Why I’m stopping self-publishing

by Suw on December 12, 2014

tl;dr: For those who’ve come from any of the various posts mentioning this one, I do want to be very clear up front: I’m not stopping writing, I’m stopping selling what I’ve written. The mechanics of self-publishing were working against me, so I’ve refocused on writing and connecting with my readers via my newsletter, rather than publishing and promoting. 

This decision has been a long time coming, but as of about now, I am ceasing to self-publish my fiction. I shall continue to make my work available, but I shan’t be self-publishing in the way that most people understand it. There are a few things at play, and I’ll unpick them one by one.

The unholy mess that is VATMOSS

For those of you who haven’t heard, some time ago the EU decided that member countries would earn more in tax if only people selling digital ‘services’ (defined by the EU in the same way normal people would define ‘products’) would just pay tax in the country where that service was bought, rather than the country where the person or corporation selling resided. The is entirely because big companies like Amazon had set themselves up in Luxembourg to take advantage of a ridiculously low VAT rate, thus cheating other countries out of their dues.

I think most people want to see Amazon and other big players pay their fair share of tax, so on the surface of it the new legislation seems fine. But it isn’t. The new VAT law coming into force on Jan 1 also applies to every other person or company selling any digital service (aka product) in Europe. This law is known as VATMOSS after the ‘VAT mini one stop shop’ where you would register to pay your EU VAT.

This law applies globally, not just to people in the EU. It doesn’t matter where you are, if you sell a qualifying service (aka product), you have to register to pay VAT. And if you register to pay VAT on your EU sales, you (may, see below) also have to pay VAT on your UK sales, even if your turnover falls below the current £81k VAT threshold.

There has been an uproar about this amongst sole traders, the self-employed, and tiny businesses, whom HMRC totally ignored as they were drawing up their new VAT implementation. Luckily, there are rumblings that some changes might be on the way that would make it easier for small businesses like mine, such as allowing people to pay VAT only on their EU sales and not on their UK sales. But I have to make a decision before the end of the year: Keep on selling ebooks and deal with the VATMESS, or stop and avoid it.

I earn so little through ebook sales that there’s just no point in me continuing to sell them, as the time, energy and money spent on dealing with VATMOSS would be entirely wasted. There’s just no way that I would earn it back. So before the end of the year I will be removing my ebooks from sale here on Chocolate and Vodka.

Now, I know some people will simply say “Oh, but you can just sell through Amazon and not have to deal with VATMOSS!”, and yes, that’s true. Except I don’t want to sell through Amazon. I don’t like Amazon’s treatment of its employees and contract workers, the way it avoids tax, or the way that it treats the publishing industry in general. That doesn’t mean I’m a Big 5 shill — I believe they need to sort their shit out too. But I have for the last couple of years minimised my interactions with Amazon as much as I can. I’ve not been able to eradicate them completely, but I’ve done what I can to reduce how much money I give them. So no, I shall not be selling my ebooks via Amazon.

And yes, there are other etailers I could sell through, but again, there’s a cost-benefit analysis to be done and, given my meagre back catalogue and the fact that I am not producing new works at a fast enough rate, I’m back to finding it not worth the time right now.

Furthermore, selling through a marketplace simply means that you don’t have to register with VATMOSS, it doesn’t mean that you won’t pay VAT. Marketplaces such as Amazon will be responsible for dealing with VAT payments throughout the EU, but that cost will be passed on to the publisher by reducing the percentage of the list price that they earn. Basically, all your digital sales, no matter where you are and no matter what your annual turnover is, are about to take a hit of about 15 to 27 percent for VAT.

This upends the whole purpose of having a VAT threshold: If a UK business turns over less than £81k they should not be be paying VAT at all. This new law means that all suppliers of digital services (products) will now be paying VAT, either through the back door via the marketplaces they use, or paying it upfront through VATMOSS, making a complete mockery of the very concept of a VAT threshold.

I’ll also note that there’s a metric fuckton of other things wrong with VATMOSS which I’m not going to go into here. Just search Twitter for #VATMOSS and you’ll find a bunch of links to informative posts by people more expert than I. It really is a total clusterfuck.

The unholy mess that is self-publishing

Even without VATMOSS, I would be pulling my books offline. I’ve been thinking about doing it for months, I have just been preoccupied with first Ada Lovelace Day, and then with finishing up my online social media strategy course and haven’t had time to sort it out.

I have entirely fallen out of love with self-publishing. I started to get fed up with the verbiage, the self-congratulatory bullshit, the boasting, the ideologues preaching to their choirs, the judgemental cockwombles, and the ridiculous purity tests about a year ago.

Then came this move to the USA and I asked Forbes if I could have some time off from writing for them which they graciously agreed to. And over the last twelve months I have discovered that I rather like not writing about self-publishing. The conversations had become too combative, too politicised, too full of utter fucking shit to be either useful or enjoyable.

I tried to make sensible points in a sensible manner, tried to deflate some of the pockets of hot gas the would regularly blow up, but no one likes common sense. All people seemed to want was a good old bun fight, a nice little argument where they could spout their ideology and then shout at anyone who disagreed with them. I’m not one for arguing with testosterone-fuelled dickweasels, so yeah. Fuck. That. Shit.

And then there are the utterly batshit, arrogant self-published writers who behave like spoilt children denied their pudding. Not all of that bad behaviour was online, though a lot of it was (and is). But I saw it in person. Face to face. For example, the self-published writer with literally no experience of social media telling me that they know how Twitter works better than I do. Seriously. I’m not one to go all ‘Do you know who I fucking am?’ on people, but seriously, I’ve been doing social media for longer than it’s been called social media. If you want to tell me that you know best, you had better have a long fucking career in social media behind you and actual fucking evidence. Not a shitty novel and an ego the size of the Pacific.

I had come to a point of feeling bitterly disillusioned with self-publishing. Even the fact that there are some really wonderful, kind and generous people in self-publishing wasn’t enough to keep me feeling positive. In fact, some of those wonderful people in self-publishing told me that they too were feeling unhappy about how the public discourse was going, and how they were going to stay away from commenting on the more politicised aspects of it, because it had become just too toxic.

So that shit can get fucked and stay fucked.

The unholy mess that is my writing

But even if self-publishing was entirely devoid of the sort of bollockfaced shitnubbins (thank you, Buzzfeed, for that one) that drive me up the fucking wall, even if only delightfully lucid, intelligent, rational, sensible and evidence-driven people self-published, I would still be pulling my books off the internet.

Because self-publishing has stopped me from writing. I didn’t anticipate that particular side-effect. In fact, I had anticipated quite the opposite. I write my best stuff when I know it’s going to be read. I wouldn’t blog if I didn’t know that someone out there would be reading it. (Sorry for all the swearing in this, Aunty Jane, though hopefully you’ve picked up some new invective for use in everyday life.)

I was expecting my self-publishing to be a great new way to motivate me to write more, and instead, it has caused me to write less. I have had issues for a long time with getting my brain to co-operate with this whole writing malarkey. I’ve had years where not been a single idea has raised its head above the parapet. Years and years. And then I’ve had times where I’ve been happily writing daily, a joyous pig in only the very best of shit.

But there’s something about declaiming one’s status as a self-publisher that eats away at the exhilaration of writing, for me, anyway. There’s all that promotion you’re supposed to do, all that expectation attached to sales numbers, all that tedium about metadata. And I know some people love that, or at least put up with it without it harming their writing. Good luck to them. That’s not how it worked for me.

Instead, I found that it had become a form of creative poison. There was almost a sense of dread around the idea of finishing a new story, because if I finished a new story that meant moving on to the noxious phase of self-publishing — all the self-promotional crap that I hate doing, am bad at doing, and don’t want to do.

When you do something you love for a hobby and then try to turn that hobby into a business it can suck all the joy out of that thing that you do. Instead of being something you lie in bed dreaming of doing first thing the next morning, you find yourself thinking of literally anything else except that thing. Your hobby becomes a dry, tasteless, colourless husk of a thing, withered on the vine of your imagination.

I used to lie in bed and lull myself to sleep thinking of stories, of dialogue, of scenes, of characters and their backstories. Now I lull myself to sleep thinking of how I’m going to embroider my next Christmas tree ornament. And there really are only so many ways you can sew a bead or a bit of gold thread on to a circular bit of red linen.

If I’m ever going to write again, I need to reclaim it as something akin to hobby. It’s not, at this point in time or at this point in my life, a business, although that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t jump at any financial opportunities that came my way. But I need to find the joy in writing again, in the process of getting words on to paper, in the editing and the shaping and the polishing. I can do that better if I’m not thinking about what happens to the end product much beyond “…and then some people read it”.

So what am I going to do?

I do still want people to read what I write. I do still want an audience. But I want a smaller audience, a more intimate audience, one that I feel a greater connection to. So I shall be releasing my writing, in full and for free, to the people on my mailing list.

My feeling is that if someone cares enough about my writing to subscribe to my newsletter, then I care about producing the very best writing I can for them to enjoy. I will still put excerpts and some selected pieces in full on my website, as and when I feel like it, but the majority of my writing will go out to my subscribers.

How long this remains my modus operandi depends a lot on whether or not I get into a decent rhythm with my writing. If I can produce more work more regularly, then there’s a chance that I may do the occasional Kickstarter project to produce print books, but I won’t be able to sell ebooks directly at all until (or unless) the VATMESS is sorted out. Or my main business starts turning over more than £81k per year, and I think we all know how likely that is.

The demagogues of self-publishing encourage us to think big, but sometimes big is the wrong way to think. In the end, I felt uncomfortable self-publishing. I felt like I was walking round in clothes that were ten sizes too large. I need something more my size, and I think this small plan will do me nicely for now.

Scott Hughes December 12, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Good luck with the new approach. From a purely selfish perspective, I hope this helps you write more – I miss your wonderful stories.

One thing though, you say that you will stop Self Publishing. Will you be selling stories to any of the usual suspects?

All the best


Suw December 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Thanks for your kind words, Scott! That makes me very happy!

With regard to selling stories: The way the VATMOSS law stands, I cannot sell any ebooks direct to anyone in the EU because I’d then have to register of VAT and deal with all the overheads that dealing with VATMOSS entails. Even if I only sell one ebook at 99p to one person in the EU I would by law have to register. So there is no way that I can sell any ebooks at all because I can’t take that risk. (I’ll note here that the fines for breaking this law are potentially unlimited. Nice.)

There are two ways round this:

1. Give my ebooks away and allow people to donate if they want to. I may do this at some point.
2. Sell my ebooks online but send them by hand, ie you give me the money and I send you a handcrafted email, with your ebook hand-attached to the bottom of it. Apparently, that doesn’t qualify under VATMOSS laws as an automated service. But I’ll be buggered if I go through all that palaver. It just doesn’t scale. But it does illustrate the utter lunacy of these laws. Seriously, they are so batshit that even bats are looking at them and going ‘What the everliving fuck?’.

I won’t be using any marketplaces such as Amazon or Kobo or anything like that, because of point 3. I want to go back to a smaller, simpler world, where I’m writing for people who want to read what I do, and looking after them first, not worrying about what the rest of the world thinks.

I want to focus on the writing, and only the writing. The rest is, right now, a distraction.

clare weiner December 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Some very useful insights here. Also sense your anger in the a swearing which underlines it! SO, so, agree with “I tried to make sensible points in a sensible manner, tried to deflate some of the pockets of hot gas the would regularly blow up, but no one likes common sense.” I have this feeling constantly: row, yes: agree with logical argument? No, boring. Yes, the e-book thing is whizzing about, and we still need to sort the good from the indifferent among those. Yes, the necessity of social media ‘platform’ is somewhere between horrible and useless. I shall continue to self-pub for several reasons which makes it suit me, for now, but feel I’ll concentrate, oddly some will think, on paperback hard copy, not e-books. There seems no Nirvana for writers: thanks for putting up your views – heard you at Writers’ Platform Nov. 2013 and plunged into membership of ALLi – ironic!!

Suw December 12, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for your comment, Clare. I think it’s important that we each find the path that’s right for us, and not just blindly follow the same road as everyone else. What makes sense in one context doesn’t in another, and we don’t all have the same skills or personality.

I may next year produce some hand-bound books. I’m planning on buying a laser printer so that I can produce my own short runs without having to stump up huge amounts of cash to get a print run done but can print on demand. I love making books, and I want to get back to doing so!

Craig Warhurst December 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm

This is all quite depressing but entirely understandable. Argleton was one of my favourite reads in a long time. Having followed you on Twitter for a couple of years I’ve seen all this unfold so I’m not at all surprised that the camels’ back spied the fat bit of straw and decided it was just taking the piss.

I’ve written for myself for years but have always been put off really going for publishing because of the fame and fortune. Sure, the fortune bit would have been nice but it comes at a price – the endless round of book signings and breakfast tv shows. I want to sit in a cosy cabin in the woods writing, not dealing with the sickening circus of celebrity. Chances are my stuff wouldn’t make the grade anyway but I wasn’t prepared to take the risk. You are so right about the enjoyment aspect of things you like to do – in my late teens I was desperate to work with computers, having burnt much midnight oil programming Ataris and Commodores. My computer science degree course almost put me off, being too heavy on stuffy theory and too light on actual coding, but it was only when I got that dream job in IT that it turned sour. Being stuck in a dingy office hammering away at a tedious part of some huge project year after year without ever seeing your work come to some tangible fruition, that’s what made me fall out of love with computers.

I walked away from it all and became self-employed as a gardener. Now I’m back hobby coding and hobby writing and I’m a lot poorer but a hell of a lot happier. So I wish you the best of luck and hope this decision works out well for you.

helen December 13, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Thank you for this,
i was considering ebooks, however n ow i think i will give it a miss.
Currently i print my own books on demand and that works well for me, low numbers sold, but i enjoy the process…
good luck

Michelle Murrain December 15, 2014 at 6:40 am

What’s interesting about this is in a way, you are still self-publishing, just not sending things out to marketplaces. I think what’s been most interesting to me as a self-published author is how it has really managed to disintermediate – authors do get more access directly to their fans.

To me, that’s what’s been the most important part of the whole thing. And for me, since I don’t have a ready-made forum, it’s been the way I’ve found people who want to read what I write. Which has been fun, and has made me want to write more.

See, I’m frakking awful at self-promotion and marketing. I too hated the idea that after I wrote something, I’d have to go on this campaign thing, and do all the things. I happen to like social media, but really only for conversation, not for promotion. So I stopped thinking about it.

I blog, I tweet and facebook now and again, and I write. I get enough $ to buy a few lattes every month. But I know that a few people are reading and liking my stuff, and that’s enough.

Anyway, whatever choice works for you is the best choice. Congrats on making it.

Greg Strandberg December 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Wow, doesn’t take much for you to give up. How many books do you have, three? Just wasn’t fast enough, huh? That ol’ thing called success. Good luck with your new route to it.

Suw December 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Craig, thanks for a lovely comment. I am so glad that you enjoyed Argleton, and I hope that this shift will result in more writing. I’m already feeling more positive about spending time writing without the burden of all the other stuff that comes with self-publishing.

The issue with the relationship between publishing and fame/fortune is that often neither arrive, and if the fame does, the fortune frequently does not. Many well-known authors don’t really earn all that much, which makes the promotional burden all that heavier. However, I think there’s a lot of middle ground to occupy where one can be satisfied with one’s creative output and not have to deal with all the stuff that a minority of very successful authors have to deal with.

It is tricky balancing the urge to do something because you enjoy it and the need to earn a living, and it’s very easy to pick the wrong thing to try to make a living out of, or pick the wrong time. Now, if my writing took off I would be happy doing it for a living, but the time has to be right, and that time is not now. I need to focus on writing, not on self-publishing.

Suw December 15, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Helen, it’s funny you should mention printing your own books! My first self-publishing project was about creating physical books, and that’s something I would like to go back to: very small runs of hand-bound books. I’m planning on buying a laser printer so that I can produce higher quality print copies, and possibly a hot foil stamping machine so that I have a way to label the covers, but I won’t even think about actually doing that until later next year. Too much else on my plate right now. But I think short runs of hand-bound books would be fun to do. I love the whole idea of producing a book from end-to-end, from the idea all the way through to the binding. There’s something very satisfying about it.

Suw December 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Michelle, yes, I am still, technically, self-publishing I suppose in that I am still making what I write available to people, but I’m just doing it in a much more toned-down manner. It’s funny, I find myself wanting to use the phrase “traditional self-publishing” as a way to describe the most common way of self-publishing, but somehow using “traditional” for a methodology that’s less than a decade old seems quite wrong!

You mention a ready-made forum, but I think very few authors actually have that. I have found that although I’ve got a decent Twitter following and have written for Forbes etc., that did literally nothing to guarantee book sales. In fact, most of the self-promotion and marketing that I did achieved nothing, which does make it seem like a monumental waste of time. Better to spend that time writing, I think.

But I think your point that we all have to make the choices that are best for us is the important takeaway here. Do what you need to do, not just want others are doing.

Suw December 15, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Hm, Greg, I’m not quite sure what you’re hoping to achieve by posting such a rude comment. Maybe you don’t mean to be rude, but your comment comes across as mostly snarky and ignorant, even if I take the final sentence at face value.

But whilst most people say we should ignore those we might consider rude, I’d like to properly respond, because you raise the spectre of “giving up” and of success, and I feel that these are issues worthy of further exploration.

Firstly, am I giving up, and if I am giving up, is that important?

Well, I’m certainly giving up using the most common methods of self-publishing, yes, but I’m not giving up writing. In fact, I’m giving up selling ebooks for a number of reasons, the most logically-based of which is VATMOSS, and that would be the case unless I was earning over or near £81,000 per year in total, which is the point at which I’d have to register for VAT anyway. If was reaching that threshold, and a significant proportion of my income came from ebooks then it would be worth dealing with the VATMOSS mess. But I’m not, so it’s not.

Am I giving up writing? No, not at all. In fact, I’m giving up self-publishing so that I can focus more on writing, and as you’ve probably noticed, one has to have written in order to self-publish. I’ve found self-publishing discussions toxic, in great part due to needlessly combative and aggressive comments such as your own. There simply is no need to come on to someone’s blog, a complete stranger’s blog in fact, and be rude to them. So it’s people like you who have put me off engaging with self-publishing discussions. This toxicity has leached away my creativity, making me dread writing instead of love writing, as I used to, because finishing a piece meant having to deal with publishing it and that meant having to deal with people like you.

And what if I was giving up writing? Would that matter? It would matter only to me, and would be about whether giving up made me happier than continuing. There is no virtue in blindly continuing to do something that makes you unhappy if you have the option to change. Stubbornness is a double edged sword which can sometimes work wonders and sometimes prolong unnecessary unhappiness. I choose to give up when I think it’s the right thing to do, and I see it as a strength, not a weakness.

Now then, success. What is success? There are all sorts of successes. Financial. Emotional. Reputational. What sorts of success matter? The answer to that question depends not only on the person answering but also the when of their answer. My writing has not been financially successful, and that matters to some extent because if they had been I could have devoted more time to writing. As someone who is self-employed, I have to think carefully about how I spend my time.

But did I expect to be successful financially? Well, in the early days I hoped it might happen, but I also hoped I’d write more, so having not written more I did not expect to be financially successful. Finding time to write has always been a challenge when writing competes with running a business, running Ada Lovelace Day and, this last year, moving from one continent to another and entirely reconfiguring my business. Because I did not expect so few books to pay much more than peanuts, it’s not a criteria for success at this juncture. It might become one later, but it isn’t one now.

So how do I define success? For me, actually, success is about writing more, developing my craft, and having a small but happy group of people who like to read what I write. So does stopping selling my books affect my ability to succeed given my current personal definition of success? No. In fact, it will assist me.

At the end of the day, I ask one question: Will this decision help me write more? If the answer is yes, then I know I’m doing the right thing. In this case, the answer is yes.

You can sneer at me if you like, for not doing whatever it is that you think I should have done, but please do so on your own blog.

CJ Brown December 15, 2014 at 10:56 pm

I found your article interesting, but I was moved to respond after you ‘answered’ the person who thought he was calling you out on quitting. The base message you responded with is something I feel has been needed in my society for a very long time. I am no well traveled, therefore cannot make a sweeping statement about other countries. I have taught anthropology in a college setting to returning students (working adults) and noticed this fear fueled drive toward ‘success’ as defined by commercial interests (i.e. banks, real estate, anyone who would stand to benefit if you had more money to spend with them). The students often felt that they were never enough, their efforts were never enough and they never had enough time to enjoy their lives or their families.

Like you, I believe success needs to be individually defined. And we must reintroduce the idea that ‘to quit’ does not equal ‘to fail’. If someone is banging their head against a wall into a bloody pulp and decided ‘to quit’, would we say he had ‘failed’ because he had not yet lost consciousness? Or would we determine that he had finally made a rational decision based on his own need?

I could go on as others about understanding the disharmony of dealing with the trolls out there, but for me the jewel in the pudding is your response to the rude commenter–it spoke volumes. Thank you.

And welcome to the States. 🙂

Suw December 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Thank you, CJ, for your kind welcome and your insightful comment. I particularly like the phrase “fear-fueled drive towards ‘success'”, because that’s exactly what it is, and I think we all feel a bit of that at times. Or rather, a lot of it all the time. I do worry about the workaholism that infests much of western culture, and think there needs to be a better balance between getting your head down and working hard, and looking up to smell the roses. Working smarter, not harder, if you like. Though, of course, working smarter is easier said than done!!

Beth December 15, 2014 at 11:22 pm

All I can say is a massive thank you for this post. I’ve literally found your blog, today, and read this ONE post so far. My next step is to subscribe cos I think you’re fucking hilarious. And it’s bloody marvellous to discover someone else in the world who is so beautifully blunt, eloquent and potentially offensive (to them that don’t get it) simultaneously. I want to read more from you, madam, since I have a machiavellian feeling that I’m sure to gigglesnort LOTS throughout. I do hope you re-discover your love of writing. You are so bloody good at it, just from this post alone. There is a dark side to my own nicely written, well mannered blog, however that’s on hiatus since this whole vat mess debacle. I shall be paying attention to whatever lands in my email. 😉

Suw December 16, 2014 at 3:12 am

Thank you, Beth! Thank you so much for such a kind and generous comment! I do hope I live up to your expectations!!

David December 22, 2014 at 9:36 am

Hi Suw. Sorry to hear of your decision to cease self publishing, at least in the conventional form. But with the advent of VATMESS I can understand your frustration. Yet another reason why I will never list any of my books through Amazon.. I am continuing to self publish (at the moment), but it’s a massive uphill slog as although I know my books are good (rave reviews etc, and I’ve been earning my living for 25 years from writing and copywriting, so I have a vague idea waht I’m doing) I really have a problem with the way that social media encourages the lowest common denominator and superficial input. In short, quantity rather than quality, and that’s diametrically opposed to my own approach and my books. So after many different approaches, I’ve decided that trying to use social media to find my potential readership is an overwhelming waste of my time and effort. Kind of a parallel universe to yours I suppose, but for slightly different reasons. That inevitably means my books are largely unknown and will probably remain that way, which is a pity, but I’m not prepared to sell my soul to chase a pipe dream (if that isn’t a mixed metaphor). I enjoy your posts on Forbes, and you are obviously a good writer, so I hope that continues, as intelligent comment is a rarity these days. Good luck!

Edward Smith January 2, 2015 at 11:28 pm

Interesting post from someone leaving something I am just entering – I have scanned a lot of the blogs and linkedin groups on self publishing ebooks, but only to get a sense of the technical details. I write all the time and have since the age of 13 but only began to earn any money doing this a few years ago. I don’t write to earn though that would be nice – I write because I can’t stop writing. Submitting manuscripts to an agent and going through all that crap is something I could not stand – and as my writing now will only work in a multimedia eBook format I doubt anyone would ever publish it or could publish it other than Apple’s iBook for the iPad system. As for the VAT problem in Europe, being in Canada it doesn’t much affect me as I doubt I would ever sell there anyway, and if I did I would just use Amazon or Kobo or Smashwords for straight text based books – my multimedia passion means Apple will take care of all that anyway. BTW, I hate the term ‘enhanced eBook’ – my work is not enhanced, the multimedia is integral and often comes before the words…

Phil Wolff January 4, 2015 at 7:46 am

A thought on Sheboygan: Welcome to America! and congratulations on landing in a lovely place with one of the funniest names on the continent.

A thought on quitting: It’s called editing. You’re editing toward several truths: you only have so much time, some things work better than others, change when things aren’t working, and less is more. Good on you for wielding the red pen!

A thought on “self publishing” fiction. There are long-tail gamers. I listened to about eleven hours of a podcast by fiction writers who churn out novels in “series” in the television sense; each of them write about 60K words monthly, about 10-12 titles yearly. They use the Amazon experience as another form of social media to SEO with book titles, art, blurbs, genres, and the stories themselves. They see the first book in a series as a minimum viable product, a way to test the waters, a disposable bet to test ideas. Follow-on books are used to build genre audiences excited to follow characters through long story arcs. By the time they have five to eight books in a series, the series has a following and it pays off. –– They are a very different kind of writer and self-publisher than the craftsman who may take years on a novel instead of days.

On foul language: collect your favorites and publish a beautifully bound coffee table book. The perfect gift for loveable curmudgeons.

On VATMOSS: Thanks for explaining it. VATMESS is right. Part of a larger regulatory problem with designing for the companies of last century vs. the two newer models: the tiny free agents with their tribes and the vast transnational conglomerates, both operating across national borders.

Stay warm!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: