Monday, February 28, 2011

Today, I'm Dr. Jekyll

So here's the Jekyll and Hyde of it all...

I've been of two minds lately: one side of me says "go, go, go" with the self-publishing. The cold hard fact is that people are really making money...some of them good money...publishing directly to the Kindle. How long will this last? No one knows, but "infinite growth" is impossible; history is filled with examples. So Mr. Hyde (he's the ugly one) wants to jump in (er, cash in) while he can.

But is he really the ugly one?

Dr. Jekyll is the half who wants to keep "improving my craft" and strives for professional membership in the HWA and/or the SFWA. He's the one who made me hammer away at my little stories until landing that (cue hautboys) Shimmer acceptance. But wait...wasn't it Jekyll who gave birth to Hyde in the first place? Isn't Hyde just another side of his personality?

What does Jekyll really want? Awards? Accolades? Acceptance from the cool kids who get to play "professional writer"? Are those things really any different than cashing in on the Kindle craze? Damn it, Jekyll! You made this monster, now man up and do something about him!

*deep breath* Okay. Call it "growing pains". What do I do next? Can I find a way to sate both sides of my writerly self?

Today, I'm Dr. Jekyll. I need to put final edits on a short story. I like the story; I've worked hard on the story. Should the target market accept it, I think I'll make something like $30, minus Paypal fees. Hopefully a hundred people will read it. Mr. Hyde is laughing at me, just like he did all last week while I toiled away at my 2677 edits for The Saints are Dead.

*sigh*

19 comments:

Michael Stone said...

I'm a bit of a stick-in-the-mud where self-publishing is concerned, so go Dr Jekyll!

Katey said...

It really is a question of what you want, isn't it? It's one of those things that's odd to discuss with other people who write, but also necessary, if only to narrow and refine your focus. Chewing it over and over in your own brain just makes a mess.

So what DO you want? I can tell you what *I* want, but that's not a lot of help. I'd love to know what'd be good for Aaron, though.

Aaron Polson said...

Mike - I wholeheartedly respect that POV. Even Hyde has his doubts.

Katey - I guess that's the real question, isn't it? I want people to read my work. Maybe both Jekyll and Hyde will get me there. Maybe. As for "respect" as a writer...that's something I worry about, too, but something over which I have little control. (What is it you want?)

Lee Thompson said...

You can do both, Aaron. Then you get double the satisfaction. Just make some works for markets you love and some for Kindle or wherever. Quit fighting both sides, eh? :P

Aaron Polson said...

Lee - I *think* I can. Of course, with Jekyll and Hyde, one wants to be in charge.

Barry Napier said...

Sigh, as you alerady know, my post today was pretty similar to this. I assure you it was not intentional.

Brendan P. Myers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brendan P. Myers said...

(Deleted my rant. Sorry about that! But what you wrote struck a chord. Anyhow, go with your gut. I don't think there is any "right" answer in these troubled publishing times. As always, best of luck!)

Aaron Polson said...

Barry - It would have been cool if it was (intentional). Power to the people.

Brendan - I'm glad I had a chance to read your rant. Few, if any "make it" with shorts anymore. Hell, few "make it" at all. We do live in troubled times.

K.C. Shaw said...

I'm thinking about this too for one of my older books. When it gets its next rejection, essentially there are no more markets open for it except very small ones. So is it better to go with a tiny publisher that might not sell more than a dozen or two copies but is still a publisher, or is it smarter to self-publish and see where that goes? The big drawback for me (probably not so much for you) is having to deal with cover art, formatting, and so forth, which for me would be a major time sink and I probably wouldn't get it right.

Cate Gardner said...

You only live once (maybe--hey I write spec fiction) so do whatever pleases you and not others. We all have different paths. As for respect, for what it's worth, you'll always have mine.

Aaron Polson said...

K.C. - Cover art could be a hiccup, but if you manage, all those dozen or two copies would be your sales...no sharing. ;)

Cate - Ditto. And once? I thought I got five or six cracks at this!

Natalie L. Sin said...

I think about self-publishing more and more.

Danielle Ferries said...

I agree that it's a question about what you really want. There is usually a flip side to everything you want to do, but I always try to go with my gut instinct. I usually let it overrule all others. Most times it pays off.

Milo James Fowler said...

Color me pragmatist, but I say do what works. If you get more readers by taking this route, then go for it. I just hope to keep doing what I've been doing for the past year and a half: following in your footsteps, about a hundred or so yards back. If I can't snag me an agent in the next year or two, I'll be taking the small press route you have; and after that, if eReading is even more popular by that point...who knows.

Kara McElhinny said...

All I can say is, follow your gut, it never lies and always tells you the truth about what you want.

Good luck, Aaron!

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - Bring on the Soul Jerky!

Danielle - My gut wants some cheese puffs right now. Is that wrong? ;)

Milo - Good luck man. It's a good road.

Kara - Thanks!

craighallam said...

Hiya Aaron.

I've been thinking about this myself and I'm just as torn up about it as you seem to be. Basically, my one goal is to be published, properly published. But I've written three novels now and I only think the latest one is ready for agents (which has been sent out into the fray already). But what of the other two? I love those books, and the idea. Maybe a smaller eMarket would get them out there, people reading them, and even if it attracts attention to my blog, it's a little win of sorts.

Apart from that, the short story market book-wise is almost non-existent unless you're awesome, lucky or uber-famous already. So why not use all these hundreds of stories as an ebook?

In the end, what would it hurt? I only see positives as long as you pick carefully what gets epublished and what goes through the regular channels.

Craig

Danielle Ferries said...

Have the cheese puffs. Some tasty eats will help make your decision. That's what I tell myself anyway :)