It’s Not Easy Being Green or KeenSorry Kermit

My apologies to Kermit the Frog for stealing his line but my new mutation is meant for those who recall the good old days of self-publishing.

Can you imagine that this was well before anyone had even heard of the word ebook, let alone Kindle? It even predated Twitter and, are you ready for this? Even before Facebook. Weblogs hadn’t begun to be called blogs and websites were yet to be heard of because the Internet hadn’t been invented yet.

 

It was a time when you wrote a book, did all the grunt work involved in getting it printed, and then carried copies around with you at all times. Just in case! It was a time when you met bookstore owners and even convinced the corner store to have your books for sale. Then some years ago, along came POD. Print On Demand was just the best thing that ever happened for independent authors. No longer needing to pay large sums of money up front to have a book printed. For the first time, it was possible to order as many or as few books as you needed.

Shortly after POD became available, the Internet started to blossom and Amazon saw an opportunity and started POD production and distribution with Createspace. There were other POD suppliers, and still are in fact, but it was the ability to have your self-published POD books available online through Amazon that really kicked off self-publishing in a big way. For quite some time, there was no debate about books being self-published or traditionally published. They were all just books available on Amazon.

This saved a lot of legwork and even though selling books locally was working as it had, the volume of sales delivered by Amazon almost meant you could just sit back and wait for the sales to roll in. And they did. For a while.

Those happy days died a horrid death a short while back with the advent of the ebook. Being digital it is a product of the Internet and thus lives there. While the ebook is convenient, practical and all things good, it is the marketing and selling process that has killed the enjoyment for me as a long time self-publisher. Online retailers are awash with millions of ebooks of varying standards of quality and there is a stampede of authors all trying to make a buck.

Social networking is becoming clogged with ‘buy my book’ spammers and blogs are being set up in their thousands to skim a profit by affiliate marketing books from these stores.

The result has been for me that I spend far less time writing, as I have had to move with the times and adapt to this new market. So my days are now filled with maintaining my social networking on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Google+. When not doing that I’m attending to my blog. When doing neither of these, I’m probably reformatting a book because ebook formats have changed so my original files all need refreshing. Or I’m reformatting and republishing an ebook to include links to my other books that I have been told need to be there. Then I may be moving my ebooks from one retailer to another because the rules have changed, again, and I have to reorganise my whole backlist.

When doing neither of these, I’m probably reformatting a book because ebook formats have changed so my original files all need refreshing. Or I’m reformatting and republishing an ebook to include links to my other books that I have been told need to be there. Then I may be moving my ebooks from one retailer to another because the rules have changed, again, and I have to reorganise my whole backlist.

So when do I have the time to write? It’s not easy staying keen.

It’s Not Easy Being Keen
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2 thoughts on “It’s Not Easy Being Keen

  • 09/02/2012 at 4:09 pm
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    I cannot recall the earlier days of novel toting, but I can relate to carrying my journal and a ‘writing resume’ around with me to prove that I am a writer on occasion. Times have changed and the advent of the ebook is a blessing and a curse it seems. There are times I love my Kindle, because I can carry around all my favorite titles, and yet, when I prefer actually having a physical copy of a book in my hand, I am annoyed with what technology afforded me–convenience. Alas, as you have mentioned, with social media and the formatting and rules regarding self-publishing keep changing (I read your Barnes and Noble article), what else is there for a poor writer to do? It is as if you are too occupied with keeping up with social media–selling yourself, and losing the valuable time needed to reflect, and actually write something. Thanks for the great read.

  • 09/02/2012 at 4:13 pm
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    If any non writer says they read your latest blog post Derek, and still thinks that writing is easy, they quite obviously didn’t. Writing is barely 10% of the operation. :)

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