“Self-Publishers, Up in Flames?,” Paumurp/Flickr , under CC BY 2.0.

Writing Problem for Self-Publishers?

Tagged as: Publishing

Reading time: 3 minutes.

Earlier this week, a fellow self-publisher complained about the negative impact of Kindle Unlimited. I disagreed with her. Either way, the market is not driving me out.

I decided to write this after ready Scott Bell’s article, The Self-Publishing Sky is not Falling. Mr. Bell reflects on the trend of self-publishers quitting in 2014. I think he hit the major point: we’re seeing the end of another gold rush. However, it’s not a gold rush as much as an innovation cycle that is doing another spin.

I’ve seen a few go by. I was late to home computers, a curse of being born in 1970. I was late to the Dot-Com era, a curse of being in the military. I suppose I’m late to the Self-Publisher era.

Over the past several months, there has been a theme in my life’s story. It led me to reflect over my experiences to see that trend. I’ve known when to walk away, and known when to dig in and keep at it. If you read back over the past six months of articles, you’ll see I stepped back from self-narrating audio books. But there, I lacked skill and perhaps the time and talent to gain the skill. That was me just recognizing my limits.

Mr. Bell offers three observations of successful self-publishers:

  1. Know the craft
  2. Push your production limits
  3. Operate like a business.

He then asks a good question: “Even if the sky does fall, even if income streams become little whispering trickles, ask yourself this: would you quit writing?”

Know the Craft. I’ve received some good feedback from some of the paying readers and my editor. I know where I need to grow as a writer. It’s just improving a skill. I seem to have the talent.

Push Your Production Limits. In 2014, I think I got a good idea for what my production capability is: 90,000 words. In 2015, I’m going for 100,000 words. I think I’m pushing. Although, I’m already behind and it’s only 11 January.

Operate Like a Business. I found his commentary here interesting (use of deal-alert services like BookGorrilla and EbookSoda). As for operating like a business, I started the Postal Marines series with a business plan. I’m tracking how many sales I need to break even by books sold instead of money earned.

But to answer Mr. Bell’s question: “My sales are already a trickle. I’m just starting out. My business plan denotes my minimum investment in books published before I can declare failure.”

I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet. My plan requires quite a few more years of trying before I can consider it.