Monday, December 19, 2011

The Plan

The desire to write grows with writing.
-Desiderius Erasmus
Here we go...

Okay, finals? Check.

NaNoWriMo? Check.

Travel home? Check.

Write? Check...but just for today.

Contact readers? Check.

Send stories to readers? Check.

Spend time with family? Check.

Procrastinate? Check.

Okay, I guess it really is time to write this post.
Welcome to the end of the year, folks.

Oh, yeah, sure, I know. We've still got a couple weeks to go. But that doesn't change the fact that it's coming. And with a new year comes a new theme for this blog.

Granted, my themes are only ever a thin facade behind which I can hide and write whatever I'm interested in on that day, but I still make an effort to maintain them.

For example, this year was "The Year of Words," and although I didn't report on half of what I intended (words of the week segments, reviews of writing blogs, etc.) And it looks like I'm not quite going to reach my goal of 500,000 words (but we'll wait for the final counts to come in before we close that race).

I'm planning on doing a few "retrospective" posts during the coming week about the experience of this past year, but I can't really promise what form those'll take.

Besides, that's not the point of this post.

Still here? Wow, you're persistent, I guess I actually do have to tell you what's going on.

It is with great excitement and fear that I announce to you my intentions to begin publishing a series of short stories through's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This will be my first foray into the publishing world, as I enter it in both the writer and publisher roles.

Obviously, this kind of undertaking requires a plan. A business plan, in fact.

Simple enough, right?
This decision has not been made lightly. I've done a lot of unexpected research over the past two months as blog after blog, from established writers and newbies both, has taken time to discuss the ins, outs, advantages, and drawbacks of this new publishing model.

However, it's also a decision that I haven't had a lot of time to prepare for. The majority of what I know about Kindle, publishing, the publishing business, business planning, self-employment, and freelancer work, I've probably learned within the past forty days or so.

To say that I'm terrified about the amount of work I'm going to have to do in the next thirty days, and the level of discipline I'm going to have to maintain after that, is not sufficient to what I'm feeling right now by sharing this information with you, o internet.

However, to say that I'm excited about the same would also be an understatement.

Because this is the type of work that I'm finding myself to be passionate about.

Now, over the next few weeks, I'm sure I'll be reiterating a lot of the wisdom I've absorbed as to why this is a good decision for me. But I want to take a brief moment to discuss the basic overview of my intentions.

For most fiction writers, up until the past year or so, the conventional wisdom goes like this:

Write something.

Submit that something.

Write something else while you wait for that first something to be rejected.

(Because every writer faces rejections. It doesn't matter how brilliant your debut is. The first few things you send out will get some rejections, for a variety of reasons. That's just how this business works.)

Now, for those who persevered (and who didn't get stuck revising and submitting the same, broken manuscript over, and over, and over, and over, and over again), publication would often come. Even if it takes five, ten, or thirty years, if you keep writing and submitting, eventually you'll make a sale.

Sometimes that's good and leads to further success, other times it's not and you're back to the slush pile again. The success rates of authors is probably broader than any other career (for more information about this, go check out Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog about the different kinds of writers, as well as Dean Wesley Smith's blog about the different kinds of publishers.)

Anyways, this is the conventional wisdom.

In the past, there have been those who have shrugged off the conventional wisdom, preferring to go their own way. Some of these authors had been repeatedly rejected by traditional publishing, others decided they didn't want to have anything to do with the big publishers. Either way, they would decide to go it on their own by self-publishing and trying to build a name and some success for themselves despite the lack of big publisher backing.

Some were noticeably successful (Christopher Paolini is the only name that comes to mind right now, but I'm sure there were others). Most, however, were so abysmally unsuccessful that they made it difficult for others to even try the self-publishing route.

I know you know what I'm talking about. The poorly-formatted, shoddily-written, unedited slop of a story that screams Vanity Press.

That's the reputation self-publishing has had for the past several decades.

But that's changing.

With the success of authors who self-publish through Kindle like Amanda Hocking, Barry Eisler, John Locke, and J. A. Konrath, independent writers are challenging the conventions of the publishing world, and making a living at it, by preparing and selling a professional product through the largest bookseller in the world: Amazon.

Suddenly, the self-publishing alternative doesn't look like just a shoddy Plan B anymore.

Suddenly, with a little bit of hard work and planning, an individual author can turn out an ebook that provides just as professional a product as any of the New York publishers.

And that's really exciting for a variety of reasons that I don't have time to get into today.

I provide the above history (and image) to say this: I'm not using KDP as a Plan B.

I have not faced a string of rejections from big publishing that has forced me to pursue the self-publishing route out of desperation.

I am not giving up on traditional publishing as a viable route for delivering my fiction to readers.

Instead, I have considered the advantages and disadvantages of both models and am approaching this self-publishing venture with a purpose and a plan. I'm sure I'll be discussing these more in the future, so I'm not going to prolong this announcement with the details.

Hopefully, all of this does not destroy your confidence in me (if you had any to begin with.) If you have questions, I'd be happy to answer them here or through my email address: joshua dot kehe at gmail dot com (replacing the "dots" and "ats" with their appropriate signs).

I have my first batch of stories with a group of alpha readers, and will be using their feedback to determine which story project will be presented first in the new year. Once I have that information back, and have made that decision, I'll make the announcement about release dates, titles, etc.

Until then...
-Joshua Kehe

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