What's a writer to do?

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year you may have noticed a bubbling discontent with Amazon by a number of better known indie authors out there. J. A Konrath has recently stated, in the comments for his December 19 post, that he was stepping away from Amazon's KPD Select program, once his ninety days were up in late January. Holly Ward, who writes romances under the name H.M. Ward recently revealed that in KU her earnings have plummeted by as much as 75% as a result of borrows instead of sales.

For an indie author, enrollment in Amazon's Select program allowed them to offer the enrolled title free for five days for every ninety day term. Aside from price matching making a title permanently free it was the only way an author could offer their work for free to the massive audience Amazon has nurtured. The Select program, in its infancy, was directly responsible for a number of indie authors becoming bestsellers.

Earlier this year Amazon rolled out its subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, that allowed members to  borrow an unlimited number of kindle titles for one low monthly fee. It was Amazon's response to Oyster and Scrib'd, two stand alone subscription services that have done for e-books what Netflix has done for movies.

If the member read the borrowed title beyond ten percent it triggered a payment to the author. Some authors, those with titles priced from $0.99  to $2.98 actually benefited from the program as the payment was averaging about $1.30 per borrow. On titles priced between a $0.99 and $2.98 the author makes 35%, of the purchase price for each sale. So for a book priced at say $2.98, the author would make approximately $1.05, or $0.35 for each dollar.

Authors with higher priced books such as $2.99, who were used to earning 70%, or $2.06 for each sale, were taking a beating due to Kindle Unlimited. To add insult to injury it was learned that Amazon was also offering two payment tiers for its lending program. Trad published titles were being reimbursed at their agreed upon rate, while Indie authors were being paid from a pool, with payments ranging from $1.30 to $1.60 per borrow.

When I began this journey at the end of 2011, the possibilities seemed unlimited. But the times they are a changing, much has been said about the Amazon lending program both for and against it. Some heavy names have weighed in with their discontent.

But you know what?

Does anyone really have any control over what Amazon does?


The only thing I have any control over is my own writing, whether it gets done or not in a reasonable amount of time. So while everyone's gnashing their teeth, and spouting off about what evil Amazon has once again foisted upon the world of Indie publishing, I'll be over here writing.

After all that's the only thing I have any control over.

Performance Anxiety?

That got your attention didn't it?

When one spots a title like that surely the content that follows is going to be focused on sex, right?


I'm sorry to disappoint you. Outside of the bedroom performance anxiety is a pretty common occurrence among those who perform before a live audience. Stage fright is the more common name for performance anxiety. Musicians, athletes, stage actors, public speakers all experience performance anxiety at one time or another.

It's that butterflies in the stomach feeling, the fear that once you step out onto that stage you're going to do something memorable in a stupid sort of way, or worse yet, you're mind will go blank, and everything you've rehearsed will be forgotten.

Writers experience that same sensation but usually for a different set of reasons. What normally goes through the writers mind as they embark upon a new endeavor is the fear that this time out will not be as good as the last time. That what they produce will be well beneath the standard they have established for themselves with their last release. That the words will not flow as well as they once did.

For the writer performance anxiety leads directly to writers block. In most cases writers block arises not from a lack of ideas, but from a lack of excitement for the writers current project, or an overwhelming avalanche of ideas the writers is having a hard time choosing from. The latter is what is currently holding me up.

My intent had been to write a coming of age story for release early next year, one I had written a screenplay for several years ago. Unfortunately the muse has other ideas as it keeps teasing me with snippets of a tale that is on my to do list, but not as close to the top as others projects I wanted to finish. Then of course there's the first draft of a novel that has been sitting on my desk for nearly six months now waiting for me to put aside these other tasks so we can spend some time together. To top it off there are a number of really neat ideas swirling around in my mind as we speak.

What I really need is a daily planner to get my limited writing time in order so I can finish some projects. I work a full time job, and while some might assume my writing is nothing more than a hobby, for me it's serious work. I worry over the placement of every word, did this sound right? will the reader understand what is really happening? am I explaining too much? too little? Striking that balance is a full time job. I could fill reams of paper explaining why something happened, but would anybody read it, it's doubtful.

My goal of course is to be able to support myself with my writing. I'm standing upon the threshold of three years as an indie writer. I've learned a lot in that time. And I've yet to make any serious money at it, but I remain optimistic that my time is yet to come. It is that optimism that compels me to sit at my desk every morning, to push through my own performance anxiety, and create what I hope will be considered a good read.