I am a card-carrying member of a growing number of individuals, determined to take their own writing career into their own hands. Yup, I am an indie writer.
Indie writers rock. Indie writers hustle. Indie writers network and connect, swapping stories about how this whole process works although none of us truly knows. Yes, indie writers are amazing people. You see, even if we don’t “make it” as authors (and I fully intend to be one of the ones who ”make it” I want you to know), we’re helping shape an entire industry.
Over the last couple of years there’s been a power shift in the world of books, as more and more eBooks and eBook readers flood the market. Let’s face it – being able to download a book and read it in a well lit environment – your eBook reader – is a wonderful thing. In step with this trend are the rising number of self-publishing companies and print on demand, which, coupled with selling giants such as Amazon, enable the author to get his or her book out into the world without having to go through the hoops of getting accepted by a publisher. Hence, the control is starting to shift from the big company to the individual. In an article on the online Wall Street Journal, Richard Nash, former publisher of Soft Skull Press, states, ”It’s a threat to publishers’ control over authors. It shows best-selling authors that there are alternatives—they can hire their own publicist, their own online marketing specialist, a freelance editor, and a distribution service.”
This brings me to my next point – just because you can now write a book and get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and more, doesn’t mean the world will flock to buy your books. Nor does it mean that your book is any good. All indie authors, but especially new indie authors, may find the whole prospect of preparing the book for print, obtaining and listening to valuable critical feedback, as well as actually marketing your book a bit daunting. Since I’ve begun my career as an indie author, I’ve managed to secure a fine editor, and not expect my friends to read my books and provide feedback or even want to read my books just because they are my friends. I figure friends get to be just friends. I’ve learned how to tweet with the finest and now have thousands of followers. The same is true with my Facebook fan page. I spend time every day tweeting, posting to Facebook, trying to find time to write a blog entry, adding to my website, searching for publicists, rejecting publicists, trying a new marketing angle, buying ads, checking stats…whew! All that on top of my busy, full time job plus my many and varied interests in life. Did I say an indie writer has to hustle? Well, she does!
Still, when all is said and done I wouldn’t have it be any other way (but if you do have a better way that you think I might like, try me!). I like steering my own ship, dancing to my own drummer, wrangling my own destiny. I’ve always been this way. I make a terrible wife, a horrid employee and so own my own very successful business, have a wonderful, non-married committed partner and now am enjoying the hell out of my life as I learn and grow as an indie writer. And, just as people around the country are out in the streets trying to wrest the control of power away from big bankers and fat cat corporations, the indie authors of the world are wresting control from big publishers one book at a time.
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