I’ve got a lot going these days when it comes to my writing, and my relationship with SSP. I was featured in “Unleashing the Voices Within” earlier this year. My own anthology, “Reaper,” will be releasing in the coming months. “Man Behind the Mask,” an 80’s slasher anthology written entirely by women and including my story, “Bloodbath,” comes out next month. In 2017, I have yet another anthology I’ll be published in, as well as a collaborative piece I’m working on with two fellow authors. And that’s not to mention my novel, which I’m continually working on. It’s a lot to keep me busy. It’s a lot to keep me excited. It’s a lot to keep me talking about.
The one question that keeps popping up when I talk about all these awesome writing projects, however, is “Are you making any money? How much? When? Will you make any money?” And when I inevitably answer, “No” or “Not yet,” the question that people don’t dare to speak, but is blatant on their faces is “Well, what are you getting out of it, then? Why have a publisher if you’re not getting paid?”
Well, here’s the thing. There’s this old adage that says “It takes money to make money.” And for the record, I don’t have much money. I don’t have the money to hire a professional editor, to buy a professional cover, to cover the cost of having someone market my work for me. I just don’t.
Most of us don’t.
I won’t even bother to go into the numerous issues that go into trying to get published traditionally, especially if you’re gunning for one of the Big Four. We all know what they are. We all know how marginally slim the chances are of us getting those contracts, and we all know the system–like most everything else–is rigged to a certain extent.
So what options are left?
Well, you can try and make a go of it yourself (which I have)–and if you want to succeed, you need the things I mentioned above. Professional editing, cover work, and marketing. All of which I can’t afford.
Or, you can look into a small indie publishing company. Now, yes, you do have to be careful. There are a lot of people out there looking to make a quick and easy buck, and that equals scams. But if you do your research, if you shop around, you can find ones that are worth your time.
Which is what I’ve done.
I have found a publishing company that puts me first. My work goes through a strict and severe editing process. At no cost to me. Professional covers are designed for my books. At no cost to me. And while I put a lot of time into marketing my own work, as well as the work of my fellow authors, my fellow authors reciprocate and market the hell out of mine. Since joining SSP, the number of my Twitter and Facebook followers has soared, as has the number of hits on my blog. People are starting to recognize my name. They’re getting to know me, and they’re getting to know my work.
No. So far I haven’t made any money off the anthologies I’ve been published in. I’ve received contributor’s copies. Many of the anthologies are donating proceeds to charity. There is no financial gain for me at this point. But there will be. Because people are getting to know me, and they’re getting to know my work.
So by the time I release “Reaper,” which is all my work, and of which I’ll earn a percentage of the proceeds, by the time I finish my novels and they’re ready for publication, I’ll have put the time and work into developing a reputation. Not only for myself, but for my publishing company. Readers will know when they buy a book by Briana Robertson they’re getting a good story, and they’ll also know when they buy a book by Stitched Smile Publications, they’re getting a quality piece of work.
That’s why I chose an indie publishing company. Because while money may be the eventual goal, it’s not the immediate goal. Because as an emerging, unknown author, it’s just as important to me–more important to me–to be a part of a family. To have a support system. To have people I can depend on, that I know have my back. That will give me honest criticism. That will help mold me into the best version of myself, as a person, AND an author.
If I worry about my writing, the money will follow.
In today’s world of self-publishing, with anybody and everybody calling themselves authors and writing books, it takes a village to make it. It takes a village to survive.
And I’ve found mine.
~~Briana Robertson, Author, Stitched Smile Publications ~~
Briana Robertson is an emerging speculative fiction author, working primarily within the genres of horror and fantasy. Her love of authors such as Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Patrick Rothfuss, and J.K. Rowling has developed her own need to put pen to paper. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies, and broadcast on online podcasts. Her debut novel is in the works, set to release in 2017. She currently lives in the Midwest, with her husband, three daughters, and their Maine Coon, Bagheera. Be sure to visit her website, as well as follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, and Pinterest.