I’m in a library waiting for a writers’ group that I’ll be speaking with. My topic is self publishing—indie publishing these days. It’s a hot topic again. It resurfaces every few years, each time with greater fervor. Years ago, a self published book made it to the best seller list and the self publishing market got a huge boost.
People believe in what they write. I’ve mentioned this before.
The following few years other self published books found their way to the best seller lists, too. More hype. Behind many of these books was a huge marketing push. Some authors spent literally tens of thousands of dollars on marketing, and spent even more time than a full time job would have taken them. People talked about it, and that fueled sales, which fueled more talk, which helped the books sell even more.
No one talked about the 90,000 to 150,000 other books that were self published and went nowhere. And here we are again with indie publishing. The costs have dropped significantly for production—not just because of ebooks, but because of POD, too. And, with the internet, there is little cost in direct mail—time mostly.
And here’s the rub. Free is never free.
It takes me either personal time or the cost of hired help to create a layout of a book, a cover for the book, to upload everything to an ebook platform (times three or four if I want to be on other platforms), and to keep track of sales. To build a platform, I also have to produce my own PR or advertising—this blog post, for example. Plus, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn, Good Reads, Google+, and other social media sites that have less and less to do with being social and more to do with selling your wares—along with other authors, artists, jewelry makers, pizza shops, car insurance companies, and everyone else. I don’t buy electronics components, but I could do that by linking to companies on Twitter or Facebook.
My time is used differently now than ever before.
Where I used to spend time with my wife and family after my morning writing, I’m now checking my social media sites—oh, and my email. Instead of taking a long, regenerative walk in nature, I’m writing a blog post, guest blog post, or producing a video. Instead of working my day job, I’m sometimes checking my social media sites. That’s when this question cropped up: If I spend this social media time on my day job, what is it worth? Also, if I spend this social media time with my family, what’s that worth? Thirdly, if I write another blog instead of a poem, a short story, or a novel, what the hell am I doing?
I don’t begrudge marketing by any means, I just wonder what my time is worth. I refuse to get to the end of my life and before that last breath check my Facebook account. I want to hold my wife’s hand, tell my kids I love them, or perhaps, if there’s a quiet moment, write that last poem.
Terry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. He is a Pushcart nominee. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. His novels, “Wolf’s Rite” and “Cathedral of Dreams” were ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists in the science fiction category, and his novel “Sweet Song” won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera is, “Hear No Evil”, his latest fantasy is “Doublesight”, his latest mainstream/literary novel is “Ten Months in Wonderland”.