When I first began writing (back in the dark ages with a chisel and rock), the only way to see one’s name in print and to gain readers was to be published in a commercial venue. Publishers and editors had to be approached and one’s work had to pass a certain muster in order to be presented to readers.
The good thing about that was that once you were “published” you could go about the business of writing the next book. Publishers took care of the cover, editing, publicity, and marketing (to a certain degree). In that era, I learned to write for publications. I didn’t start a story unless I had a specific publisher in mind for my books. I also tailored stories to fit certain markets…some of my scary stories really weren’t designed to be erotic romances, but that was where the market was.
Then, right in the middle of my own emotional storm, the whole publishing world underwent an upheaval of epic proportions. Self-publishing authors went from being pariahs to pharoahs in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
I jumped onto that bandwagon and as contracts expired, I regained my rights and self-published. Some books have been successful….some, um, most…not so much. Worrying about book sales replaced all the joy and excitement I typically felt about writing.
Telling stories has always been as integral to me as breathing and suddenly it was a nearly unbearable chore. The moment I began writing, I began to worry about how it would be received. Would it sell enough copies to pay off the editors and cover artists? If not, could I do those jobs myself (ugh)…. Add all this to my topsy-turvy emotional state and it ended up being a perfect storm of disaster.
So, although I will continue to write, continue to seek publication and/or self publish, I am taking back my joy of writing. I’ll be writing books that I want to write. These stories will probably be a lot darker and a lot less romantic than the stories I’ve previously written.
Will I lose readers. Maybe. Part of me is first and foremost afraid of that. Readers are why authors write. But if there isn’t any passion in my writing, there won’t be any on the page to read. A tradeoff. But I’m determined to regain the joy of writing…and if the stories are a bit “different”…I hope you’ll find them “different in a good way.”