Before I move on to the shameless self-promotion of my new book, I’d like to address an issue I’ve been seeing on various writer’s forums (that I don’t participate in—I admit, I’m an ardent lurker). There seems to be this sense that the whole Amazon-Kindle self-publishing scheme is failing in a big way, and that the entire system is irreparably broken.
I don’t know if this is actually true or if it’s simply panic on the part of writers who have finally realized—with their fifth or sixth book or whatever—how unbearably difficult the process is and that there’s probably little hope that their careers as writers will ever progress in a significant way.
Here’s what is true: There have been many, many ‘glitches’ in the system, particularly in the area of sales-reporting. This has been true from the start: when you’re dealing with millions of writers, statistically, things are bound to go wrong. But this is little comfort when it happens to you. Also true is that there are millions of pieces of work out there, floating about in cyberspace. Now they all fit out there very comfortably and get along in co-existence, but not so well at the Amazon website, where they fight and try to trample each other, in a true book-eat-book world. It’s true that readers are overwhelmed for choice, and it’s also true there is a massive amount of competition for eyeballs. But it doesn’t mean the sky is falling in. So don’t panic yet.
If you’re born to be a writer, you’ll be a writer no matter what. You should not base your worth as a writer on your sales figures, or lack of them. Just write, and take joy in that. As for Amazon self-publishing, the cumbersome and glitch-prone system seems to be working exactly the way it’s supposed to. It’s really a giant slush pile, and its customers are the acquiring editors. As far as I’m concerned it’s still infinitely better–and certainly more democratic– than the query-letter and over-the-transom routine.
But what do I know? Maybe the Amazon-Kindle thing is imploding. But if it does… will I stop writing? Probably not. It wouldn’t matter much for me, being at a low point sales-wise anyway. The real tragedy would be that my books suddenly shoot to best-seller-dom– and then the whole thing crashes. That would just be my luck!