I have been publishing work for a little over a year now and have found it very gratifying. The draw to my work by readers could be better, but when you consider I only advertise on twitter and the web site, the interest is really more than I could have hoped. It did however get me thinking about publishing and why we want to publish.
We publish for different reasons. For some of us it is all about the money. For others its about the message the author wants to convey. Truth be told there are a number of reasons why we write and publish. So why do you write? Is your writing validated by publishing?
That is the tougher question. Validating your work through publishing can increase our confidence and motivate us… but why? Is it just to see your name on the cover? I tend to look at this from the standpoint of the reach my work actually gets. Publishing can definitely boost our confidence and drive us to do more sometimes, but when your work doesn’t draw interest in the form of unit sales, that confidence can turn into a depressed attitude and become more discouraging because your message is either not being heard or no one is really interested in what you want to say.
This was me. I wanted to tell a story… or a number of stories in my case and I started with a memoir that I know wouldn’t sell, but seeing that first copy arrive in the mail was extremely gratifying. I was officially published. It drove me to want more. So much so that I started to watch unit sales hourly for awhile – especially when I wrote a new piece. That is when the frustration set it, because while I saw eBook sales or KENP Pages go up, the unit sales just were not where I wanted.
Now I just received my first copies of all of my printed books and the frustration is still there, but not as much as before, because I notice that the eBook route is a better route than the printed. I realized that a printed copy has more value to me or to a reader who I have impacted enough to want to keep the story closer to them – a moment of sorts. The eBooks are for the story lovers that can’t get enough and who just love to read.
So, think about why you write first, then figure out if you want to share that story – knowing that not everyone will enjoy it, then figure out if it is worth the extra time and effort to publish it.