Posts tagged ‘indie author’

Inevitable

How did you fall into writing? The inevitable question. I’ve been asked the question many times. Other times, followed by, “I never knew you were into that?”

How do you answer it? I fell into a pile of books while going downstairs half asleep. No seriously, have you thought of the moment when you became interested in writing? Not when you felt “a writer,” because that moment might never come. The usual answer people give is, “I’ve written since I can remember.”  If I go back in time, I can see a child who read everything she got her hands on, a child who amassed a large quantity of pens and pencils, a child who thought that a typewriter was the greatest invention on the planet, and also loved the scent of new notebooks and old books (I still do). I also see a child who followed members of the family, while holding a notebook and pen, and wrote in it everything they did. I see a child who kept diaries, and then, burned them. How many stories do I have from my early years, my teenage years, and the years until I decided to become a writer? None. Not even one. Why? For some inexplicable reason, I had a habit; I burned everything I wrote or broke it into tiny pieces. I never kept one story. It puzzles me today. Although I had the desire to become a writer, I never pursued it. I went into many different careers, pretty much anything that I fancied at the time, but always kept that secret desire well-kept inside me. I had an image of writers that didn’t fit who I thought I was. I saw writers as old people with money. Where did that image came from? I don’t know.

Well, to answer the question – How did I fall into writing? When I resigned from my last job, I felt a strong urge to write, and I did. Almost as a long-lost calling, too loud to keep ignoring. At that same job, in one of our meetings my former boss asked an exercise question to start the meeting. It was, “If you were not here, what would you rather be doing; what is your ideal job?” Each one of us was urged to answer, and we did. Some of us answered honestly, including her, who’d rather be a detective. I answered, “I see myself writing at a cottage near the sea.” Of course, I got the weird looks, but not from her. She said, “I can see you doing exactly that.” Going back to that memory, I think that was the moment when I fell into writing.

Five Annoying Questions For Indie Writers and Possible Answers

If you are an independent writer, it is likely that you have been asked one or more of these annoying questions, and usually by people who have not read any of your books. These are questions that are “meant to happen” at one point or another, so might as well have some fun answering them.

Question: Why do you write?

Answer: Why do you breathe?

Question: Are you really published? I mean not self-published.

Answer: Do you own the company you work for?

Question: Do you make any money doing that?

Answer: How much money do you make at your job?

Question: What is your real job?

Answer: What is your life purpose?

Question: Is it true that self-publishing killed literature?

Answer: Is it dead? Oh, my sincere condolences.

 

It is probable that you have been asked at least one of the questions above mentioned. Instead of becoming annoyed, have fun answering them. I invite you to share some of your own.

 

7 Steps to Polish Yourself as an Indie Author

As the title suggests, this post is simple and clear, and mostly describes in a general way the steps I took to follow my intention of becoming and independent author. It is a summary of steps targeted to those thinking about the topic, and wanting to know a few simple but necessary steps to take. This is what I have done and continue to do to grow as part of my journey.

  1. The first thing to do is just Write. It doesn’t matter how much you learn in theory if you do not apply it in practice. You must write and write a lot. It will help you develop a style and a sense of comfort in your own skin – because you will be your worst critic.
  2. Learn from the masters. Read best-selling authors who have been in the craft/business for long, whether they are traditionally published or not. If they have made it so far, they must offer valuable insight. Study their style and enjoy their work. Keep it simple.
  3. Read in your genre. If you have a feel for the type of stories that you want to share with readers, then read other authors who have done it. If anything, it will help you become clear on your goals as a writer, as well as discover other areas of interest.
  4. Read books to improve your writing, grammar, spelling … Educate yourself as much as you can. I would rather spend time polishing my writing than attending critique groups or book clubs. Be wise with your learning time; you know your needs.
  5. If you want to publish independently you must learn about it as much as your time allows, but keep it simple. Learn the basics and keep learning. This is a movement that is gaining momentum now and developing further due to advances and changes in technology. There has always been independent authors, however, it is a new game now and the doors are open thanks to technological advances. It is also viable and less expensive for the same reason.
  6. Learn about technology. It dictates the future of book publishing and book reading. It is wise to be somehow knowledgeable about trends, even if you have no intention to embrace it right away. At least you will have an idea on where things are headed.
  7. You might not like this last one – learn about marketing and promoting your work. Most writers think about the story and not about this part; it feels alien to their nature. It is necessary, and learning as much as you can about this topic will benefit you even if you decide to go the traditional route or if you hire someone to help you with it. Knowledge gives you a sense of control, and eases your mind.

Overall, keep it simple and don’t agonize over it. Let your writing become better, and follow your own pace. It is an ongoing effort.

Indie Resources

Since I took the path of becoming an indie author, a priority has been to learn more of the evolving and growing movement. From time to time, I come across material that in my opinion, every independent author should read, as it may be very beneficial. I came across two important books that I am reading now, and a third that I am planning to read next. I could not pass on the opportunity to mention them here, hoping that any indie authors out there that need this information will benefit. These have been written by people who have walk the path and done the job, as well as independent authors, entrepreneurs. Here they are,

  • Business for Authors – How to be an author entrepreneur – Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn is a very successful independent author and entrepreneur, and one of the leading figures of the movement.

A book about the subject of intellectual property,

  • How to Use Eye-catching Images Without Paying a Fortune or a Lawyer – Helen Sedwick

Helen Sedwick is a California attorney and independent author who represents small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Another book by Helen Sedwick on my “to own” list is Self-publishers Legal Handbook. 

If you have embraced becoming an indie author for the long run, I advice you to start your own learning library, as I am doing. The more you know the better, and knowledge will enhance your journey, and hopefully, will make it fruitful.

 

Making Sense of the Indie Movement

We are living in exciting times for independent writers, musicians, artists … and it is so thanks to the technological developments and new venues of communication. Therefore, the independent (indie) movement was bound to gain new heights. I say new heights because indies have been around for long. It is because these changes and ease of publishing (almost at no upfront cost) that the indie movement flourished the way it has, and will continue. The publishing industry has been jolted, and this is just the early stages. It is not clear what will happen next, but for now, the doors are open and independent writers may share their work openly and become as creative as they dare. Daring times!

However, every time there is a revolution, people tend to make sense of the process, share experiences, groups are born, and in the hopes of giving cohesiveness to the experience, sets of rules appear, “ways of doing things the new way,” and leaders, preachers, and experts emerge. It is all a normal process and it is meant to grow and move along the revolution. However, as indies we should beware of a tendency – that the revolution does not morph into tradition, rendering the movement powerless. This is where our responsibility as independent writers stands. Each one of us must learn, consume, and study the movement, the fruits of it, to decide our role in it. Just because trends show up does not mean that it is a “one size fits all” kind of deal. On the contrary, it is the opposite to the indie movement.

To an aspiring writer who wants to publish independently, it is like a huge treasure box full of many tools, advice, do’s and don’ts, experiences … but it is also very confusing, and if the person does not continue to educate herself/himself and becomes a follower, it all may backfire and become overwhelming none the least, and even uninspiring. I am convinced the indie evolution will continue, and I think we have taken baby steps so far – there is more to come. This is why my approach to all this is one of learning and observing while doing. It is my way of making sense of the indie movement. How?

For once, before deciding to become and independent author, I learned as much as I could about it, compared it to what information was available about traditional publishing, and then, examined my personal criteria – values, work ethic, working style, expectations, and goals. Over some time, I was not sure of what path to follow, and I had not submitted work to agents, which made my decision solely based on the above mentioned personal criteria. Once I deeply thought of these things that were very important to me, and considered all the information I gathered, the decision became obvious and clear to me – I wanted to become and indie author. Then I took the steps. However, because all the changes occurring in the publishing industry and all the new information available, new faces rising, leaders, preachers … I will not deny that as exciting as it was, the experience was also overwhelming and exhausting. And this is when I decided to stop following advice, and instead treat each available piece of information and experience  as precious, be grateful for it, study it, evaluate it against my personal criteria, and look inside myself and embrace only the advice and information/methods/”to do’s” and so much more … that were aligned and in balance with my personal criteria, while developing my own style. This is how I embrace independent publishing.

It is just the beginning, and I think that over the next few years we will be amazed at what is to come, and many will be inside the process, outside of it, while others will be it. Daring times!

 

 

 

Introvert of Introverts

Lately, I read or hear an increasing amount of information on the topic of being and introvert, and wonder if the people who call themselves introverts have mislabeled themselves. Introvert is not synonym of shy. According to the popular definition now, an introvert is a person who recharges or gets his/her energy from enjoying moments of solitude, working alone, as opposed to an extrovert who energizes by having people around, spending time with others and socializing in more live environments. An introvert would feel drained in this environment, and would need “quiet time” to recover. That does not make him/her a loner, socialization/interaction is enjoyed in moderation. This definition sounds good to me.

Another topic that goes hand in hand with this one is book marketing. Indie authors who consider themselves introverts might have a hard time grasping the now popular concept of indie book marketing, which just as the indie publishing movement, has gained momentum, hence all the bombarding with Must Dos, Nevers, and Don’ts related to self-publishing and book marketing. For an Introvert of Introverts, all this advice may be confusing, overwhelming, exhausting, and frightening. Why?

Most likely, when a movement starts and gains momentum, by default it gains followers, and originates experts, teachers, gurus … and so on, and where there are leaders, there must be followers, and followers sometimes forget that they are the leaders of their own movements, life, and or projects. Introverts who are also followers may feel/think that they have to follow or catch up with all the advice that there is about self-publishing/book marketing and end up feeling so overwhelmed that they might end up frozen or unable to decide, frustrated, and in despair because they cannot follow all the advice. As an example, I will use my dislike of making videos or vlogs, and yes, I consider myself an introvert in the sense of the above mentioned definition. What I’m trying to convey is that introversion is not a black and white topic, it has shade areas or degrees, and as so, introverts should assess what their likes and dislikes are, their level of comfort, and decide which activities fit better with their personalities, and focus on those. Just because everyone is Vlogging does not mean that you have to, and if you love blogging but dislike being in too many social networks at once because you become overwhelmed with too much interaction, then focus on one or two that you love most. Tailor your book marketing activity to your personality and level of comfort and enjoy yourself, otherwise, if you try to catch up with everyone else, introverts who enjoy a higher level of interaction, or the extroverts, you may end up frustrated and angry at yourself. People grow and evolve, and what I dislike at a particular moment, I may end up embracing in the future – it is evolution, and introverts evolve as well.

It is not a race, it is a journey, your journey, so choose wise, and enjoy every minute of it. Journey

Dichotomy: Learning and Doing

Learning and doing are two different animals as far as I am concerned, that is, when I think about my writing journey.  We all start with that yearning and passion for writing, followed by another desire – publishing our works.  You set sail to learn as much as you can about the craft; and if you are like me, you spend years learning the path.  This is when it gets interesting, at least for me.

I learned much before deciding to publish my novels; however, I have to admit that I did not do as I learned.  Much of what I read was tailored to traditional publishing.  It wasn’t until the last couple of years that self publishing became a more acceptable vehicle for writers.  England still struggles a bit with the concept, for what I have read, not as welcoming as the USA; however, getting better.  When I was thinking about publishing my work, what I was learning seemed to go against my grain; however, I kept learning and informing myself as much as I could – learning the entire process, and writing, until I got to the point that I was ready to decide, I mean, ready to send that first query, that first manuscript, which somehow, did not feel right to me.  So I sent one query, and it wasn’t until I physically did it, that I realized that I did not want to take that path.  At least, now I was going somewhere, although I was glad for the time spent learning.  Soon, I realized that I was yearning for the Indie lifestyle, to self-publish and be there (participant) the entire process, responsible for every bit of it – despite the immense task that it presented.  I realized that I wanted to become an indie author.  I set sails again, learning as much as I could about the process.  In my heart, I knew that it was the path I wanted to take; however, the self-publishing frenzy that was going on, added to the still negative talk about self-publishing, kept me waiting, unable to dive into it.

I learned the process, but I was unable to dive into the vast sea.  I questioned my indecision – it wasn’t until I understood my fear of being branded as an indie, of becoming an abomination, a heretic in the publishing arena, even when I knew that it was the right match for my working style, my ethics, and my personality.  For some reason, the information that I had consumed earlier, had led me to believe that once I became an indie author, there was not going back – the damage was done, permanently.  How had I become to believe such absurd idea?  Understanding where my worry originated made it easy to take the plunge, and so I did.  This year I published Moonlit Valley and Ramblings of the Spirit (book 1 of The Dinorah Chronicles), which are available via Amazon.  By the end of this year I expect to publish The Book of Sharon (book 2 in the chronicles).  Once I decided to become what my heart was telling me, the rest was easy.

I had entered the indie world, lonely at times, however exciting and challenging.  I branded myself as such, and after learning about many indie authors who have gone back to publishing the traditional way (offered contracts) or traditionally published authors who have become indie authors (setting themselves free), I realized that what you learn and what you do sometimes becomes a dichotomy, for whatever reasons. To each, its own.

Now, what about heavy promoting and marketing? The learning continues, and so the doing, which seems to differ, once more.  Although, I will do some promoting and marketing of my novels, I won’t fully dive deep until I feel that I have at least 5-7 novels under my belt.  There is a reason for it, and it does not translate in total disregard of my work or marketing it. Instead, it responds to my desire of building a brand, developing it, and tie everything together.  To me, it seems easier to heavily market your work when there is more of it, exposed, than to do it when there is only a few (1-2) samples out.  It makes sense to me.  I rather use that energy (because believe me, promo/marketing requires tons of work, effort, and commitment) to write more novels, build my brand, so later I can dedicate the right time to it, despite the fact that the information I consume tells me that you have to market your novels before releasing them, but I am talking here about a more in-depth marketing, which will require more of my time and commitment as well as a more detailed business/marketing plan.

I have set a goal of reaching my magic number in the next two and a half years. I will be working hard to reach that number.  In the mean time, the learning, the writing, building a brand, and the creation of a marketing plan continues.  I will blog about this topic in future posts.

English: illustration from Leech's comic latin...

English: illustration from Leech’s comic latin grammar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)