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Thursday, January 2, 2020

So Many "I Want To, But I Can't" Going Around (Here, Anyway)

Been really thinking about my indie-ness as an indie writer lately, mulling over sales (not so much numbers because they'll always be small, and I'm resigned to that) and how best to serve not just my readers but also myself as the creator of the stuff.

As of late, I've been wondering about selling books directly from my site or blog, something that offers the creator a ton of freedom while still taking advantage of distributors like Draft2Digital in ensuring that my books are available in as many online markets as possible. I really love the idea of having my own store, offering my books at the same price as elsewhere (99c for less than 50K words, $2.99 for 50,001 - 100,000 words, and $4.99 for anything longer). The middle man's completely cut out, which is great, but a bit of research pretty much killed the idea before I could even take the next step (or at least consider the next step).

State taxes for businesses, no matter how small; the need to have a self-hosted site in order for the store to work; the more insidious details involving the actual delivery or downloading of files into the buyer's device. And so on and so forth.

Ah, life. Why so complicated?

Mind you, I'm not being lazy about all of this. I'd love to host my own blog, but considering my already whittled-down free time (not to mention energy levels and brain power) after the day job? Not gonna happen. 

As you can see, I'm going to have to settle for a free blog though I'm thinking about at least "updating" my presence here with a domain name, which is pretty inexpensive.

One thing I've already mentioned before is that I'll never limit myself to Amazon through their Kindle Unlimited program. Right off the bat, when a new book comes out, it'll be available from stores listed by Draft2Digital, and it doesn't matter to me if Amazon punishes me by hiding my books from searches or anything (apparently I've seen a number of indie writers who don't publish exclusively with Amazon mention that).

At least I can keep doing that, which comes as close as I can to selling directly from my site or blog.

Draft2Digital is still not done with testing their print format program, so I'm stuck going with Amazon for my print book needs. I still don't see the need for it since print books don't sell (at all), but I still like having that option out there, and at least it's print on demand, so no waste.

Another thing I've been considering is whether or not to start over with a new pen name since I'm aiming to expand into less LGBT-centric stuff starting with The Ghosts of St. Grimald Priory. While the first book (hopefully it'll be the first book, but as always, we'll see where the story takes us) has extremely little gay content, it's still currently (and now tentatively) marked as a Hayden Thorne book.

Having more than one pen name is really a relic from the past, when Big Five (then Big Six) publishers ruled the roost, and for marketing sake, authors were obligated to take on multiple pen names when they write in different genres. That's to avoid marketing confusion, especially if a writer specializes in erotic romance and then decides to dip their toes into kidlit.

For me, it's like starting over and being fresh. The hope is that with the Hayden Thorne persona and its accompanying light and dark bits quietly set aside, the mind will start working a little differently in spinning new stories and all that for publication. Since Hayden Thorne's already deeply entrenched in gay-centric stories, it's almost inevitable that the new work-in-progress will want to highlight the gay character as well despite the story not really focusing on him. Or at least I feel the pressure to give Freddie and his romantic life equal billing, however self-imposed that pressure might be.

The upside to keeping to Hayden Thorne is that I don't need to start over with the marketing of the book(s), and it'll be added to my backlist, which is pretty hefty (and growing more so), and that can also introduce LGBT-friendly readers who normally don't read gay-centric genre fiction to the rest of my stuff.

If I do decide to move on from this persona, I'll be using a tweaked version of my real name. I've grown to love my third name, which I'm sure my mom would be tickled to learn since I was so resistant to it as a kid. Where I grew up, my middle name is my maiden name if I'm married or my mom's maiden name if I'm single, but my Christian name is comprised of three, so that my full name clocks in at five total.

That said, if I do use a different name for my more mainstream stuff, I won't be creating new social media accounts or a new blog for it. I'll be pimping them out here still as well as on my current Twitter account.

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