I was asked today on what it was like to be an indie author. I paused, unable to answer. However, now that I have time to reflect on it I believe I have an answer.
Being an indie author is TOUGH. Imagine being thrown out in the middle of the ocean, you don’t know how to swim, and nobody really cares that you’re drowning. That’s kind of like what being an indie author is like. Like crash landing in the Amazon with no provisions, no survival gear, and the rescue helicopter just keeps on flying by. Like being an astronaut landing on the moon, but your ship malfunctions leaving you stranded, and Houston bids you farewell and cuts radio contact.
Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, but the world of indie authors can feel quite lonely. You put months and months of time into a literary project, and after it’s finished and you’ve created the perfect cover, you then have to go through the real horrors of the writing world.
Gosh, I shutter just thinking about it. Marketing is to authors like swimming is to mountain climbers. They simply don’t go together. However, it’s an issue that can be mitigated with vast amounts of time, and a little money thrown towards some marketers. Being an indie author is like being the captain of the ship, and the first mate, and the engineer, and the helmsman, and the navigator, and the radio operator, and the quartermaster, and the rest of the minor crew positions. You see what I spelling out to you, right?
Being an indie author isn’t just being a writer; it encompasses ALL aspects of the writing industry. You are the author, the editor, the cover designer, and the financer. However, on top of all that, you are your own worst critic which leads to many stories never being told in the first place. It’s super sad to think about, but the thought of indie publishing completely turns off would be authors that have some incredible stories to tell which is very unfortunate.
However, I tend take take another viewpoint on indie publishing. One a bit more optimistic. I see indie publishing as a team sport. As the team captain (AKA the writer), I have the responsibility to build a strategic team to help bring the story to life. Each position on the team I fills with a credible third party. Now does this cost money? Absolutely it does, but the way I see it is if you’re an author to make money then forget it. You have to do it for the art. The best payment I can recieve for my hard work is knowing my books are sitting upon the shelves of people’s home libraries. Just writing that give me chills. I’ve seen some gorgeous hoke libraries, and seeing my book within one of those wooden frames would be incredible.
Being an indie author is tough, but not unobtainable. You have to know your limitations, and understand that to have the best quality you HAVE to build a team on professionals for your project. Fullfil your dreams, and don’t let anything hold you back from telling those stories.
If I can do it, so can you.