Just over a year ago, I made the impossible choice to become an Indie author, instead of trekking down the arduous path towards traditional publishing. A choice I made for many reasons.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!
Are there things I would change about my journey? Abso-freakin-lutely!
My only regret is simple: under absolutely no circumstance do you quit your financially secure day job, without having a concrete back up plan. I can’t emphasize this enough.
When I made the choice to “take time off”, it was only supposed to be six months, as I knew I had enough savings to get me through. Sadly, finding a fulltime job again has turned out to be even more difficult than writing 3 novels was. I’m not joking, either. And the lack of funds has made it impossible to afford many of the marketing campaigns, SWAG, and events I’d like to do, as well as outsourcing editorial services I need to make my books the quality I’d like them to be. All of these things keep me from being able to find new readers more easily. Simply because of money.
Or rather, lack thereof.
Trust me, had I known what I’d run into on the job front, I would have never made the choice I did. For now, book sales only amount to part-time income, which is very difficult to live on, especially when you have a diabetic cat who needs constant medical attention. UGH! But the crazy thing is, even though I’m barely scraping by right now, I’m still somehow happier than I’ve ever been.
So I guess there’s something to be said for doing what you love.
Without a publisher to guide you, the first book many Indie author’s release will be their weakest, while hopefully they grow, and learn, as they become a more seasoned writer. I believe this to be the case for me. Having been five years since writing TETHERED, there is so much I would love to go back and change. And it’s been obvious to others as the series evolves and I settle into my voice, allowing the writing to improve.
I’ll never be the best technical writer. I accepted that long ago! But I hope to always be honing my craft—to be the best writer I can possibly be.
I won’t lie, I had some pretty big expectations when I first started out. No, I wasn’t expecting my sweet series to be a New York Times best seller, but I thought I would at least be able to pay the bills. It didn’t take long to realize the industry is so completely different than I thought it was. And the pace things move . . . OMG, don’t even get me started on how things crawl. But the perspective I’ve gained, will definitely help me in moving forward. 2015 will be a much better year.
2014 was scary and exciting as I published my first 3 novels, while at the same time, a truly humbling, eye-opening year.
I might not be where I’d like to be financially—but I’m so grateful for the person I’ve become through this process. I’ve grown gator-thick skin, and developed an abundance of patience I never thought I’d possess. And if you know me personally, you’ll know just how huge that is.
So as far as the lessons we learn in life go, it was priceless!
But that isn’t the only thing I’ve learned. Along the way, there’s an important tidbit I’ve gleaned from my peers: the best marketing for a new author, is MORE BOOKS! As of now, I have enough ideas to keep me writing for the next 5 years, and then some. Plus, my next release is so freakin’ unique and quirky, I just can’t contain my excitement. And because of that, I know it will all work out in the end.
Yes, the eternal optimist in me never gives up hope.
I’m a fighter.
I’ll probably never be one of the lucky few who make truckloads of money with their paranormal stories. Mainly because I know my “fresh and breezy” writing style, just isn’t for everyone.
And that’s okay!
The wonderful thing is, I have found wonderful fans who do love it. As a writer, all you can ever hope for is to find an audience who appreciate your voice . . . and the intricate world you weave for them. Even if they’d all fit comfortably in a stadium, as opposed to a few continents.
It’s not about quantity.
It’s about quality.
And I have fans more amazing than I ever thought possible.
The last important element I’d like to touch on is about the Indie community as a whole. I have never in my life met a more down-to-earth, open, friendly, and helpful group of people. From day one, they welcomed me with open arms, and never cease to be there, day or night, when I need them.
I’ve never experienced such a true feeling of belonging, in any other aspect of my life.
These hardworking authors, who are after the exact same thing, are so willing to share their stories of woe—and triumph—wholeheartedly. After becoming utterly jaded with many less-than-savory experiences in my life, this community has singlehandedly helped restore my faith in mankind a bit.
Something I never thought would happen.
But these generous folks, many of which have become my friends, are the most amazing people. Without their support and guidance, I’m honestly not sure how this year would have turned out. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you Indie community! I wouldn’t have survived it without you!
As writers, there are no two paths created equally.
What works for one author—might bomb for another.
But as long as perseverance and determination remain a constant in your life—you will be a success—simply by doing the one thing you love more than anything.