We’ve all heard it. I’m pretty sure we’ve all read it, too. It’s nothing new, but I think it’s something that deals with all authors.
The whole matter is a touchy topic and normally I would just let it roll off my shoulders and say whatever, but for some reason this has really bothered me and I feel like it needs to be said — if only this once.
This post was inspired by an article I read about how indie authors are scum of the writing community and how we are bringing down the publishing world as we know it. Do I believe it?
Uh, hello, I am Airicka and I am an indie author. I am both self published and published through an indie publishing house.
Now the tricky part about this kind of post is, do I think indie authors are somehow less than traditional authors? And why do people turn to indie publishing in the first place? Is it because their material is horrible and they’ve been turned down by one too many traditional houses?
Now I’m not saying that’s the case with all indie authors. I’ve met authors who refuse to go the traditional route because they don’t agree with the way things are run by traditional houses. For others it’s because they’ve already done the traditional thing and want to try something new. Whatever the reason may be, everyone has one. Are any of these reasons wrong? Should these people feel ashamed that they’ve taken matters into their own hands?
Is self publishing as big as traditional publishing? Are indie authors taking away from big house publishing? Are indies somehow rising up to take over the world?
Of course not. Books are books are books are books.
What gets me riled up is when people say indie authors are lazy and full of crap. I don’t know about other authors, but I work on my novels for 16 hours everyday. I run each one through rigorous editing before its release. I spend no less then 6 hours a day on my social media, promoting myself and my books. I spend weeks on my covers. All that is not including the time with my family, time I do my day to day business. In total, I work more on one novel then a regular person works at a 9-5 job. Now, can I say that all indie authors do the same? No, I can’t. Are all indie authors dedicated and hard working? I can’t say. I’ve read self published books with absolutely gorgeous covers that made me want to pour bleach into my eyes. And I’ve read books with hideous covers that I love to this day. In that same breath, I’ve read books by traditional authors that were riddled with errors and the plot made me want to burn my kindle yet they went on to become best sellers. What does that tell you?
It tells you that neither side is right and neither side is wrong. It tells you that what works for one person won’t work for another. It tells you that when a person puts their heart and soul, blood and sweat into something they love with a passion, it shows. Yes, there are indie authors who write one book and decide this isn’t for me and quit. But there are traditional authors that do the same.
I think the key point people are missing in all this is the fact that we’re all here for one reason and one reason only… to write, to express ourselves through the written word, to put out there a part of us for others to read and enjoy. It’s about the passion. Not everyone has it, but those that do should never give it up because someone tells them their dream is a loss cause or worth less because it’s not the ‘norm’.
If you don’t believe me…
~ J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times for Harry Potter. She went on to sell 450 million world wide.
~ Dr Seuss was rejected and told his books would never sell. He’s sold 300 million and is the 9th best-selling fiction author of all time.
~ Stephenie Meyer was rejected 14 consecutive times for Twilight but went on to sell 17 million copies and spent 91 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
~ Stephen King was rejected for Carrie and went on to sell 1 million in the first year alone.
Need more proof? Or maybe you’re thinking, well those are all traditionally published authors. It’s not the same. Okay.
~ Amanda Hockings
~ Hugh Howey
~ Darcie Chan
~ Bella Andre
~ Jasinda Wilder
Should I continue? Or maybe I should just send you here, Famous Self-Pub & Traditional Author List and let you decide for yourself?
The point of the matter is this, if you work at anything, be it writing, drawing, hopscotch or breaking the record for spitting the farthest, you can accomplish it. No one is born with a talent. Talent is something we create on our own with practice and dedication.
So how can you make sure your books don’t fall into the junk pile?
1) Read — I think Stephen King said it best, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.”
2) Write — Got a book you’re writing? You’re almost done? Fantastic. Keep writing. Carve out a time where you can sit and write uninterrupted. Impossible you say? I have kids? I have a day job? I have a family? Then I don’t know what to tell you. Get serious about your writing if it’s important to you. Find time.
3) Edit — Edit. Edit. Edit. Then Edit again. I cannot express how important this is. Forget everything else. This is what people will take away from your book. They’ll forget your cover, your name, but they will remember a half assed written novel. Poorly written work shows the author’s dedication. Prove you’re dedicated.
4) Promote yourself — Put yourself out there. Support other authors and they’ll in turn support you. More importantly, set a time to promote. I’ve met authors who promote for an hour a day, thinking that’s enough. And all they do is post their book link and tell people to buy it. It doesn’t work like that.
5) Visibility — Make yourself visible. Send out links when you do blog tours, cover reveals or whatever. Give your readers a place to find you, to chat with you, to get to know you. If they can’t find you or your books, they’ll move on to another author, to another book. Show them where you are.
6) Connect — Connect with your readers. Connect with your fellow authors. And more importantly, connect with Bloggers. Support them. Buy their books, share their links and make sure you always respond to their comments/messages when they’ve taken the time to contact you.
Finally, and this is the most important piece of advice I can give you, whoever told you writing would be easy is a liar. It’s hard, grueling work. It’s harder then a normal job simply because there is no stamping out at the end of the day. In order to succeed, you must lather, rinse and repeat every day, and every day is a 20/hr business day. I’m not saying it’s the same for every author. Not everyone is as OCD and anal as I am, but it’s all about time management. Manage your time accordingly. And stock up on coffee and aspirin.
So to go back and answer my first question, do I think indie authors are crap.
My response — I have absolutely no business telling anyone they’re crap, be they indie, be they traditional. No one can understand the blood and sweat that goes into creating a single chapter like another author.
Be your own passion. Always.