Friday, July 1, 2011

It's like having a new career, all of a sudden

It's the career I've always dreamed about, too.  Writing for a living.

Dean Wesley Smith recently blogged about the amount of time it takes to write four novels a year.

It comes to something like an hour and twenty minutes a day.

I'm a little slower than Dean, probably--and I do love tinkering and revising, which he sort of advises against--but I imagine I could do three novels a year if I spent two hours a day at it.  Probably.  Even factoring all the time it takes to clean my computer screen.

The thing is, with indie publishing, it's a done deal.  If I just apply the seat of my pants to the surface of the chair and the tips of my fingers to the keyboard, I will produce a product to be offered for sale right alongside Stephen King and John Grisham.

That's heady stuff.

I can write whatever I want.  However much I want.  I can write utter crap and put it out, with no one to stop me.

No one to stop me.  That's an amazing thing.

I've no intention of writing utter crap, by the way.  Just in case you were wondering.

No, if I hope to receive an income from this work, it strikes me that I'd better do the best damned job I can possibly do.

Now, I'm not going to make a habit of blogging much about my personal life here, but today I'll make an exception because it's germane to my topic.

I'm in my late fifties, unemployed, and I live in a trailer park in North Carolina where the newest trailer is well past thirty years old.  I can't afford internet access so I use the computers at the public library.  I get food stamps and unemployment but I'm behind on my rent, and believe me, it's a source of anxiety.  I have 8 cats that I love a lot, but when one of them gets sick I can't afford to take them to the vet--I was going to call the humane society and ask if there was someplace I could take Sugar when she was sick, and if there had been nothing available I'd have tried to work out something with a veterinarian--but obviously, there aren't any guarantees in a situation like mine.

I used to make a sort of modest lower-class living as a ceramic tile mechanic before the economy imploded and the housing market went to hell.  These days I can't even get on at Wal-Mart--I tried.  My last job was working in a factory for minimum wage, and as an English-speaking person I was in the minority.

I've been writing for years, and I've watched in dismay as the number of places you could send an unsolicited manuscript steadily shrank.  And now, as I understand it, the world of traditional publishing is in such a state of upheaval that I might as well not bother with them anyway just now, even if I were so inclined.

So is it any wonder that I greet the world of indie publishing with a great deal of joy and hope?

I've thought long and hard and carefully how I should proceed, and it feels right to me that my first e-book will contain five pieces of my best short fiction, the oldest of which was written in 1989, at an introductory price.

I love it that I'm free to make a decision like that!

I think it's very possible that my income from the book will at least match what I was making at the factory--and I'll be working three or four hours a day sitting down, instead of twelve hours on my feet.

Why wouldn't  I want to be an indie writer?

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