Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Getting Back in the Game

It's been several years since I published anything new, and withdraw all my work from Amazon and Smashwords. Burnout had something to do with it. And the difficulty of pulling together the necessary mental and physical effort. Because writing does require both mental and physical energy. To top all that off, self-publishing has become more difficult. Not the publishing itself, but the constant promotion needed to avoid being swamped by the floods of material coming out every year. Without participation in social media, and all the varieties of self-promotion, you might just as well not bother to write.

Increasingly, publishing on Amazon is a obstacle course that's always putting new blocks in the way of being noticed at all. Algorithms change, how Amazon presents books on the page changes, and who it supports and who it ignores, and why, discourages even writers who've been successful there.

My sales numbers were always low, on both Amazon and Smashwords, which was fine -- I wasn't writing potential best sellers -- but they eventually dropped to near-zero and then zero. The lesson was that if you choose to be invisible on the internet, then your books will also be invisible.

Still, writing is an important part of who I am, so I'm going to give it another try. Still no social media, and only this lone blog to block the way to protect me from fading into total invisibility. But some things will change. I have many grievances against Amazon, and not just about publishing there. As a distributor, Smashwords has failed to keep up with the changes that are needed to support writers -- and readers.

Draft2Digital has been around for quite a while, and now seems to have surpassed Smashwords in its advantages for writers. So, when I'm ready, I'll be trying it out. For now, besides working slowly on a novel and several other projects, I've started revisions on the last novel I published, Camp Expendable. So far, five chapters in, it hasn't required massive changes, and I hope that will continue.

I'm also considering the possibility of posting some work here, probably excerpts from works-in-progress or fragments of ideas not yet fully developed. It's all near-future science fiction, mostly dystopian and centered on climate change and criminal justice. No aliens, no space ships, no save-the-world teens.

If I can keep to the plan that, at the moment, seems doable, the blog will be a mix of my usual commentary, plus short book reviews, commentary on various aspects of writing and publishing and writing, and my own writing-in-progress.

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