While chatting to my editor about Indie publishing versus traditional publishing today, it occurred to me that when I write, I love the uncertainty of not knowing where the story will go, but when I publish, I love the certainty of knowing that it is going to be a published, printed book.
Many writers are the opposite. They plot and plan their novels, knowing every twist, turn, sub plot and cliffhanger, crafting their masterpiece exactly how they envision it. Then they print off copies, put them in envelopes, and start sending them to agents and publishers, hoping that someone will recognise the book for the genius manuscript that it is. They have no idea if they will even get a reply from said agents and publishers, let alone an acceptance from them.
I used to think that I was just too lazy to be traditionally published, that I couldn’t be bothered with the query process (which always seemed arduous, painful and long) But I have just realised that it’s the uncertainty that I cannot handle. Which is why after I wrote Heaven dot com, fourteen years ago, I stopped writing. Because it was just too hard to get published, so why bother writing stories that would never be read? It was the evolution of Indie publishing that then made me think that perhaps I should write more, and motivated me to start writing novels. (Chris Baty’s book, No Plot? No Problem! also spurred me to write)
I’m not the kind of writer who must write every day. I’m the kind of writer who writes to share ideas, thoughts and channellings, with as many people as possible. And so writing without the certainty that I will be able to share the words, does not appeal to me at all.
I do start to feel a little antsy if it has been a while since I wrote anything, and scenes start to write themselves inside my mind, just begging me to write them down. In fact, Elphite fans will be pleased to hear that I have an alternate ending in mind, which I am thinking of writing and releasing soon.
But I don’t wake up at 3am every morning with the urge to write, which I think is both a blessing and a curse. (I hate mornings, but I would love to write more!)
If you are a writer, how do you feel about the certainty/uncertainty of writing and publishing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
And just because I love it, here is a new quote photo for I’m Here.
I really loved this piece and I think you hit the nail on the head. For me it was about retaining control, knowing that the success or failure of my work was down to me. I hadn’t originally set out to be a published author, just to write a book, but I soon became caught up in the whole “must find an agent, must get published” merry-go-round. It only lasted a couple of months and made me miserable, not because of the rejections but because my definition of success had changed to something beyond my control. The moment I decided to self-publish I felt all that superficial expectation wash away. I haven’t regretted it for a moment.
Thank you for your comment, Dylan. Having control over the process is also really important to me, I like to choose what goes on the cover, what goes inside and how it is presented to the world.
I think you also hit the nail on the head with the idea of a definition of success. As I believe that everyone’s definition is very different, and should be very much in their hands. I will be writing another post soon on the concept of what success means, because it is something I feel quite strongly about!
The Indie Publishing path may not be the easiest, but it is the most satisfying, I believe. I wish you all the best with your adventure 🙂