Sorry, but this is not why I write. And I can’t change that.

Okay, it’s been a while since an update. It’s not like I’ve been completely lazy. We have a lot of family and personal things going on around here this summer and it has eaten into a lot of my time. I mean, I haven’t been camping this summer (much) so that should give you some idea how busy I’ve been. (And it doesn’t look like I will be going camping until September at the earliest.)

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. What I want to talk about is a decision I have made about my writing.

I have two or three more stories to get out on Argo Navis Publishing before WorldCon in Chicago this year. That’s cool and easily doable. But after that I think I am going to turn away from self-publishing for a while. If not forever.

I have many reasons for this, and it’s not because I haven’t sold any stories. Actually, I’ve done better than I ever thought. No, it’s because I don’t like it. I don’t like the feel of it. I don’t like the fact it takes away a shit-ton of ordinary writing time away from me.

This decision has not been made overnight. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been struggling with this, probably way more than I should. But I’m a writer first and not a publisher. It’s not me. It’s not who I am. I don’t feel comfortable in that role at all. Some people do, and that’s good for them and I wish them well. But we’re talking about me.

I am a writer. I am not a publisher. Nothing I can do will change how I view and define myself, and how I have always viewed and defined myself.

It takes away too much time. Writing is more precious to me than self-publishing stories. That’s probably just me but I can’t help the way I feel. I can’t live or do something that goes against my basic nature. It’s not for me. It’s not. It’s just not.

Not to mention I’ve got so much else to concentrate on right now I feel overwhelmed. I don’t know if I will continue writing. Though I suspect I will. Maybe I will chuck it all and drive a truck for a living. My father did. It was good enough for him even though he and I were estranged. Then the new novel Haxan from CZP comes out in a couple of years. I’m not completely stupid. I know the business has changed enough I have to do a lot of promotion for Haxan and that’s fine. I actually like doing that because I like going to cons and libraries and blogging and whatnot. So that’s okay.

The second reason I am thinking about leaving self-publishing is because I have never written anything so I can see my name in print. Hell, when I first started writing professionally I used the pseudonym “Alden Crealock” because I didn’t care about my personal name. That wasn’t my motivation for writing then, and it’s not my motivation now. I only use my real name today because I don’t care whether it’s my name or some pen name up there below the title. For me, the story is first. The name has no bearing.

That’s not why I write.

Finally, it’s too easy. All right, I try to go the extra mile and have good covers, good editing, good style and formatting and all that stuff. Not because that’s my name on the cover (we’ve covered that) but because if I am putting a story out for readers I want them to have the best experience I can provide for them, and enjoy reading it. Because I’m also a reader, as well a being a writer.

To be honest, I think most people in this business feel that way. They want to produce a good product. But for me it feels too easy. That’s how I feel. I can’t help the way I feel. What works for other people doesn’t always work for another.

I can’t help the way I feel. It feels easy. And I kind of know it’s easy because there’s some really bad crap out there. I mean, it’s awful. It’s embarrassing. The writing is appalling…because it’s so easy to publish. Now I must be fair. I’m not giving every publisher a pass here, either. Some publishers make a living, a very good living, publishing really bad stuff. That’s their business model and that’s fine for them. Readers like it and they know their market. I wish them well.Writing is always hard enough anyway no matter what you are working on or publishing. I don’t have to read it, and don’t. But I do understand what writers go through. If nothing else I understand and sympathize with that.

I’m old-fashioned, I guess. I like sending a story in to an editor or publisher and having them decide whether or not my story is good enough to be published. I have always said, and I really believe this, that writers are the absolute worst people to decide whether their story is good enough to be published or not. No one, and I mean no one, is more ill-suited to pass judgment on his own work than a writer. We’re simply too close to it. So I do like having someone else make that call.

Again, just me.

I can’t help but wonder if some people are saying, “Okay, that’s easy for you to say. You’re a member of SWFA and HWA and even if a lot of readers don’t know you a lot of editors do and they know what kind of quality and professionalism you bring. I don’t have a track record and I’m trying to build one.”

I understand that, too. I’m only saying this is not who I am. I’m a writer, not a publisher. I can’t pretend otherwise. Does that mean I no longer want you to buy my stories? Of course not. That’s not what I’m saying.

I am saying I can no longer be someone I am not. I’m a writer, but that doesn’t mean I am going to abandon any story I have put out there for readers.They’re my stories. I’m proud of them. I’m proud of everything I write, otherwise I wouldn’t have published it in the first place. I sure as hell would have never sent it to an editor to be considered if I wasn’t proud of the story.

Oh, well. This is the current state I’m in. I seriously think (about 95% sure) I need to go in another direction. Because this is not me. It…it just doesn’t feel right.

It’s not who I am, and I don’t like it and it makes me feel uncomfortable. It would be like me going out and creating my own Wikipedia page about myself. That’s just…I don’t know. And I don’t care if that’s the way the business is now.

That’s not why I write. It never has been. It never will be.

So. Yeah. Moving on, I suppose.Β  Of course, this is me we’re talking about so everything could change by suppertime. Thanks for listening, anyway.Β  πŸ™‚

13 Replies to “Sorry, but this is not why I write. And I can’t change that.”

  1. Don’t be upset. It was something new and your tried it. If it wasn’t for you, that’s fine. I feel bad that you feel you need to apologize because you didn’t like it. Everyone’s career path in this is different. You’re on your path, not anyone else’s. πŸ™‚

  2. “I don’t like the fact it takes away a shit-ton of ordinary writing time away from me.”
    This is one of the reasons I’m put off publicising and selling my artwork myself and why I use a P.O.D. site to do it for me. I don’t see why I should spend more of my time selling and publicising when I could spend it painting.

    Just treat it as a life experience and move on. I think that at different times in our lives we find what works at each point. Something that works at one point doesn’t necessarily work at another.

    1. It’s a real problem. Writing (or painting or any other artistic endeavor) is difficult enough without something else coming along to vampire time away from it. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  3. If it’s not right for you, it’s not right for you. Everyone has to choose the path that’s right for them, and it’s great you’ve got the self-awareness to know that this isn’t for you. I’m glad the option exists, though. More options for writers has to be a good thing, I think.

  4. I feel where you’re coming from. The current professional climate seems to be that everyone is expected to handle the entire process from idea to reader, and there’s some undercurrent of shame at specializing in one stage. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I’m a really publisher at heart, and a writer a far distant third. I enjoy doing all those vampire tasks that take you away from writing. I’d rather do those and do them well, and leave writers to do what they do best.

    That said, I appreciate any writers who understand that, although publishing is trivially easy nowadays, publishing well takes work.

    1. I know, right? There’s this ridiculous assumption we must all be superwriter along with superpublisher and supermarketer and on and on. Some of us are, frankly, better at some things than others. That doesn’t invalidate us in any way, doesn’t make us a worse writer or worse editor or worse publisher just because we don’t like some of the other parts.

      You are so right about the current climate. Sure, I would love to handle ever aspect from writer to reader. I like that empowerment. But I can’t. I specialize at writer just like some people specialize at editor or publisher.

      Your very last sentence got me to thinking. Unfortunately, a lot of people nowadays think publishing is easy. It’s not. Professional writers and any professional, I think, understand how hard publishing is. But new writers who don’t do their homework might think publishing itself is pretty darn easy given the new technology. Thanks!

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