hope what we write somehow makes us well-to-do celebrities—maybe with a trophy partner thrown in for those who want one. Even those of us who write for niche markets—say for readers who care about the insidious activities of rabbits vis-à-vis young girls in late-19th century Oxfordshire—should feel free to hope. Who knows? Our chosen obsession might “catch on” with readers around the world.

I often see where writers, would-be and otherwise, complain that what they’ve chosen to do, writing, is difficult, arduous, and even unhealthy (all that sitting for hours in one soft chair). For those persons, I can only hope they find some other way to fill the hours of their lives. For many of us, though, writing itself—making our stories as beautiful as they can be—is one of the greatest joys we’ll ever know.

Since Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, and other actors in the independent publishing business have rendered it so easy and inexpensive to expose our writings to the world, we can take pleasure in doing that, too.

Am I saying we should write and publish the story we need to tell, forget about marketing it, and go on to our next great idea? Not at all. What I’m saying is this: we should choose to do the marketing that’s most comfortable for us to achieve.

Every day since I became an independent author I’ve been inundated with reminders telling me I must do this and I must do that if I wish to be a “successful” independent author. If I took those exhortations seriously, I might not end up broke, but I’d certainly suffer a blow to my net worth and, more important, have no time for an enjoyable life, let alone for writing my next novel.

But I can affordably enter my books in legitimate literary awards competitions, obtain honest professional reviews, and place carefully targeted ads on the Internet. I can even seek the free recommendations of serious readers. That’s the bright new world of independent publishing.

I can also hope that in time—maybe even a hundred or more years from now, long after I’ve left this world—attention will be paid. Wikipedia tells me these authors, among others, did as I’m doing—they self-published and hoped for the best: Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Hello readers in the 22nd and 23rd centuries. Please know I love and care about you.

Ron Fritsch is the author of an epic four-book series of novels set in prehistory. His books can be previewed at www.promisedvalley.com or his Amazon author page.

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Posted on June 8, 2013, in Blogging Authors, Writing & Publishing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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