Advantages and Disadvantages of Being an Indie Author

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Hello everyone – I am an independent writer.  No, please, keep reading – don’t give up on me so quickly.  Yes, I write; and yes, I am proud, as a result, to be self-published.  Yeah, yeah, I know, this can be done by anyone (self-publishing, I mean), but that’s also not to say that all indie writers are mediocre (I’m not talking about my case in particular; let the readers judge that).

At first, when I told my family that I had written a novel and had the intention of self-publishing it on Amazon, they pretty much went into shock.  We were in a McDonald’s, I’ll never forget, on a sunny summer’s day, the children playing happily on the slides outside, Melendi tunes coming from the speakers – everything was playing out in my favour when I dropped the bomb.

Their first utterance, after a small silence of incredulity: “but… you do know it has to be done well, right?”  I, throwing all caution to the wind in becoming a self-publisher, take these reactions with a bit of humour. So, I let loose a bit, (I don’t remember, no; there’s still doubt that remains from, well, doesn’t matter who) and laughed.  But, I’m grateful to talk about all of these things, even with their judgmental stares, expressing their opinions on the matter. Yes, even if beforehand, their opinions regarding this subject came across as disapproving.

This is the first stage, when, with all of the world’s optimistic illusions and innocence, you decide to tell your own little world of your big plans.  Ah, and what come next!  An author with a publisher simply writes and doesn’t have to worry about anything else.  Editing (yes, even the big publishers have some orthographical mistakes), cover design, back-cover design, the book’s spine, layout… All of these things are taken care of by the publisher.

It goes without saying that all of these things come under the responsibility of a self-publisher when they self-publish.  Some pay for these services (keep an eye out for “indie” graphic designers and editors who are definitely out there).  In my case, I did everything myself (I’m lying; my husband helped me out with editing and mediation).

Yes, it’s relatively easy to edit a novel, however, the eyes can betray, and sometimes, the words disguise themselves, hide themselves, make fun of you, working against you in a perfect symbiosis with the white paper, making even the most evident mistakes go unnoticed.  “But even I’ve bought best-sellers with mistakes!”  However, when you read something as simply “a best-seller,” you don’t look for the mistakes; instead, when you read a book that an unknown author wrote, as an individual, you’re gonna get your hands dirty.

So, we’ve come up with our selected platform for the novel that will catapult us towards world fame: edited, with a cover that is more or less, well, it’s a cover, designed with your numbered pages, your table of contents – the whole package.  And now?  We wait patiently and hope that our readers buy our “famed” novel?  Well, perhaps in some cases, Divine Grace  intervened and launched some initial works to the top of the independent/unknown author sales-list.

Lamentably, things don’t often work this way, and there’s not much else to do other than rely on social networks to advertise your work.  So, how does one do that?  Good question.  Like everything: starting from the bottom and learning from your mistakes; pray that a more experienced author sees you stuck in limbo and takes you tenderly by the hand to rescue you.  On this path you will find everything from “vultures,” rising up to meet you, maybe in the form of opportunistic people, or those who wish to exploit you, or, if you’re lucky like me, you will also reap the benefits of finding colleagues, and even friends (if you make the effort to sow, of course).

Ah, and while you’re doing all of this to promote yourself – two to three hours per day if you want to make the most minimum of impacts – you’ll become obsessed with tweets, re-tweets, and “likes;” you’ll really need to make an effort to take time away from it all to spend with your family, to live healthily.  And, naturally, if you are considering becoming a writer, the most important thing of all: keep writing.

I don’t like to discourage authors who may still be doubtful; to those who may feel insecure when someone reads their writing.  No, I don’t regret having been self-published.  I’m going to keep moving forward with my head held high, always, because I know that, some day, I will write the perfect novel, and send it to big publishing companies and then…return to self-publishing.

laura

 

Laura Martin grew up in Gijon, Asturias, surrounded by adventure books – the same ones that invited her to start imagining her own stories.  As a child, her greatest treasure was a little, secret writing journal, in which she wrote all of her inventions, although always left unfinished.  Becoming less and less encouraged by her surroundings, she abandoned her ambitions and pursued social work instead.

At 35 years old, and mother of two children, she is now deciding to listen to her inner voice, which urges her to share her stories with the world.

Living far from home, it hasn’t been easy to combine passions and responsibility, but she hopes to one day make her readers dream as she does.

Entre los nuestros: Un amor apocalíptico sin fronteras

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5 thoughts on “Advantages and Disadvantages of Being an Indie Author

  1. Great article Laura! Well done! Babelsbook is going to support the so much needed solidarity among indie authors that come from different countries and help meet each other.

  2. Wow, Laura, very impressive! For you to learn how to make a cover, then format & upload your manuscript yourself, is a major feat.
    I also self-published, but fortunately, a more seasoned author referred me to an editor and a cover designer who I also paid to format & upload the document. I don’t think I will ever do all that for myself. I was nervous enough just approving all the edits.
    I do think one has to be careful with editors though. A great editor can make the difference between an ok book and a great one!
    As far as promotion goes, you are right: it takes hours a day. But there are ways to promote for a month or two & not break the bank. One can pay a publicist, but most end up asking themselves if it is worth the money. There’s a lot of second-guessing going on & it can be nerve-racking!
    I paid about $3,000 to publish my book, but I made $1200 from a Kickstarter campaign. I am hoping to do one for the prequel to my debut novel (but will probably not use KS as that campaign really kicked my butt!).
    The good thing for both of us? We both retain all rights to our book. There’s always a chance that the book could still get picked up by a publisher. And I am talking to Kostas about doing a translation of my book. There are many things that you can lose rights to when you sign on the dotted line. I even know of someone who paid a vanity publisher about $20,000 & other than getting the book out there, they did nothing to help her. They didn’t even help when she discovered someone had copied her book & was making a mint off it!
    Peace, love & great publishing to all,
    Sherrie
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11Ch5chkAc 😉

  3. Thanks for your helpful and detailed comment, Sherrie! Much appreciated! I also encourage you to join our group on Facebook “Global Authors”.

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