Writing Life: On Being an Indie Author During #GrabYourWallet

So this one is a bit thorny and I suspect a lot of us are dealing with it. It is no secret by now that politically, I am firmly against the Predator-Elect and all for resistance. One of the ways in which we can enact that resistance is with where we put our hard-earned and sometimes difficult to come by cash. Shannon Coulter brilliantly began something called the #GrabYourWallet campaign, a call to boycott all business carrying the Trump brand. An up-to-date list can be found here.

If you opened a link you will note that one of the first companies listed is Amazon.

Amazon is where you can find my recently released book, “Getting On With It.” It is currently the only distribution platform for that book.

The plan to publish there was made before the election, and I chose to follow through for the sake of consistency, the ease with which the Amazon as a platform makes it available to potential audience. I’m not going to pull my book, though the conflict of interest is quite painful to me. As an indie author the difficulty is obvious. Amazon is still the distribution platform with the largest reach.

I am also aware that during the #GrabYourWallet campaign, it is very likely that my numbers through that platform are likely to be lower than anticipated. Folks who might be drawn to read my work are very likely the same people engaging in #GrabYourWallet. Career-wise, I should be concerned about this, and I am, except not really. Some of this has to do with my perspective on writing and getting the work out. Slowly building an audience has been the expectation since I started self-publishing. The kind of success authors dream of is not something that happens overnight, it is even slower when you have very little budget. But there will be other projects, other work, other paths, other things to try. So I’m worried but not. Maybe it is more accurate to say that I am concerned more for this particular work than I am for my career overall.

That said, I hope that audience who were anticipating the work will not forget about it, and of course make the purchase eventually. (Link, for ease of discovery.) Digitally there will eventually be a release through Smashwords. Keep an eye on my various digital spaces for that.

I mentioned already that I can’t be the only indie-author using Amazon for distribution and struggling with this particular conundrum. But I also think that the situation we are facing offers something useful, at least for the #GrabYourWallet campaign. That useful thing is an argument. It might be a weak one, since corporations are not well-known for their conscience, and since individual indie authors have little impact on Amazon’s practices as a whole. However, as a collective our value to Amazon is more significant. The longer they carry the Trump brand, the longer our livelihoods might be impacted negatively. That is something that Amazon should consider. If we don’t make money, they don’t get their cut. I just mention this as something you can use when you speak up and tell Amazon why you aren’t shopping with them this year. Do I think it will contribute to a desirable outcome for the #GrabYourWallet campaign? I have no idea. But it is something to think about. It is something that can be leveraged.

So my question is, who has data? Because that would be useful going forward.

 

 

On the Election, 2016

I have been avoiding writing a blog post about the election. Maybe avoidance isn’t the right word here.

I am gutted by this.

I am in mourning.

I can’t seem to collect my thoughts into something coherent or meaningful around this outcome.

I keep wanting to appeal to people’s sense of empathy, because as a fiction writer that’s a large of part of what storytelling does. I think maybe through art that can be done, but I am not sure that currently it is a thing that can work. At least, not from the dialogue that I am seeing. And certainly not when so many choose to be blind to human suffering. I keep hearing people say, “Grow up,” to each other, and this is infuriating. I might argue that this is a case of “projectile projecting.” Using the silencing tactic of, “Grow up,” tells me that you are not adult enough to open your ears and listen, that you are not adult enough to reach for understanding. If you are someone getting told this, my advice is don’t engage with the person saying it to you. At this stage in the game, you don’t have to put yourself through it. A healthier course of action (and by this, I mean protect your emotional self. We are still so, so very raw) is to talk to someone you know can be supportive, and when you feel up to it, channel all of that energy into action.

There doesn’t seem much point in stating a case for an argument against what has already happened, even though I want to scream and yell and rail against.

I do see value in taking a stand, for yourself and for others. I see value in engaging with your personal support systems.

And I see value in making a decision about what to do going forward. It becomes increasingly clear that it is not only a good idea, but a necessity, to act.

Some acts will be quiet, or feel small. Ex: donating to Planned Parenthood, LGBTQ organization, the ACLU, Etc… (anyone with ideas PLEASE feel free to put them in the comments.) You can donate time to organizations that support causes that are bound to come under attack in the next four years. You can volunteer at soup kitchens.

And right now, you can write to your electors.

 

From Pete: The only thing necessary for the triumph of climate denial is for good men & women to do nothing. — Peter is in the Forest

On Tuesday the electoral college vote vaulted Donald Trump into the American presidency. If you understand the ramifications of that for the global climate, we are facing a terrifying prospect. He’s called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese, that it’s bullshit and asked “Where the hell is global warming?” at a rally on a cold day. The string of […]

via The only thing necessary for the triumph of climate denial is for good men & women to do nothing. — Peter is in the Forest

Random Bloggery: One of those writing days….

So today is one of those days in the writing life when I open up ye olde work in progress, stare at the screen, position my hands over the keyboard ready to write and then…. nothing. Most of the time, I just write without worrying about the outcome (something I learned how to do, in part by participating in NanoWrimo.) Most of the time, I am able to squeeze something out of my head and onto the page when I have set aside time to work on fiction, but these days do happen. As I write this blog it is still early in the day. Not even noon. But my brain seems to be spinning out a bit for some reason.

So, I take a deep breath, a step back, and consider where I am with the work.

And then I remember that I have a novel that is just about ready to be published. All I need is cover art and a few tweaks to the back cover blurb and BEHOLD A BOOK SHALL BE UNLEASHED UNTO THE WORLD.

Then I think, “Holy crap!”

And I remember how creative endeavors have their own cycles. When a project is this close to completion, it makes sense that I need to relax for a few beats about productivity  with first drafts. I always hit this moment and try to push through in spite of myself. And I also hit the same moment of frustration each time. There’s a moment when I have to put a lid on the self-generated pressure to produce. I have to remind myself that the words and ideas will still be there and it is okay to take a break.

It is kind of strange that this moment hits on the first day of NanoWrimo, the month in which word count is king. Maybe there is something there, though. Yes, push through, hit those goals, do your best to finish the thing, but its good to remind ourselves that we are human and need breaks. Take those five minutes, get a coffee, do that chore that you’ve been procrastinating on. Then come back to the writing work happy that you no longer have to do that irritating chore.

It seems counterintuitive but it is true that sometimes increasing productivity means taking a little break when you hit the wall. As a person with workaholic tendencies I can tell you that I have wasted time trying to push through when my brain simply would not co-operate. When I am self-aware enough to understand what’s going on I take that needed break and end up producing more and better work than I might have without it. The thing is that it’s hard to recognize when that moment hits sometimes. Everyone’s cognitive/creative process is different, nuanced, and only we can know when a break will benefit us and when it will not. Advice? Pay attention to yourself to figure out when that is. I said before that you can learn a lot about your own process when you participate in NanoWrimo. This could be one of the things.