A few weeks ago, my Uncle Rich posted a blog about confidence. I’ve meant to respond to it for awhile now, but finally…er…got up the confidence to do so.
At the moment, barring unforeseen difficulties, Echoes will be up on Nook and Kindle by early October. I was at a birthday party several weeks ago and a couple of friends asked what I was doing with the writing. I said “Nothing,” mostly because I didn’t feel like explaining the whole indie process, and I’ll be blunt, I still felt a mild sense of shame about the whole thing…even though the short story/novella print market is basically DOA and there’s nothing else to do with these shorter works, anyway.
The other day, I finally told one of them what I was doing. “YAY!” she exclaimed. “We should have a book launch party!”
The second part of her sentence paralyzed me with terror. Do indie authors get book launch parties? I mean, there’s not a physical book to look at. Are we going to gather around my Nook? Can I still say “I have a book coming out” even though people think “someone is publishing Suz’s book”? Do I have to provide ALL the indie info upfront so as not to mislead them? WHY CAN’T THE SKY BE PURPLE?
Rather than pepper her with questions about the morality of it all, I asked if we could have cake at this party.
Ironically, this all coincides with my half-hearted idea to have a very, very late housewarming party. I’ll have been here for a year on October 9, and never had a proper housewarming, mostly because wackiness at work erupted soon afterward, and then in November I quit my job, and after that hosting a party was the furthest thing from my mind. So I was already considering some kind of low-key gathering. Might as well say, “Hey, I wrote a book and people can BUY IT!” and make it an event, right?
Which is where the whole confidence thing comes in. Most pro writers don’t get a lot of press anymore—the top tier and their bus advertisements aside—and they’re stuck doing their own self-promotion, too. So it’s not like I’m doing anything overly different. But I have to be my own promoter, and that is not my strong suit. I lack confidence in my ability to do that without coming off as overly pushy or just…obnoxious, I guess.
Strangely enough, Echoes is not the problem. I like the story. I am confident that when it is up there, it will be polished and properly formatted—people may not like the story or my writing or my characters, but no one will have a reason to complain about strange symbols or misplaced apostrophes or sentences that just stop. I guess I’m just concerned about that stigma… “Oh, Suz self-published. She cheated. She’s one of them. And she’s full of herself, too!”
But that’s one of the things you have to get over if you decide to do this. I make it a little easier for myself by recalling that there is virtually no print market left for short stories or novellas unless you get into an anthology, and Echoes is a) not romantic enough for the romance anthologies, and b) too long for the sci-fi anthologies. There is literally nowhere else for this story to go besides the Internet.
So I took the first step in marketing myself by actually going on Facebook and announcing to my…er…70 friends that yes, I am doing this thing. I posted the cover art in progress, which I actually really, really like, although it needs to be lightened a bit and maybe have some additional stars filled in.
Then I revamped my pro site—switched to a simpler template, cleared out all the random entries, just smoothed everything out, really. I like it much better. One day, after I learn proper coding or can afford to hire a designer, I’ll have my own Suzesque site…but until then, this will work fine. It’s clean, simple, and easy to navigate.
In The Iliad, Hektor admits to his wife, Andromache, that he is not a warrior by nature—“I have learned to be valiant.” This is basically what I have to do.
(Now, Hektor wound up getting slaughtered by Achilles and dragged around the city of Troy, but we’re going to hope I manage to escape that sad fate.)