The current state of self publishing (or indie publishing, as I am not quite sure which is the PC term) offers writers a few glaringly obvious benefits that traditional publishing doesn’t: the ability to publish something whenever you want and having total control over your titles, including your backlist.
Speaking from experience, I know that it can be tempting to hit PUBLISH as soon as final edits are complete. I have almost done this several times. The truth of the matter is, though, that I have usually given myself a window of about two weeks before final edits were complete and publishing the work. This waiting period has even once resulted in two months passing before the book saw the light of day.
I wonder…how many other author sit on their work when it is done? There’s an obvious benefit to it, of course. You let the story simmer for a while, allowing yourself enough time to make sure it sticks with you. Because if it’s not going to stick with you, it probably won’t stick with readers, either.
Let me give you an example of the Value of Sitting on It.
Three and a half months ago, I finished a short novel. It was set to be the first in a trilogy. I liked it. It has great potential. I edited it. I had a beta reader tear it apart. I then started rewrites. As I did the rewrites, a thought occurred to me.
This might be a better long-ass novel rather than a trilogy.
I immediately stopped working on it and worked on something else. But in the back of my mind, new ideas for that novel started to brew. It has remained the same story at its heart but now has all different sorts of potential. More that that, it is a book that basically altered the publishing schedule I had mapped out for myself for the next few years. But if all works as I have planned it out, it will be well worth it.
This means that I probably won’tt release the three books I had planned through the year. That part still stings, but I’m okay with it. I’d rather release one or two GOOD books a year rather than 3-4 mediocre ones….a lesson I think a great many self published authors could learn from.
So what does this mean? Well, for starters, a book I could have published three months ago is now essentially finished. And while the shape of it has once again insisted that it needs to be a trilogy, it will probably also not be released for another few months. So I will have to continue sitting on it. But that’s fine…it’s going to be a better book because of it.
One last example…there is another book that I completed early last year after spending 2 years on it. I didn’t publish it right away because there was SOMETHING missing. I like the book. It’s a fun, traditional horror story. But it’s been sitting and evolving, growing by 500 words here and 350 words there. It’s now officially done, but I am holding on to it. I’m not sure why. Sitting on it just feels like the right thing to do. Maybe one more idea will come along and turn this fun, spooky horror story into something so much better.
As of right now, I have 2 books that I am sitting on. Well, technically 3, but that third one is about a week or so away from going live, I think. (More on that soon).
And I am fine with sitting on them for now. I’m pretty sure self publishing isn’t going anywhere (despite what the naysayers say), so there’s really no rush.