No, there’s nothing to worry about!
In the ongoing delight (and I’m not being sarcastic!) of pre-novel-launch excitement, I received a small parcel of ACTUAL PAPERBACK COPIES of my novel this week. I mean they weren’t free or anything, I had to pay for them, so you know, it cost me money. But… here’s the thing. If I was publishing in the more generally understood usual way (otherwise known in the community as ‘trad publishing’ which makes me wince a little, why not use all the syllables?) there’s no such thing as a free lunch in that environment either.
Unless you get very, very lucky, via the traditional route you are still expected to market your own book, very heavily. Your advance is not going to be Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell stratospherically huge. And your royalties? Pfft. Let’s not talk about that. The average wage for a novelist is… small. Especially when you think of the hours and months and not unusually, years, that go into crafting a manuscript even before the author gets even close to the agent/publisher stage of the process. And then it’s a massive lottery. The author is hoping that an agent somewhere will like the manuscript well enough to take it on and market it out to publishers. And then the publishers have to be in the right frame of mind too. Fair enough, it’s business. But it depends on many, many ‘what ifs’. Traditional publishing is a tricky process. (I may yet try it one day though because why not?).
I’m not complaining. Nobody forced me to write and dream of being an author. It’s all my own fault! And nobody made me choose independent publishing either. I like control (anyone who knows me, knows that!). I like that I learn knew things. It keeps my brain ticking over. I went into this with my eyes wide open. And it’s been a wonderful fairground ride of fun and oohs and aahs. So. Many. Firsts.
Holding a physical copy of Anti-Virus in my hands, seeing the cover (and feeling it!) in all its glory, admiring the stellar job that has been made of the formatting inside, even the simple joy of the front matter (copyright, ISBN and so on) – these are the firsts of firsts. As one of my wonderful ARC readers wrote in her review on Goodreads (five stars, thank you so much!) ‘TO RULE THEM ALL’ (she used shouty uppercase too!).
So yes, if everything goes up in flames and I am nothing but a crispy corpse when all’s said and done, you’ll have to pry Anti-Virus from my cold dead hands. Once the burning embers have died down. Otherwise they won’t be cold at all…