No big deal, but let’s talk, hmm? ^_^
So, I’ve debated on whether I should talk about this and how much to say, but this blog is, in part, a chronicle of my writing journey, and I want to be able to talk openly about writing-related things and not tip-toe around stuff or pretend like everything is okay.
Long story short, I’m not self-publishing anymore. In a nutshell, it’s a stress issue. I never intended for writing to become an expensive hobby that I get little joy out of, but it happened. I underestimated the toll being responsible for everything would take on me. And I also thought I would enjoy having control over everything, and I absolutely do not. Instead of feeling excited and empowered, I feel burdened and overwhelmed and exhausted, and I’ve been feeling this way since March 2017, when preorders for the first book went live. I thought I would get used to it, but even small projects were burning me out, and I felt like there was this cumulative effect that was getting progressively worse.
I figured I had five options: I could leave everything the same and continue to be super stressed, I could take everything down and send all those books to the graveyard, I could rebrand everything and keep trying, I could go back to querying agents and/or publishers, or I could give up entirely and do something else with my life.
I’ve gone back and forth about unpublishing everything. It’s hard to explain, but if I’m not self-publishing anything anymore, then I simply don’t want my self-published books out there anymore either. As long as they’re “out there” I’m going to want to help them be seen. It’s maintenance. It’s stress. It’s a giant placard reading FAILURE that follows me everywhere I go. There’s a lot of things I can say, but it boils down to the simple fact that I’m constantly obsessing about everything I did wrong, and I want to move on, but I don’t feel like I can if the books are still published.
As it stands, all the books are unpublished with no plans to put them back up. I’m not sure anyone has noticed the menu change on the site, but I took all the book pages down in February. I don’t hate any of my books. I don’t think they’re terrible. I just simply can’t deal with any of this right now. Things are too jumbled in my head. I need a break from all of it, so I can figure out what my actual problem is.
But when it comes to publishing, I don’t know what I’m doing. I did the best I could, but I’m awful at nearly everything, and I know it. This was supposed to be fun. But it left me stressed and worn, and I just ended up feeling like nothing I do is good enough. No amount of time to work on something is enough. No amount of hard work matters, and my best simply isn’t good enough.
I feel like a storyteller without an audience is a very sad thing, and I know I’m not going to be happy with myself later if I give up completely. But there’s no energy for this anymore.
I feel like NO REST FOR THE WICKED is fine, but there’s nothing special about it. I keep wanting to rewrite WHISPER, but I can’t figure out how to actually make it better, so I’m left feeling like I wrecked it somehow, and I don’t know how to fix it or if I even could fix it or if it even needs fixing. And HOUSE OF FALLING EMBERS is a mass of confusion with me going back and forth between loving what I did or being angry at myself for not writing it the way I originally pictured it, and I can’t stop being angry at myself for not giving that original plot more time to fix itself, which is something I would have done if I wasn’t self-publishing and worrying about not being able to keep up with the self-imposed schedule.
I wanted to be successful, and to do that, I felt like I had to put out multiple books a year, because that’s what I saw successful indie authors doing. And while I’m capable of doing that, in theory, I can’t actually swing it in real life, and there’s a lot of regret over pushing myself so hard. Maybe I didn’t actually mess any of those stories up, but I have no way of seeing things clearly right now.
I have no issues with WINTER’S SIREN, but it feels like there’s no market for it. Where do you put something that doesn’t belong in YA and doesn’t quite belong in Adult either? And it doesn’t quite fit in fantasy, and it doesn’t quite fit in horror. I can’t do anything with it. I feel like my life would be so much easier if I had a clear category to put my books in, but I don’t feel like I do.
There isn’t much to say about the poetry book, but every time I look at it, I’m mad at myself for letting the cover designer talk me out of what I wanted. Yes, it’s beautiful, but I’m a damn fantasy writer, and this doesn’t fit with the majority of poetry books out there, so if I’m going to go against the grain, I need to go all the way, because halfway just makes a mess.
It seems like no matter what I do, I can’t find my place anywhere. I don’t belong anywhere. And I honestly wish I would stop trying.
So, I don’t really know what I’m going to do going forward, but that’s a discussion I’ll have with myself if I ever finish anything again. I just wanted to talk about it. There’s obviously a lot more going on, but this is the gist of it, in case anyone noticed that my books were missing and wanted to know why.
In the meantime, I’ve been trying to take my mom’s advice to take some time off from trying to accomplish anything, because just trying to keep up with the dishes has been too much. I want to write, but I don’t see how I can. I don’t see how I can keep writing books that I know no one is going to read, because they’re too weird for traditional publishing, and self-publishing isn’t something I enjoy, and it certainly isn’t something I’m good at. I want my books to be read. I don’t want to just keep everything to myself.
At a bare minimum, in order to stay on this path, I would need to re-cover everything. For example, WHISPER, in my opinion, is supernatural horror. But maybe it’s dark fantasy. Or paranormal. I have no idea. Which is part of the problem, but not all of it. I didn’t correct my cover designer, or anyone else, when they thought I wrote paranormal romance (for this book and others), because I thought it was obvious from the blurb that it wasn’t romance. I was wrong, and I blame myself for all of it, but I never, at any point in the process, told anyone I worked with, on any book, that I wrote any kind of romance. They assumed, and I should have corrected them.
That’s very basic marketing, and I didn’t even know how wrong my covers were for whatever genre I’m in until recently, when I finally found some books close to what I write. However, there’s nothing I can fix on the basic end that would solve the problem of self-publishing being so stressful for me in the first place.
I know I could have left the books published as-is regardless, and taking them down only makes me feel more like a failure, but l’m trying to recover from the severe burn out I suffered, and I feel like this is the best option. It’ll force me to think twice before trying to publish anything again, though I kind of feel like I’m back on square zero, and that sucks. But I don’t want to be a miserable writer, and I don’t know what else to do.
Hopefully, I actually posted this. If you’re reading this, then Hi. How’s life? Tell me something good. 🙂