Friday, January 18, 2013

The Ugly Truth About Indie Publishing

I have 13 days to go before my Kickstarter Project will be over.  Unfortunately, unless a miracle takes place between now and then, it will have been a total flop.  And, I honestly don’t understand why?  I’ve seen people on Kickstarter with some amazing products that deserves every bit of the support they receive and then some, but I’ve also seen some of the dumbest stuff up there receiving crazy funds beyond one’s imagination…for picture books, puzzle books…painted cards…painted posters…hundreds of thousands of dollars for these items!  And, I ask myself, what am I doing wrong?  I’ve checked and rechecked my post, tweaked and re-tweaked my videos;  I deleted 1/3 of my information, thinking I was overwhelming people with too much info, etc.  I even added a second video to explain why I was asking for the funds, which I also posted on my last post here!  All to no avail!

I’m not upset or anything like that.  I’m just…confused, frazzled, thrown-off-balance a bit.  Here’s why.  You start out writing and everybody under the sun says, If you need anything, And I Mean Anything, Just Let Me Know: I’M HERE FOR YOU!  I’M SERIOUS!  JUST LET ME KNOW!  You don’t call on them personally, but you set up this project and you let them know about it and ask them to spread the word to their friends and; suddenly, people (even, your immediate FAMILY) act as though you have the chicken pox.  They now want to keep their distance from you!  Even by email!  As though they can catch whatever it is they think you’re “spreading” via Twitter and/or FB and/or Email.

You attempt to put them at ease by saying:  “No, no…I don’t want anything from you (as though $5 would break their bank!), just spread the word for me.”  Retweet this for me or email that for me to your friends and all of a sudden, you hear:  I really don’t have too many friends or I don’t have those kind of friends!  I actually stepped out on the limb on New Years Eve (at our family gathering) and asked my oldest daughter to retweet my kickstarter “spill” for me, and she said (with a straight face, I might add):  “I don’t retweet.  I only retweet things that I like, like that guy you introduced me to…what’s his name, Deitrick Haddon?  Yeah, I retweeted a couple of things he wrote, but that’s all.  No, I don’t retweet.”  This is MY DAUGHTER SAYING THIS TO ME!  Needless to say, I was totally taken back by her nonchalant attitude while making the statement.  Like she was saying, No, I don’t like chocolate ice cream.  I couldn’t believe it.  I wasn’t even angry.  I was hurt!  It’s like, you’re trying to get your book out and the whole Universe is suddenly against you!  But, these are people you’ve done FREE Resumes, Divorces, Bankruptcies–you name it–for that would have cost them Thousands of Dollars with anyone else, but I did it for them for FREE!!!  And, thought NOTHING OF IT, AND DIDN’T HESITATE TO DO IT!

Within a few weeks of joining a new church and the Pastor finding out I was writing a book (and I didn’t tell him); all of a sudden, I’m getting a dig from the pulpit:  “These people got talents and gifts that God gave them and they’re just sitting on them. They could be making money right now singing, writing music, writing books.  In fact, people taking forever to edit their books and stuff, when all they have to do this day and time is write the book and upload it to the publisher.  The publishers do all the editing and everything and you’re done.  It don’t take all that stuff that people are doing holding up the book!”  This is from a person who’s never written anything in his life; who knows NOTHING about indie publishing or any other kind of publishing, for that matter.  He reads a little article somewhere or seen something on the internet and now he’s an expert on how MY book should be published!  But, did HE donate a dime to my kickstarter project?  I don’t think so! But, he’s waiting for it to be published so he can benefit from it like everyone else!  Needless to say, I’m resigning my membership!

The Ugly side of Indie Publishing is that you (on the most part) have to go it ALONE!  And, I mean ALONE!  You spend longs hours alone trying to create, long hours alone rewriting, editing, tweaking, always alone…no one as much as drop by to bring you a cup of coffee (except, my youngest son and his wife who keeps me in Barnes & Nobles gift cards…bless their hearts!).  But, when your book is published and it begins to creep, then crawl, then move, skip, climb, jump, and dive to the top of the bestsellers list, here they come!  They always knew you would do it!  They ALWAYS had your back, they were just giving you space to work!

Now, this may not be the case for all indie writers; in fact, I’m sure it isn’t.  Many have supportive spouses, cats, dogs, pigs…maybe, even, a few horses, turtles, spiders, snakes!  Others have their gourmet coffee, lemon tea, kettle chips, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate eclairs, and the list goes on.  But, what we really need are PEOPLE!  Without people, our writing and/or publishing isn’t worth the time it took us to do it, perfect it, and put it out there for your enjoyment!  And, if we need a little help along the way, so be it!  GIVE IT, for goodness sake!

We can give help and support for the dumbest stuff:  TRUTH!  We Americans will donate Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars for the dumbest stuff on earth!  Plain Truth!  Save the Alligators!  Money by the bushels!  Save the Crabs!  Money donated by the yang yang!  Let’s study how far the Butterflies fly?  Millions of dollars come in!  CRAZY!  But, ARTISTS…ALL OF US…We have to GIVE AWAY THOUSANDS OF FREE BOOKS AND CDs JUST TO GET YOU TO BUY A FEW!  HARD TRUTH!  We have to struggle, but we do it, because we believe we have something beautiful to offer.  And, we believe in it so much that if you aren’t willing to help us to get it to you, then we’ll struggle on our own to get it to you, even to the point of having to PAY OUT OF OUR OWN POCKETS to get it TO YOU FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT.

Now that I’m one of them, I totally understand the term “struggling artist.”  You struggle against your inner demons, you struggle against self-doubt, you struggle against systematic defeat (from time to time), you struggle against hindrances, your family, society at large; you struggle to get something passionate and beautiful into the hands of society; to share a little piece of yourself, and hope in the process, you’ve touched someone in some small, significant way…enough to be rewarded in return,  if only with appreciation.  I ask you:  Am I worthy of your appreciation?  Or, am I not?  I’ve given you several lengthy excepts of my writing to give you a feel for my talent, my style…what more can I give you to get your support for my book?  Is $5 or even $10 too much to ask for your help?  I’ve done my part, the rest is up to you.

So, there you have it!  My heart on my sleeve and the plain truth as ugly as it may be.
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