I was trying to think of a good analogy for what self-publishing feels like to me and that’s what I came up with. It’s like trying to play three-dimensional chess while simultaneously juggling chainsaws.
I suspect that’s not the case for every author. If you write under one pen name and in one series, it’s probably much more straight forward. But I currently have seven active pen names and multiple lines under some of those. For example, M.L. Humphrey has the Excel books, but also books on Word, self-publishing, writing in general, and personal finances.
Thanks to AMS ads, I can keep most of those moving at least a bit every day once a title is published.
But where to focus efforts and energy is where it gets interesting. Write another fantasy series because I’m pretty sure I’ll need twelve novels before I can really judge how that pen name will do long-term? Write another romance novel because just two romance novels under that one name have done well for me and another might cause another leap upward in terms of sales? Find a way to expand on the non-fiction titles? Master Google AdWords so I can find a steady way to promote my books on non-Amazon platforms?
There’s just me and just so many hours in the day. I have to pick one and do it.
And I’m not operating in a vacuum here. Every other self-publisher is making their own choices right now. Choices that will impact me. So are traditional publishers. And other entertainment providers. And the government. And social media platforms. And consumers for that matter.
All of it has an impact. For some of it there’s nothing to be done. Not yet. I either can’t see it or can’t do anything to change it or react to it.
And for the rest of it, even if there is something that can be done, the better answer is probably “produce more content regardless of what that content is.” Because without product to sell it really doesn’t matter what the market is doing or what the competition is doing.
Which is why I should stop writing this post and starting working on the next thing. (Whatever that’s going to be, which is the problem after all…)