“Thank You for Ten”: Some Pre-Launch Thoughts
Well, tomorrow is it. I will launch “Thank You for Ten: Short Fiction About a Little Theater” and make it available for purchase. All technical aspects have to the best of my understanding been taken care of. I’ve talked it up quite a bit over the last eight weeks or so, and I’ve processed the experience of self-publishing as best as I can. All that remains now, barring something I have forgotten, is to say “go buy it!” starting tomorrow. (I’ll be a bit more civilized than that when the time comes, I assure you.)
A lot of things to think about and to say, which is why I am writing this rare Friday blog post. I wanted to say some things on the day right before I launched. It just seems like a natural progression to me that way.
As for the actual process of self-publishing a book of this nature, much of what I’m feeling today can be summed up by saying that it wasn’t as bad as I feared it might be.
Yes, there’s been much about the technical aspects that I found frustrating at times, yet it wasn’t as frustrating or as worrisome as I initially feared. Typing with the proper formatting for ebooks takes some getting used to, and I know I haven’t memorized all of that nuance of it. I’ll need to refer to the guide again the next time I self-publish. But at least I won’t be doing it cold. I’ll have some acquired knowledge with which to work, and I need only remind myself of the how-to. It’s contrary to much much of how I’ve typed over my life, but a certain logic emerges from the new rules as you practice them.
The snafu with the cover is probably the chapter in this mini-saga that put me off of the process the most. I think that’s because I thought I had that totally covered without the need for help. I’m grateful of course for the quick help I got with that issue, but there was just something about messing that up that rubbed me the wrong way at the time, (and I admit it still does slightly, even today.) But even that didn’t sink the ship. With the aforementioned help I got out of that virtually unscathed and still on schedule. Covers will probably remain the trickiest part of this for me, but I don’t have to worry about that again for a while.
I foresee a minimalist approach to most of my future writings, when it comes to technical aspects. Not only because its easier to handle, but because I don’t believe in a lot of extra bells and whistles for my fiction anyway. I can’t say I won’t ever try to insert a graphic into a book I’m publishing, or experiment with less common fonts. But I didn’t this time, and don’t intend to in the foreseeable future. To me a clean, professional presentation within my ebooks is the best service I can render to my readers and to the stories I write.
And it is, in the end, about the stories. Writing a solid, enjoyable story that can speak for itself so long as it’s well formatted and edited and clean to read in most devices. However far this collection goes with readers, however many copies I sell, I can rest at the end of the publishing process knowing that I’ve taken great care to be professional and presentable, (even if minimalist in my approach.) I can relax knowing that everything I’ve done is in service to the stories.
This of course brings up the topic of marketing and selling the stories. I do have a sales goal, but I won’t share that out loud right now. I’d like to keep that private, and see how that feels for a while. I may share that goal with all of you later, if I feel I am near meeting it, or it be sharing it I can serve fellow writers thinking about self-publishing. But for now I want that particular metric to be between me and myself. I can say though, to all who may be worried about such things, that I have modest expectations, but am prepared for lofty results that exceed them, should they come my way.
I don’t plan to read many reviews I get on the work, at least not for a long while. I do write stories to be enjoyed, but at the same time, once they are out there for sale, I won’t be changing them based on what other people say about them. Anyone who writes a negative review on this collection is certainly entitled to their opinion, but I don’t think it benefits anyone involved for me to read every single thought someone has on it. People are going to like what I’ve created or they’re not.
That doesn’t mean I’m not at all nervous about making my stories available tomorrow. I am. It’s not crippling, but I can’t help but feel that I’m crossing a different kind of threshold tomorrow. Like opening night feels just before curtain; I know I’ve worked hard and believe in what I’ve accomplished, but in the end I can’t control what people think of my performance. No artist can, and though they mustn’t let themselves be devastated by a lack of response, any artist would be lying if they claimed they didn’t care at all about the reception of their work. They do. I do. Falling short of my goals for this collection, as with any other project, would be sad to me, and I won’t pretend that I can move heaven and earth in order to assure otherwise.
What I can do is remind myself that this experience, both the creative and the technical aspects, are the best they can possibly be given the resources and skills that I have at this time. There’s always room for improvement, but for the first time out I’m secure in the knowledge that I’ve made available a professional product that I’m proud to put my name to.
Come back tomorrow for all of the information you will need to purchase your own copy of Thank You for Ten: Short Fiction About a Little Theater .