Posts tagged ‘indie’

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.

 

Art of Selling

First of all, my best wishes for the New Year. This post will take a retrospective tone, my view on becoming an indie author, and what I have discovered on the journey. Last year was very challenging in the personal and the professional aspects, however, I can say that I passed the test – it was the feeling as I received the New Year. I took some time off to think and regroup, and I put writing aside for a while (hence Sunrise Souls is not finished). I am glad that I did this because it made me focus on my journey, and I realized that I create my writing journey and walk its path, and that I don’t have to follow another’s journey – even when it is full of great ideas and awesome “to-do’s.”  It is the spirit of indie – to create and give life to my art form, whatever it may be.

Like many independent authors, I was feeling the pressure of the indie movement (as a general) presented to us by the “new-born gurus,” and which I thought was becoming as rigid as traditional publishing in some aspects. I noticed that “one-way of doing things” was emerging, as well as criticism from the pros who were leading (not on purpose but by default in most cases) the masses of newborn indies who were trying to walk before they learn to crawl, maybe because they felt the same pressure to keep up with the rapid changes while not realizing that the pros and gurus did their crawling and hard work before walking, and took their time. I also saw the insane craving for sales, writing tons of books fast, and making money while the market “is not too saturated,” and that did not make sense to me because it was not part of my journey. The more I learned about this movement, the more I understood what I wanted my journey to be, as well as my pace and method. I guess that in short, I can say that I am not a follower but appreciate many points of view and understand that there is more than one way of doing things.

As I gave myself the time to do nothing, I found myself watching two major shopping networks during the holidays. I don’t watch too much television, and I did not buy anything, but I kept coming back to these hosts who understood the art of selling and promoting. I was mesmerized by the choice of words in description, and by the feelings that these words created in an almost non-perceived way. At one point, I heard the callers repeating the same words of the host, as if they had made the discovery. These hosts were doing the impossible – they were practicing the art of selling from afar, of selling something via the air waves, something not yet tangible to the audience, but these callers wanted it badly. The key to their selling was not to sell, but to create a strong desire, a “want it now – have to have it” feeling. They are successful at it. Although I have a strong background in sales (real estate and jewelry/diamontology), and always knew that the key to selling is not to sell at all, it was the level of descriptive selling and choice of words that caught my attention and admiration of their craft. Some of these hosts do a three-hour show on a line, and many seem to have a huge following of customers for many years. Many recognize a caller from time to time. All this lead me to think about my writing, not so much about selling or promoting, but about the necessary time to create, to build a story with the right words, and to let these words do most of the selling, awaking feelings in the reader. I am not saying that an author should not sell or promote a product, it is a necessary practice. What I am saying is that I should put more attention on the product (the writing and crafting of the story) that on the number of books, sales numbers, or revenue. I want to make a living from my writing, yes, but I don’t want that to be my sole focus/effort.  Going back to the shopping network hosts, the ones who seemed to sell more, were the hosts who focused the effort on creating a love affair with the product.

One thing that became clear during this time is that I will pursue my writing on my own terms, while keeping an open mind about new developing, and while enjoying the journey. A journey that I want to create at my own pace and space while being true to my work ethic and working style. It is the indie spirit after all.

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!

 

 

 

Today, I Must Rant

Over the weekend, I was disappointed and annoyed. I am sure that this happens to many indie authors, and I would like your opinion on this issue. I checked my books on Amazon and realized that other independent Amazon sellers were selling the paperbacks at unreasonable and shameful prices. One of my novels was priced over $100 dollars. It made me angry because, this is stealing from readers, and I worked very hard to produced those books, and I don’t like the idea that someone is allowed to sell my novels at an exorbitant price, and make more on one book that I would make as an author in selling several. Do you understand my point?

I checked several indie authors and most of them had the same problem with their novels. I checked a best-selling author who publishes traditionally, and she did not have this issue. I don’t know if this happens with indie authors because many are not in the category of best-selling authors yet, but to me, there should be a stop to this madness. I understand that every seller has the right to price their product, but ridiculously overpricing a novel that the author has priced reasonably is unethical. I don’t know who would pay over $100 for a used book that they can buy new for under $15.00, but obviously someone does, otherwise this would not happen.  Amazon should regulate this issue. Of course, there is the argument that no one is putting a knife in the neck of the buyer, if they want to buy the book for the abominable price.

As an indie author, what do you think? Are you experiencing this?

Now, to my other disappointment – The FAKE WordPress blogs. I saw that a suspicious fake WordPress blog (that had no content) posted one of my posts (A Gift for You) as a reblog. When I looked at the blogger/blog there was no content at all in the site, only my post, making it appear as if I was the blogger giving away my novel. Immediately, I reported it to the WordPress team. I am awaiting a response. This happened yesterday. Again, I understand this happens, but it would be nice if WordPress would require their users to legitimize themselves by having a full profile and the required information before allowing them to have a blog. I think there should be a measure in place. As an author, I love WordPress, and overall, it has a great community and an awesome team. It is my blogging platform by choice, and in my opinion the best out there.

In both instances, my husband was upset and irate, because he knows how much effort and care I put into my work. I think there should be boundaries and regulations that would not allow this type of issues to exist so easy. And the word here is EASY.

What has been your experience as a blogger or indie author?

 

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