As a writer, my stories are my babies. If I lost one, I would be devastated. Like, slip into a severe depression and contemplate quitting as a writer altogether, kind of depression. I have known MANY fellow writers who have experienced this. Their hard drive dies with all their manuscripts on it, and they’re lost forever. Their physical notebook was left on the bus or destroyed when someone spilled a drink on it. Their flash-drive went missing. Their file became corrupted. Their cloud storage got hacked, or everything got cleared out. Nightmare scenario after nightmare scenario. I’ve heard of writers losing their life’s work in some of the most devastating and permanent ways, leaving them distraught and defeated. But, thankfully, I can say the worst I’ve ever had was losing maybe a few too many valuable paragraphs (usually due to always living in areas with brownouts and working from a desktop computer). I have never lost a significant amount of my work before, but the fear of that happening is real – very real! Fear of losing my work is right up there with my fear of losing teeth, June bugs, and lasers (some of my fears are weird). So how have I, who have been writing for 19 years, managed to avoid such calamity? Well, here is my system to ensure you NEVER EVER lose your writing.
A couple of years ago, when I was still considering getting Torn Apart traditionally published, I submitted my manuscript to every agent and publishing house I could find that I thought would even remotely be interested in my book. To my surprise and delight, I was actually offered a publishing contract from a small publishing house. But after reviewing their contract, asking many questions, and some careful consideration on my part, I declined their offer. Why? Who would turn down an offer to be published?
Well, the thing is, Small/Indie Publishing isn’t quite the same as Traditional Publishing. Don’t get me wrong, many are great, and most can do a lot to help an author start their career, but they can’t do everything that traditional publishing houses can, and they’re not right for every author. So what are the differences, and is Indy publishing right for you?
It’s no secret that most writers are starving artists. There are few who have won the best-seller Lottery and can afford to live on their royalties alone. Most of us struggle just to afford the up-front expenses involved in being a writer. Arguably in today’s modern world of self-publishing, you can do a great many things for free, but not everything. If you want a leg-up in the publishing world, you’re going to have to drop some coin, even if you’re a small-time self-published Indy author – there will be expenses. What expenses? How much?
Well, here’s the truth of how much it really costs to be a writer.
All right, you just published your first novel. Now to sit back and rake in all those sweet, sweet royalties.
Oh, wait, yeah, there’s not a whole lot of that, is there? Not if you’re a first-time or indie author unless you win the Lottery, as I’ve discussed in one of my previous posts. The truth is most writers (even the traditionally published) cannot make a living from their writing. Most writers can barely recoup their marketing, editing, and other writing-related costs. So what are you going to do with your first book? Well, the best thing you can do is give it away for free.
Fanfiction is a subject of contention among the writing community. Many vehemently hate it and consider it to be a desecration of the author’s original intent and copyrighted works. Many people hate it because there are so many fanfictions that are just poorly written garbage, and to be fair, most of them are pretty terrible. Others believe that it’s a harmless creative outlet for die-hard fans who have fallen so in love with the universe and characters created by an author that they can’t get enough and continue to explore the story/characters on their own. Isn’t inspiring the imagination of others with your work a form of flattery? A lot of fanfiction greatly deviates from the source material to the point of being almost unrecognizable from the author’s original fiction (aside from some names, physical descriptions, and settings), but the author’s original work is still what set off that spark of inspiration that caused them to write that story in the first place. Many modern original fiction authors actually cut their teeth by writing fanfiction first.
So what do I think of fanfiction, and what is my personal policy on it?