Two years ago on a book blog, I came across an announcement about a young adult book that sounded like an excellent read. As a homeschool mom, I paid attention to any opportunities to introduce my teens to books that would expose them to a wide-variety of genres and stimulate discussions. This book sounded like an intense thriller where a group of teens had to meet a killer’s demands of sacrificing one person from the group or they all died.
With much eagerness, I went to Kobo to see if I could buy the book. I couldn’t find it. I switched over to Amazon because not all publishers post books I want to read as a Kobo book. No luck there either.
Finally, I went to the author’s website where I read a blog post about the book’s creation and the upcoming publishing date of eighteen months in the future. Eighteen months???
No wonder well-meaning adults told me I couldn’t make a career as a fiction writer. If my book needed to spend at least a year (or longer) making the rounds to publishers hoping to get published, and then over a year to get published, my bills aren’t getting paid by that book. And, if the same timeline plays out for the next book, I’m not paying the bills with the second book either.
This lightbulb moment pulled me toward Indie publishing. I can take a written novel, send it to a copyeditor, make the covers, and publish the book in multiple formats in less than a month. The longest part is waiting for the copyeditor to finish the edits because I’m not their only client.
The other thing I realized, that threw my writing friends into a panic, was that to make a steady income with my fiction writing, I needed to stop looking at my novels as “the novel” — the one that is going to pay my bills — and start looking at my novels as a product, meaning that when I finish one novel, I start on the next one, while editing happens.
The more product I have, the more money I will eventually make.
This doesn’t mean that while I’m writing, I’m thinking about my story as a product. I’m thinking about my story as entertainment for me. Once it’s finished, the story becomes entertainment for my readers. I can’t think about entertaining readers while I’m writing, otherwise I worry too much about what people think.
Sadly, the author’s book was added to a homeschool reading list that got tossed because my teens have graduated. My personal reading list is so huge I didn’t bother to add it to my own.
Maybe serendipity will lead me to the book. If it doesn’t, I’m grateful that the author’s experience helped me decide the path I wanted to take for my career and helped me learn to see my stories as a product.