I know this sounds really self-centered, and I swore I wouldn’t talk about my books over here, but I’m beginning to believe I will remain unappreciated in my lifetime.
Not by my kids or my parents or my husband, of course. I’ve cooked and baked up a storm this Christmas and I was spot-on with the Christmas gifts. No shit. Spot. On. And you know, my mom and dad would love me even if my writing was crap. (I can do no wrong in their eyes.)
But it ain’t crap, my writing, I mean.
I’ve been re-working a few books… Just fixing scattered bugs. You know, those little flaws that manage to mar the narrative and continue to reproduce themselves despite a thousand readings. I’m re-working my books because, you see, I’m leaving KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited and expanding my work to all outlets.
Why am I doing this, you ask? I’ve been luckier than many Indie writers. I heard the complaints about falling sales, but for a time I hung in there, made more money every month than I had the previous month. But then the other shoe dropped and my royalties, rankings and readership tanked. New readers are not discovering me as they’ve done for years. I can’t ignore reality. Things might could pick up, but I doubt it. And I’m not taking any chances.
I don’t know what will happen. I do not. I am no more a prognosticator than Professor Marvel from the Wizard of Oz. But I will say this– the Indie world is in a fight for its life. We are, or so it seems to me, moving back toward a model of traditional publishing but this time the Traddies have learned a lesson (from us) and they are gonna pub on the cheap, co-opt us, force us to the thinnest of margins, and, in a very real and very large sense, this will screw every writer, from the tallest to the smallest. Kind of like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
I feel like Cindy-Lou Who, but I don’t expect the Grinch to bring back my presents.
I’ve tried to convince myself, tried real hard to convince myself, that the cream will rise to the top. I am no hack. I’m a damn good writer. And I’ve made some decent money over the past five years, but subscription services are a major game changer. Without a money machine behind me I don’t know that I can achieve success, let alone survive as an Indie writer.
How do I gauge success? Readership.
How does one get readers? Used to be easy on Amazon. But it’s a new day, babies. A new day.
I have no plans to stop writing. In fact, I’m busy writing away. But I swear I feel as if I’m writing for posterity. As in, years from now someone will discover me and he or she will say, “Hey, this is a good book. Who is this author and why have I never heard of her? I’m gonna tell all my friends to read her work.”
And perhaps I will be, i.e., my work, will be loved posthumously.
It’s cold comfort.
But damn, I sure made some amazing Christmas cookies this year! (Along with Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder which then became carnitas– my mother’s brisket and latkes– smoked duck breast with a puree of Rancho Gordo Heritage Royal Corona Beans and black kale– shirred eggs and flaky buttermilk biscuits with a selection of homemade larcenous jams.) Yum! We’ve eaten well.