THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: HARD WORK PAYS
One thing you get told a lot when you're starting to publish, whether that's through the indie route or traditional, is that it will be hard work. I don't think anyone who goes through the query trenches, or through the editing process will ever doubt that because it's very much true. Whether you've had to query to get an agent, or if you're deciding to go it on your own and go indie, you're going to have to work hard to make it as an author, no matter what 'making it' mean to you.
It's not just a case of time and energy poured into writing that first draft, and then editing, and revising, and all that goes with it, but the cost to you personally. It can be monetary for those of us on the indie path, and it can be other things when it comes to the traditional path. You'll lose sleep, you'll spend hours upon hours going through things, and you may find that at the end of it, you're drained and unsure whether you want to continue on this author life.
I don't say this to depress you, or to discourage you, and of course, I can only talk about the indie path because that's the only one I've walked to completion. I say this because you should be aware that feeling like that? Feeling like it's all for nothing, or that you've given everything you have and don't know if you have any more? That is completely normal, and I guarantee that pretty much every author you've read, or known, or met, or whatever, has, at some point, felt that way too.
I have been publishing for a long while, over fifteen years, and I have to say that even though I'm very much a small fish, I do still feel that burn, that struggle, when it comes to bringing a book into the world. It's not an easy path to walk down, and I'd say that writing the book is in fact the easiest part. Telling yourself that story and getting it onto the page pales in comparison to revising, and editing, and going through the whole publication process. The anxiety you feel, the stress, the angst, the anguish when things go wrong (as they generally do) is completely normal. That doesn't make it easy to deal with though, and I get that on a deep level.
One thing that I have learned over the years, and that has stuck with me, is that it's all worth it in the end. Like I said, I'm very much a small fish when it comes to the world of publishing. I sell books, I get reviews, but I'm nowhere near a big name, and I'm pretty much okay with that. I can only imagine the amount of stress and pressure that must come from being a big name, and while the sales and such would be nice, I'm also happy to write my books for the readers that need them.
But my point is simply that, while on this hard road, you will learn to work out what works for you, how to reach those readers and how to make it so that your hard work pays off. While it can take a while for you to get into your groove, it's very much worth it. I've been writing my stories and publishing for a while, as I said, and I have never found it easy to publish. I have never found it a quick path that brings no stress, but that hard work pays off. That hard work is what brings the right readers to my work, and gives them the stories that they need to read.
So even when it feels like so much is going wrong, or feels like you're never going to get to the point where it's something you can brush off, remember that this path is a hard one, and it's completely normal to find it that way. Writing stories, writing books, publishing them, it's not a quick ride to riches and it's not a path that everyone can walk. Someone, years ago, once said to me that the world needs your stories, stories that only you can tell, and I have to agree that's the case. It's hard work yes, but it's rewarding work that is worth the hardship.
Keep writing, keep telling your stories, and know that there are readers out there who need them.
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!
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