I’ve been self-publishing/indie publishing for about four years now. Learning as I go. Kind of like a busker or a street performer. Out in public practising. Getting better as I go, I hope. Taking courses and reading books and learning all the time, too.
On occasion, some kind reader buys one or other of my stories, like tossing money into a buskers cap. It’s encouraging. I hope they enjoy the stories they purchase as I practise in public.
With the learning, as soon as I feel I’ve got a handle on the writing, I seem to discover some new technique or approach. Often things that seem obvious. Right away I incorporate that into my writing, with various degrees of success. When I look back over my stories, some I’m very proud of, others seem to have been written by a different person.
The other key thing I’m learning is business. That’s a much tougher road for me. I don’t think I’m a natural entrepreneur, so I have to concentrate. I have to make an effort to take those risks, invest some cash, and push into those realms that are a whole lot more uncomfortable.
One of the things I’m beginning to look at are some of those older stories, with bad covers and terrible blurbs. Case in point: Stone Goddess. It was a fun little story I wrote some years back. It got published in an anthology titled Horror Through the Ages from Lame Goat Press. No monetary payment (at the time I was fine with that: I was happy to be in print). It also got a podcast at Cast Macabre (and seems to be still available, for free). Again no monetary payment.
At some point along the way I realized that giving stories away was not a path to making a livelihood (slow to catch on, I know).
I started putting my stories up on Smashwords, Kindle, iTunes, Kobo, Nook and so on. Even putting some of the longer ones in print. I did my own covers. I wrote my own blurbs. Learning all the time.
Now, I’m going back and gradually updating some of those older works with some of the things I’ve learned more recently. So “Stone Goddess” has a new cover. To my embarassment, I’m putting the old cover next to the new. I like the new one better.
Original cover image by me. New cover image by © 1971yes | Dreamstime.com
I’ve redone the interior too, and added a couple of other stories to fill it up a bit (“Stone Goddess” is kind of short) for some value for money. A new blurb too:
Top Mars researcher Ben James loves getting out into the field. Under the stars. Into the dust and stone.
But today something’s amiss. Something’s out there. Calling to him.
Something he’s got to find.
Even if it means breaking every protocol.
A short story from the author of The Molenstraat Music Festival. Includes three bonus Mars stories.
I think it could still use some work, but I dare not show the old blurb (omigosh amateur ramblings).
The story is pretty much available at your favorite ebook retailer. I’m thinking about making a print version (though it’ll be slim). If you’ve read this far (thanks) here’s a coupon for a free copy from Smashwords. Click here and enter the following code:
Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: XH22Q
Expires: April 26, 2021
Five years was the longest I could set the coupon for. I think you have to create a Smashwords login – if you’d like a copy without all that palaver, just let me know here.
All that said about going back, I am continuing to go forward. Trying to write better stories. Working on having consistent covers. And writing sensible, engaging blurbs.
2 thoughts on “The Writer as busker”
I have to say, you’re doing GREAT Sean. That new cover is terrific – the best I’ve seen of yours, I think. Not that I’m an expert, but what with the success of The Martian and all, it does have a similar flavor, and I have to say, it’s eye-catching.
Keep going! You’re doing good things!
What classes did you take, if you don’t mind my asking? I’m still pounded at work and things aren’t great, so I’m not writing at the moment. I think I cried a little when I realized it was more than a year ago I started my last finished book.
But I have you for inspiration and aspiration both. 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us how your journey is going. I like following along. 🙂
Thanks so much Dane.
I’ve taken a bunch of those courses – I try to balance craft with business. The workshops were Adding Suspense to Your Writing, Depth in Writing, Pacing, Making a Living, and one other that I don’t think they offer anymore.
At least you’re writing – those flash pieces are fun. That’s where I got started. Keep it up. Slow and steady and all.