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Monday, May 14, 2018

There's Two Kinds of Self-Publishers

I always resented the “there’s two kind of people” trope because, especially as the result of multicultural marriages, it relies of the low-hanging fruit of extremes but ignores the more interesting middle--where things mingle and things get juicy. That proverbial gray area is a lot more colorful than people give it credit!

Sure, I understand the “gray area” was born of a combination of the “black and white” of the trope – because nothing in life is truly, purely black OR white. Still, many will argue this, of course, and consider it fighting words that you’ll want to add any relativist value to dilute the absoluteness of their message…

But I digress. What I wanted to say, though I resent putting it in this simplistic way, is that there are two kinds of self-publishing authors: those who are fast to publish and those who can’t seem to reach that finish line.

Of course, there’s nothing quite that simple! Writing a book can be a complicated process. Once the book is written, there are numerous steps to be taken. But my point is that some authors can hand over their project and launch it. They let it go (to print, to sell, to the critical eye of readers and such).

There are authors who can’t let go that easily. And we all understand that some books—especially the first one we toil with seriously—are hard to give up. I’ve read some writers describe the process like childbirth and having strangers yank your baby out of your hands and then throwing it out into the cold, harsh world were readers and critics live!

As a freelancer, I have grown accustomed to working with self-publishers who let go and launch relatively quickly. I have worked with writers who can’t, just as well. A client who subcontracts my services seems to attract this type. Of the three biggest projects that I spent months (years collectively) working on getting the books to market, not a single one is done to date.

It’s not her fault, of course. The writers are not ready to let go yet, there is always something off here or there. And, no, I am not suggesting that any author publish something imperfect for the sake of getting it out there—but every book can always use improvements; short of glaring mistakes there is a phase for revisions and new editions.

I seem to be stuck right now in a cycle comprised of several slow launchers—and I don’t mind working at other people’s speed, but it curtails the work I can take on because now I live in Schrödinger’s Project where I work or wait to work as the client’s interests, fears, or sudden memories of “ooh and another thing!”

Of course, some books move faster than others--and you learn never to discourage the client from improving their book (that is their prerogative, always!). And with one exception, I have stayed with my clients from the beginning till the end of the process (and sometimes on to additional editions). Clients that work with you on more than one project gain confidence in their method and your collaboration, and pick up a little speed--but don't rush them.

Rushing is the enemy of excellence.

Of course, I am grateful for every bit of business I get. But when surrounded by slow launchers, I am left to sit for long periods of time, seemingly forgotten. And I can’t give in to my own creativity because I just know they will all want to finish off their projects the same week and then I won’t sleep for days!

What can you do but adjust? In my world there is only one kind of client: the paying kind. So you adjust and help them get across that finish line in any way you can. It’s just that sometimes it is a  r e a l l y  slow process.

Some weeks, that's the speed of freelancing.