Let's Talk (Again)

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I’ve been in the self publishing world for two years now.

In that time, I’ve put out a poetry collection unveiling my battle with depression, a short fiction collection not-so-subtly inspired by own anxiety, and a novella born from experiences with loss and the grief that always follows. I have also had the pleasure of being interviewed for wonderful blogs and lit magazines, had my work published in an anthology dedicated to mental health awareness, and been featured in an online journal. I’ve hosted two events at a local indie bookstore and have been able to raise funds for National Novel Writing Month, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and for a family affected by the rare genetic disorder SMARD.

I’m grateful. I’m elated. I’m blessed. Self publishing has gifted me the freedom and power to create on my own terms. It has helped to amplify my voice, build my confidence, and put me on a path I’ve dreamed of since I was a child.

However, I still live with the depression whose first assault inspired my first book. I still struggle with anxiety on a daily basis. I’m still mentally ill, and this year has done a great deal to remind me of that.

I’ve felt bogged down. I’ve felt pulled back. I’ve felt small, and weak, and frustrated because I know I am neither but the imbalance of my brain makes me doubt what I know. I’ve discussed this before, and I’ll likely discuss it again. It is part of the reason why Fictitious - my fourth book, my fourth venture, has yet to greet the world.

Another part is the changes being made to my current means of publication. Ever since November of 2016, I’ve published via Amazon’s independent publishing platform CreateSpace. As I was gearing up to finally (finally, finally, finally!) putting the finishing touches on my sophomore poetry collection, I got an email from the company. The email was lengthy, but the gist was this: Amazon is changing it’s self publishing . It is, for all intents and purposes, ditching CreateSpace in favor of its newer platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

I’m no stranger to KDP. My very first book, Ready Aim Fire, exists in Kindle edition through this service. I have not, however, used its print-on-demand services. In the early stages of my journey, I made a conscious choice not to publish with KDP given its lower royalties and higher printing costs when compared to CreateSpace. While Amazon is currently encouraging authors to move their titles and proceed with business as usual with Kindle Direct, I’m left anxious and unsure.

I’ve had a difficult time putting into words exactly what I’m feeling. As an author, that’s mildly embarrassing. As an anxiety sufferer, it’s commonplace. And so, I’ve been doing what years of therapy have taught me to do: I’m taking deep breaths, stepping back, and analyzing with some distance between myself and everyone’s favorite corporate giant. I’ve been taking some time to research KDP, as well as other avenues of self- and traditional publishing.

Does this mean I’ll stop self-publishing? No. It just means I’m weighing my options.

I’m doing my best to take in the whole picture and make the best decision for both myself and my work. Unfortunately, and frustratingly for myself, this does leave Fictitious and other works-in-progress in a state of limbo. I feel badly about posting yet another apology blog about yet another publication delay. I’m frustrated by it, anxious about it, and generally feeling down. But I’m not going to let these feelings stop me from putting my work into the world. I’m going to do my best to use them to get my work to you in the best way possible.

I want to thank you all for your continued patience and support. I’ve met such wonderful people in my two years of self-publishing, and I could not be more thankful for the kindness I’ve received from fellow authors and readers alike.

This has been a difficult year for me mental health-wise, and the ups and downs have left me exhausted. The Fictitious situation has fluctuated between a source of comfort (through working on the book) and a source of stress (through delays, delays, delays). While Amazon’s change feels like yet another wrench in my plans, I’m glad to say I feel ready to take it on.

I’m not quite sure what’s next for me and my books, but I’m so grateful to have you all along for the ride. I hope to share more with you soon. Until then, thank you - for your patience and understanding, for your love and support, for your kindness, for everything. Living with depression often makes me feel isolated and alone, but the swell of support I receive from this community is a pretty strong weapon against that. You’re all amazing, and I’m truly lucky to have you.