Now of course, the numbers posted by Joe Konrath are from someone who has a fairly sizable backlist, but just the fact that he can back up his lengthy list of reasons for self-publishing and be very open with facts makes for very convincing reading. But one of the more interesting statements in his self-hosted Q&A was this:
Q: But I need the traditional publishing gatekeepers in order to know my book is good enough. Aren’t you concerned a whole bunch of wannabes will flood the Kindle with self-pubbed crapola?
A: Decades ago, pulp writers learned to write while on the job. Early books by many of the greatest mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, and romance writers, weren’t very good. But getting paid allow those writers to improve, and become the masters we now revere.
If you write crap, it probably won’t sell very well. But you can learn from it and get better. You can rewrite and revise your early work to improve it. With self-publishing, readers become the gatekeepers, and if you work hard, keep an open mind, and learn from your mistakes, you’ll improve as a writer.
This is basically what I’m hoping to work on by self-publishing The Valkyrie Project in episodic format. I mean I constructed it to be episodic in the first place, to give me a bit of an easier learning curve as far as getting something actually finished goes. But, that’s the great thing about self-publishing: I can do that. I can write whatever I want, and get the kind of practice writing that Konrath talks about above, and build up a back catalog while I’m at it.
In the same spirit of full disclosure, Episode 1 of the Valkyrie Project has already been downloaded 51 times in 30 days (and only 1 of those was me!). Of course, I had no way of knowing if those other 50 people actually read it (let alone liked it), but since it’s under 8,000 words, I like to think there’s a good chance that people will get through it. I guess maybe I’ll find out when I get Episode 2 up (hopefully this week or the next).