I'm running a poll on Twitter at the moment. There are a few hours to go, but it's already pretty clear why people are still gagging for traditional publishing deals. It's always been this way. I'll post a vid below of my response to this mentality the best part of a decade ago. First, the poll. Ready?
Seriously?! Rather than break down all the reasons that 'to make lots of money' is not a valid reason, open my podcast on this subject (it opens in another window) and listen to it when you've finished with this blog post.
The more important points are the winner and runner-up: "I don't like selling" and "to feel good about myself". I'll present the awards in reverse order...
Relying on something outside of yourself to cause you to feel good about yourself is something psychologists call having an external locus of identity or power. If you are dependent on anyone's opinion but your own to feel good about yourself, you're in trouble.
I speak as one who's been in relationships with narcissists. If you ever want a lesson in not putting your sense of worth into another person's hands, date a narcissist. Make sure you have a hefty budget for therapy first. On other thoughts, don't do that. Just take it from me that you need to define your own worth. No other person can do that for you.
Over the years, I've been blessed to meet and befriend many celebrities. They've taught me the truths of massive success. The punchline is best summed up by Jim Carrey:
'I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.'
You are already complete. You don't need anything outside yourself to validate yourself. Do what you do because it's fun and it gives you a sense of contribution. Do what you do because it gives you purpose and brings you presence.
Seeking validation through external things brings you momentary buzzes. They stoke your ego. Beyond that, they're meaningless. The buzz fades fast. There are few things as disappointing as feeling that emptiness after the high.
Instead, write what you MUST write, because you are the only person on the planet that you can write it. Write because you can't not write. Let the success and money be bonuses, but not the driving force.
Stephen Fry likes my approach to this. Here's a DM he sent to me that he gave me permission to share with you:
Here's the thing with selling books... You don't need to sell books. You need to market them. All marketing is, is telling the story of the book. There's the story IN the book, and the story OF the book. If you're really a storyteller, you'll tell both stories. I am a storyteller. That's why my last name is Bardess. You know you're committed to your craft when you get your name legally changed by Deed Poll to proclaim that to the world.
You're a Bardess, or Bard, too. It just doesn't serve the gatekeepers for you to realise that. Embrace your ability to tell stories. Then tell the stories of your books.
I earned more in a day during the beta launch of my latest book than most authors earn in a year. I also got a celebrity endorsement (see below). Cost me nothing. I give away none of my earnings. I need no publisher.
Here are my thoughts from the e-publishing panel I mentioned in the last post. Don't be scared of indie publishing:
P.S. If you're looking for a coach to help you market yourself as an author, here's what I do.
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