My first two novels have been traditionally published. My third, a speculative fiction called The Ark, I have been planning to self-publish as an e-book, with an accompanying interactive multimedia website.
I’ll need a team of people to help me build this site, including programmers, graphic designers, 3D animators, and audio engineers. And all of these people are going to need paying for their services (quite rightly). When I think about the bottom line, I wonder if I am completely insane. I am going to spend thousands of dollars to create a product, and then release it into an already overcrowded market, with the possibility that I might only sell a few dozen copies.
Last week, serendipitously, I heard two podcasts which seemed to speak to my fears.
The first was a social media marketing podcast in which Seth Godin was interviewed about his new book The Icarus Deception, which explores the idea that instead of being afraid to fly too high, we should be afraid of flying too low. In the interview, which is titled ‘Failing to Start’ he talks with host Michael Stelzner about how in order to ‘make art’ people have to be willing to try new things despite the fear they may not work.
The second was an episode of one of my favourite podcasts, This American Life. (Yes, I have a crush on Ira Glass…who doesn’t?) Titled So Crazy, It Just Might Work, the episode opened with the story of a mathematician who spent years of his life working through a zillion mathematical equations til he finally found the one that enabled him to debunk another long-held mathematical ‘truth’; the point being that success and failure are two sides of the same coin.
Listening to these podcasts was encouraging for me. There’s a very real chance that The Ark may not be a commercial success – but there’s no doubt I’ll grow through the process of creating it, and that I’ll learn things about myself and the world of publishing. So I’m going to give it a red hot go.