Hello, readers! Yes, I know what day it is. I will honor April Fools’ by refusing to give a damn, and posting something serious on April Fools’ anyway.
So… no use dancing around this. I’ve been kind of a shitty person about trying to get people to buy my books in the past. At least, that’s how it feels to me. Wheedling, cajoling, nudging shoulders, using calls to action to try and force people to evangelize for me. Perhaps some of that comes from overly-negative self-image. Still, I don’t like the way I chose to act about this or how it made me feel.
Now, with that in mind, I’m not going to stop writing, and I’m not going to stop writing books. A simple answer occurs to me, now that I’ve worked through the worst of my longstanding, stubborn insistence on putting myself out there as a trauma response to feeling misunderstood and overlooked. I was misunderstood and overlooked, but that doesn’t mean the response was healthy.
So, yes, of course I still love telling stories, both about myself (if a snide Renaissance Italian gets to do it, then so does this 21st century witch!) and fictional characters. Novels as a long-form medium fill a very particular need I have to experience characters as complete people–everyone a person-in-continuum capable of good and evil, wisdom and folly, skill and ineptitude, cowardice and courage, success and failure. Few other stories can feed me quite the same way. A well-executed RPG is the only thing I know of that hits the same way.
But writing a book doesn’t mean I have to publish it. Again, very simple conclusion now that I’m not trying to push normal decision-making through the saw-tooth sieve of trauma. In just the last eight months, I published two short novels: Sword of the Outsider in its final form as a paid-for Ebook and paperback, and a version of The Way to Kandge-Brad that I’m comfortable leaving out in the wild as a freebie.
I hope to polish up The Way to Kandge-Brad as a long-form novel one day, giving me more time to explore the Immortals and Creation’s Fringe and maybe even set up some hooks for future novels on the Fringe, but whether or not I will is an open question.
I also published the novellas Urhexen and Assignation by the Void Ignited. Both of these books were meant to be short stories and ballooned into much longer pieces. They have their flaws, but they’re interesting and solid enough I’m happy to leave them standing on their own. All told, that’s over the 200,000 words in the Twin Spirals Mythos just counting designated books. Adding on short stories, lore, poetry, my mystical musings… I’ve got a rather impressive body of work for someone who hasn’t yet hit 30!
I’ve updated the My Books page of this blog with the three free titles. I’m so excited to play out all ideas I’ve shaped or discovered in these four pieces in the years to come! I haven’t felt this full of stories to tell in, well… ever!
With that in mind, publishing books imposes a considerable mental toll. The awareness that I’m writing a book I intend to publish imposes a related yet separate toll. I believe it was healthy for me as a person and as a writer to grapple with that for these four books. Going forward, though? I’ve learned what there is to learn from that burden. I want to free my writing from it.
So, I’ll most likely write many books in the years to come, including all those I’ve teased on this blog in the last few months! As for publishing them, though, I won’t do that unless I get to a point where I know there’ll be a big, enthusiastic readership eager to connect with each other around my words. Followings like that take a long time, continuous effort, and a whole lot of luck. Lots of little stories and slow-burn interest. I know the audiences for my work exist, but at this point, I think I need to let them find me and then publish all the long-form stories I’ll have saved up during the waiting days.
Nobody disappointed me or broke my heart–except, in the past, myself. No calls to action here. Just… this is the right way forward, you know? I’ll keep writing short stories and serial works with short story-length episodes that don’t have the same all-at-once burden as a full-blown novel.
For now? Thank you so much for reading through this, and I hope to see you all there for the many bite-sized offerings I’ll share in the future! Until next time, readers dear!
2 thoughts on “Thoughts about writing my books versus publishing them”
Growing a following definitely takes effort, much like writing does. Fortunately though, I’ve found that it’s not as luck-dependent as getting published is. Either way, wishing you all the best on your writing journey!
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Thanks Stuart! Always happy to receive a comment! Yeah, I had my try at getting published traditionally from 2018-2019. A looooot of form rejections. Agents have the right to keep their reasoning to themselves, of course. Still, a pretty rough tincture to take as a writer submitting queries for the first time.
These days I’m too in love with the freedom that comes from indie writing to put much weight behind a second attempt. I guess if I ever happen to write something that feels suited, I’ll give it a shot, right? Anyway, thank you so much for the well-wishes, and I wish you the same! I see from your About page that you’re signed for a cyberpunk book–I hope that turns out great for you!