The publishing industry is a highly variable field. Publishing books is, despite certain IRS standards, business. That means it's dependent on the seller's ability to get the word out: advertising. Independent authors invariably hit a snag in using various "free" on-demand print and/or ebook production sources, all of it hanging precariously (at best) on their ability to advertise.
I have 8 books out there. Lacking formal education or institutional type support, lacking funds to mount an efficient if not enormous advertising campaign, and physically unable due to health concerns to hold the proverbial day job, I must depend on free/low-cost, on-demand, or volunteer/co-support resources. Not only am I attempting to produce highly complex creative projects that often require research and other sidecar work, but I am also the sole provider of email, advertising, special shipping and delvery requirements, billing and tax records... the lot. I am the entire business/artist.
Having also been involved in the visual arts community for a lot longer than I've been writing, I can tell you that every form of creative arts faces the same challenges. Getting the product out into a selling market and still maintaining time to create is far from easy.
For various reasons, I don't have academic connections. Those can help. However, one must also juggle the cost of college against the benefits - which can vary, given a writer's possible genre branches and any loyalty to those. It's a conundrum, one not familiar to me.
I am a bumbler in the arts world, no doubt in my mind. I'm no longer young. I don't have genre limits in mind, and I have no agent or counselor to guide me, nor do I have resources to use for any media support. Web presence is also lacking: I have blogs, but no website. Social media use is at best a stop-gap. To make it worse, all I can do to avoid being branded by the early nonfiction collection is to use two separate nom de plumes, each drawn from variations of my own name. Ergo the fiction is sold by "R. Lee Tipton" and "R. L. Mackintosh" is used for the nonfiction. Yes... confusing!
After a few months of hiatus caused by economic, personal, and technical (laptop death) difficulties, I am back at work. I work when I can, and I don't mourn about what cannot be done. Simply moving forward has become my focus. It's not too surprising that there's a survivalist angle to the stand-alone dystopian science fiction novel I'm working on. The manuscript has exceeded 28,000 words, aimed at a loose total of around 85,000 - material far more serious in flavor than the Glimmerings series novels, and planned as being twenty-five percent larger than those. At present, the rough draft's estimated completion date is Hallowe'en. The title is The Wayfarer. Publication is iffy... I'm not going to bother with the whole immediate gratification thing any further.
I write to challenge myself, to reach a little further outside the comfort zone, to learn, and yes, to keep from being mentally idle even when my body cannot maintain the physical pace. If I don't like the characters or their story, there's no use in pursuing it.
Following The Wayfarer, I have an unfinished Glimmerings novel (# 4) that might take a couple weeks to complete to first draft status. Another Glimmerings exists in notes - that one will follow, if all goes well, a mainstream stand-alone novel called The Bones of These Hills (Appalachian based). The "big one" - Song of the Rain Crow: Psalms From the Book of Memories (deeply lyric prose, heavy on Appalachian history) - is taking its sweet time, just as it should.
Again, any further publication is iffy on these. Funds do not exist to promote any of them. Sometimes art is only created for the heart of the artist, and nothing else matters. One does the best work possible, and moves on.
Life doesn't stop because of stress, it goes on in spite of it. Try to choose your ground well. Good hunting. T
That's the story. :-) Peace.