Amazon is an Orphanage
Hear me out.
Publishing a book is challenging, any way you slice it. It's a H U G E endeavor. It's creating life: from conception while writing, to birth of publishing, to parenting while marketing. These challenges can look a lot like obstacles to the green-gilled writer. Another reason to throw in the towel. Besides, you don't ask a child to compete in the Olympics. You completely lose it when they take their first step! Amazon is kind of like that first step: it's easy, a guarantee, even.
Now, I'm not saying it's the best way. Hindsight is 20/20 and knowledge cannot be transmitted through osmosis. All honesty, patience is a virtue, but you have to be honest with where you're at and what you're capable of. If you can—again and again—muster up that self-worth and determination to go all-out from the get, then fuck. yeah. you. If you're filled with doubt every time you hit delete, make it easy for yourself. You've got your whole career ahead of you.
In the wise words of a retirement-aged man with a third-grade education while we were weed-whacking in a ditch at the peak of Florida summer, "Do what makes you happy."
Indie Press & Publishers are the rich adoptive parents that occasionally save one wandering soul from the sea of struggling spirits.
Indie bookstores? Those are like...foster care. IF...IIIIFFFFFF you can convince them to take you in, you must PROVE your value to them...literally. You give books. They put books on shelves. You do all the marketing and work. If you no sell—they no keep. On to the next and rinse and repeat.
Rupi Kaur is "Annie" to Simon & Schuster's "Daddy Morebucks".
Now AMAZON...that's the Bezos orphanage. They'll take anyone and everyone left on the stoop of their door. You know what we call that? A necessary evil. Authors need motivation to write a book especially first-timers. I know because I'm one of them.
The book will be written. And we will pour and pour and pour over it. Where will it go when its finally in good-enough shape to be submitted? Well...rejection is hard and you always remember your first. Why would anyone go for the hardest catch when they can get a guaranteed yes? Sure...knowing your worth goes a long way but that's the catch-22 of the matter: knowing your worth often comes hardened by rejection and softened again by forgiveness & compassion.
Amazon may be the most evil corporation to exist in the 21st century but they did give me hope when I needed a reason to march onward (ugh). Now that I've been vetted, I may make different choices. To continue on with AMZ self-publishing through KDP again and again at an ever-accelerating rate will just cheapen the experience, kind of like dating on Tinder or Bumble. I guess seeking a publishing company for future projects feels like an edge...almost analog...instead of instant-digital.
I was young, restless, and naive. I had little faith that a memoir of poetry would be marketable. I still don't know; however, I learned that self-publishing took just as long for me to figure out the first time as it would have to patiently and diligently accept my rejections one after another until I found my forever home.
If you're reading this and someone's told you that you should write a book, or you abandoned a project from lost hope, or you've always though to yourself hmmm, or you're wondering which route to take because there is just SO GODDAMN MUCH INFORMATION OUT THERE HOLY SHIT WILL SOMEONE PLEASE JUST TELL ME WHAT TO—, or none of this author stuff applies to you and you're just wondering if you're worth it...
...worth what? what the fuck are we even talking about? You exist. So do I. We all do. Then...we die. Trees exist and die. Your pet? Yep. Lives and dies. What exactly are we worth? Did you take your first step as a child? Good job. The rest is a bonus. Good job existing.
That's enough of that. It's late, I've had a half-smoked Black & Milk dangling from my lip for this entire rant, and the crickets are calling my outside to enjoy the first cool night since this stupid heat wave.