It’s been two weeks since I finished graduate school, effectively closing a recent chapter in my life. Like any unfinished book, however, there is another chapter just beginning. Life is constantly on the move. I did take last week to relax and get away with the family, but even that trip was influenced by this new path I’m on, as I was pursuing a job opportunity in the area.
Most of the time was spent decompressing: playing in the pool, playing board games, playing video games. Lots of playing and having fun with my family, something there wasn’t a lot of time for the last six months. The end of my Master’s program was one of the most stressful academic experiences I’ve ever had, juggling student teaching, high-stakes assessments that determined whether I would be certified by the state, and finishing classwork necessary to earn my degree. Not to mention starting the hunt for employment.
The point of this post, though, is not to bemoan my burdens of the past. The reason I’m sharing what my life was like since the start of the year is to frame a valuable lesson I learned about writing. Or more specifically, trying to self-publish my writing.
Back in January, I decided I wanted to try self-publishing. I had been following the evolution of this new market and thought it might be a good time to test the waters. And I had the perfect subject for this new endeavor, a short story that had been printed in an anthology a year ago, but which I still had the rights to reprint. Start small, I thought, with a piece that already had some traction. It would make for a good selling point as I tried to market it.
What I didn’t really account for was how much time I wouldn’t have for said marketing. The success of self-publishing lives or dies by how well the author can publicize their work. The Internet provides some excellent tools for marketing that didn’t exist ten years ago, but they require an investment of time to take full advantage of. I got a good start, publishing a couple posts on my blog and starting some discussions in groups I was a member of on different social networks.
Then the new term started at school, and I was back in my middle school classroom teaching, and I dropped everything else. My experiment in self-publishing was no longer a priority, and so it languished in obscurity on Amazon.
Moral of the story: if you can’t or aren’t willing to spend time marketing yourself and your writing, self-publishing is not a viable career path if you expect to make a living off your work. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but sometimes it’s necessary to reiterate with someone’s actual experience as an example.
There is a silver lining to this cloud, though. The beauty of e-books is that nothing prevents me from picking up where I left off. I don’t have to order another print run. The file is still available to anyone with an Internet connection and a Kindle (and soon, a Nook). So, to kick off this new marketing campaign, I’m announcing a Summer Sale on “Relvan’s Rescue.” Unfortunately, Amazon does not have any functionality to support discount codes, so I’m just knocking the price down to $0.99 for the next couple months. That’s 50% off. Now’s a great time to introduce yourself–or someone you know who loves good fantasy fiction–to Janner Kohl, mercenary captain and Sword & Sorcery hero.
And I hope to be able to make an announcement about a new Janner Kohl adventure soon.