By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Tag: indie author (Page 1 of 6)

The Quandary of the Indie Author

Write with a timer

by Robert Barry

 

The art of writing is oftentimes misunderstood and the writer’s ability understated. The craft of writing requires skill, clarity and persistence. It is commonly agreed among aspiring and established authors that the greatest hurdle in a writer’s journey is writer’s block which is caused when clarity becomes temporarily obscured. Although this may be true regarding the art of writing, when a self-published author has completed his manuscript he has to embark on an entirely new journey requiring a completely different skill set.


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I am a first time self-published author. After having finished my manuscript I didn’t know where to turn and I found myself in quite a quandary. Naturally, it was a daunting time for me and would be for any first time author. I had so many hurdles to overcome – where would I find an editor, a designer, a marketing agent and someone to negotiate the often times complex procedure of uploading text and design to Amazon and Ingram Spark. I had so many questions but I didn’t know where to turn for the answers. I approached a number of publishers, many of whom didn’t return to me and those that did had taken so long that I had forgotten I had approached them in the first place. After all the time I had spent writing, it occurred to me on occasion that my dream of publishing my first book was never going to be realised. Despite the feeling of dread that this thought instilled in me, I persisted to seek the help I needed.


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I am a firm believer in the concept that if you can imagine it, it either already exists or will in the near future. Given the ever expanding size of the self-publishing market, I imagined that there must exist publishing services specifically designed for the indie author. With this in mind I began searching the internet for such services. During my searches I came across many helpful sites for indie authors. The best among these was https://www.writing.ie/ which answered all my questions and provided exactly what I was looking for – someone who provided the full array of self-publishing services. This allowed me to embark on this entirely new journey without having to acquire a completely new skill set!


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About the Author: Robert Barry was born and raised in Kilkenny City, in the south east of Ireland. He has spent over two decades working in both the engineering and legal fields. Robert’s first published book documents his stories of working and living in London, when he found the Holy Grail, the most sought after artifact of the last two millennia. More about his experiences and life can be found on his website. His book “The Truth” can be found on amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

Five Reasons to Go Indie Instead of Traditional Publishing

Indie Publishing over Traditional

 

by Elaine R Snyder

 

For many years before I chose to publish as an indie author, I worked hard at learning the ropes for traditional publishing, seeking an agent, and expected fully to wait years to finally see my work in print. I had begun gaining ground in the publishing world as I saw a few articles published, had the honor of being published as a poet in a small arts journal, and received several hand-written notes from editors who ultimately rejected my work, but let me know they still liked it.

This was all a good sign, but then I started learning about the behind-the-scenes facts about traditional publishing. I read articles, blogs, and social media posts about how new authors were being treated by their publishing houses, with little support for marketing, little attention given to their careers, and then their books disappeared into the ether of “out of print” status.

Such an end to the hard work a writer puts into an entire novel is entirely too depressing. Perhaps not every novel is worthy of being available for all eternity, but certainly an author deserves the chance to build an audience before throwing in the towel after a matter of months, or even weeks. Certainly a publishing house has advantages like marketing teams, editing staff, and distribution, but if you can be a smart business-savvy writer, you can learn how to accommodate these issues and retain more freedom and control over your work. Regardless of what I share in this article, I encourage all authors to research widely on this subject to make a decision which best suits your publishing dreams. In today’s world, there are a lot of options, and this article will walk you through a few self-publishing advantages.

 

1. You retain all rights to your work.

What does this mean? It means you have full ownership of the book you publish as an author, but be careful. If you publish on Amazon’s Kindle platform, you do retain rights to your work, but there are a few provisos on the “Kindle Select” program. Amazon will try to sell you on the benefits of enrolling in the “Select” program, but you must first agree not to sell on any other platform. If you decline this option, you are still open to publish on any other platform available to indie publishers, like Smashwords, Nook, iBooks, Kobo…the list is getting longer all the time.

It’s a matter of what you really want to get out of the end result that should help you decide. Do you want to be able to toss your hat into a dozen rings, or just sell on the biggest platform of all? A list of pros and cons might go a long way to help you choose which is best, and I recommend reading about the benefits of “Kindle Select” before enrolling. Always read the fine print before enrolling in any online book publishing program to be absolutely certain you retain all rights to the work. If it says anything else, take time to do your research so you understand exactly what your rights are.

 

2. Your book can live forever on the internet.

No matter how few or how many sales you achieve, only you can decide whether or not your book can be taken out of print. If your work still makes you proud in twenty years, you can leave it up for purchase. It’s fairly simple. A publishing house, however, can yank your book anytime it feels you aren’t pulling in enough cash to make their investment worthwhile. So, even if your book is still selling, if the publisher doesn’t think it’s selling well enough, they can nix your novel in a snap. Why leave that decision up to a total stranger? This was one of the biggest factors which pushed me toward indie publishing.

 

No matter how few or how many sales you achieve, only you can decide whether or not your book can be taken out of print.Click To Tweet

 

3. You can release as many books as you want in a year.

Typically, we see only certain authors in the publishing world working hard to release as many as two, three, or four books in a year, and they are usually bestsellers. If you happen to be a prolific writer capable of churning out a book every month (granted, I don’t recommend this for most writers), do you think a traditional publisher would agree to pump out all those volumes of work on a monthly basis? And yet, if you can actually write that much, and have an audience devouring your work, why shouldn’t you be releasing your writing as often as you like?

What’s especially nice is that you aren’t limited to a specific number of pages, so you can write a short “How-To” book, a novella, or a collection of short stories—anything goes. Imagine dropping a book a month and having the opportunity of an income stream from so many bodies of work! On the other hand, if you want to take five years to write a novel in order to get it just right, you can do that, too. As an indie author, your time is your own, and you have no contracts or demands.

 

4. You can be as creative as your imagination allows.

If you’re a writer who doesn’t exactly fit into the neat little cubbies of traditional genres, this may be your ticket to freedom. When I write, I cross all kinds of boundaries with my novels, like mixing SciFi with fantasy, horror with mystery, or whatever else strikes my fancy. This type of creativity isn’t necessarily rewarded in the traditional publishing world, and if you’re the kind of author who likes writing outside of the lines, then you may want to go indie. The markets trend around what’s good, and what gets noticed (read: marketed well), not what follows the “norm.”

 

You decide what’s right for you as an indie author.Click To Tweet

 

I have often received unwanted advice from many writers about keeping myself limited to certain genres, or even just one, but my argument is to look at Nora Roberts or James Patterson. Those two bestselling authors have written in a variety of genres, and are successful at all of them. Why should indie authors be an exception? Rarely will a traditional publisher give a new author such a chance to be creative in this way, and for some writers this is a real loss. I know this advice goes against the grain of what many authors will say, but I see a lot of cross-genre work doing very well on the market. You decide what’s right for you as an indie author.

 

5. You don’t have to wait to start making money.

As soon as your book is ready to publish, you hit the button, and it’s available. No waiting for publishers to release it on a distant future date. When you’re ready to release, you can shout it from the rooftops and call every library to stock your book. If you know how to whip up a frenzy about your work being published, you can do it on your schedule, and then you can start booking readings, host events, or plan to hand out copies around the times that work for you. In the indie publishing world, the choice is yours to decide how you want your book to be received.

 

The advantages are far more widespread than I am sharing here, but this list at least offers a few highlights. There are always disadvantages, too, like having to market yourself, paying for your own editing, and being responsible for all the technology (like websites and email services) yourself. Take these into account as you consider your best option as an author. To query or not to query? You can decide tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. To your success, authors!

 

 

Elaine Snyder Author

About the AuthorWhen Elaine isn’t busily typing her latest novel or blog post, she’s probably on a trail in the middle of nowhere, or possibly singing and playing guitar with a bunch of crazy musicians…or she may even be making a mosaic art diorama out of magazines. It’s also possible Elaine is standing on a desk, wildly gesticulating to make a fervent point while teaching, usually handing out chocolate to bribe students into telling friends and family what fun they had learning to write. You may contact Elaine about teaching workshops, speaking about writing, utilize her as a writing coach, or hire her as a copywriter at www.elainersnyder.com. She might leave footprints on your desk, but she will also leave you chocolate.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

4 Ways To Earn Your Literary Citizenship Card

 

4 Ways To Earn Your Literary Citizenship Card

Why Indie Authors Need to Stick Together

 

by Jan Flynn 

 

 

If you’ve spent time in any kind of writing community — virtual or physical, in a class, a workshop, a critique group or just over coffee with your writing buddy — the term “literary citizen” is not new to you.

As an example, in 2013 Chuck Sambuchino posted an online piece, 5 Ways To Be a Good Literary Citizen for Writers Digest, in which he exhorts writers to be ready and willing to honestly promote others’ work with helpful blurbs and reviews, to read and critique others’ works in progress, to support literary magazines and publishers through subscriptions and book purchases, to recommend others’ work on social media.

Keeping the engine that supports the whole literary establishment chugging along, after all, is more and more the responsibility of writers.

In 2014, Becky Tuch published a Salon article titled More Work, No Pay: Why I Detest Literary Citizenship bemoaning that reality, noting that writers are asked to take on an ever increasing share of the promotional burden by the very industry that profits from their labor. With publishers spending less and less on marketing and with the demise of the chain bookstore, it’s writers who are expected to take up the slack. Since we do all the reviewing and posting and tweeting for free — or at our own expense — it’s a nice deal for the publishing establishment.

Whether there really is a publishing establishment in 2017, or more of a beleaguered fortress clinging to the edge of a cliff eroded by the seas of change, it’s clear that writers need community. On this point, Sambuchino and Tuch agree. And it’s more important now than ever.

 

The publishing establishment is now a beleaguered fortress clinging to the edge of a cliff eroded by the seas of change.Click To Tweet

 

Yes, we do our primary work alone. But we can’t do it in isolation. Some of us love the solitude of our writing garret (whether that garret is actually a cabin in the woods, a coffee house or an airport terminal), while some of us have to nail our pants to our chair to get ‘er done, but soon enough the time comes to share our words with someone else.

author quotesIt doesn’t take us long to learn that the most helpful and most compassionate readers of our early drafts are, almost always, other writers. And once we are published, it is indeed other writers who are going to be some of our best allies in getting that work seen by the reading public.

Besides, if we’re going to have any fun at all — and I fail to see why any of us would take on such a Sisyphean task as fiction writing unless there was some fun to be had along the way — we needs us our peeps, right?

So yes, please, blurb and review and tweet and post on behalf of your writing brethren. But to progress from literary visa status, from bookish green card to full literary citizenship, here are four more requirements, in my view.

 

1. Read

Excuse me, would that be the sound of your eyes rolling? Did I just point out the wildly obvious?

If you honestly spend a portion of every day reading, and by that I mean reading like you used to before you became a writer with a capital W — you know, curled up on your favorite whatever, totally absorbed while the rest of the world twirls on unheeded, reading for pleasure — then feel free to bypass this admonition. Relax your spinning eyeballs and move on.

But if, as I suspect, most of the reading you do nowadays is critical reading, or informational reading, or any kind of obligatory reading — for which there is absolutely a place, don’t get me wrong — then please, please carve out some time to settle in with a good book or poem or story, one you’re reading just because you want to, and recapture the magic of what got you started on this journey in the first place. Do this every day if you possibly can.

If you want to be a storyteller, after all, you have to be a good listener.

 

If you want to be a storyteller, you must be a good listener. READ everyday. #amreading Click To Tweet

 

2. Be Someone’s Jiminy Cricket

You recall Pinocchio’s little pal, who stood by his puppet friend every step along the bumpy road to becoming a real boy? Even if you’re a new writer, there is another writer somewhere nearby (because writers are like spiders: wherever you are, there is at least one within six feet of you) who needs a Jiminy Cricket.

A coach, a cheerleader, a mentor, a conscience. Someone to be accountable to. Someone to keep them plugging away when things are tough, and someone to praise them when they achieve goals that nobody but another writer can appreciate: a word count surpassed, a query sent, a rejection bravely endured. Be that someone for another writer. It’s nice to be needed. Cue When You Wish Upon A Star.

 

3. Be a Fierce Guardian of Time

Guard your own as well as others’ time. While I advocate generosity, you are your first responsibility when it comes to time management. Be judicious about what you say yes to, so that you can say it wholeheartedly when you do. Be honest when you have to say no. Demonstrating respect for the one resource that none of us can buy has a halo effect; it encourages others to do the same.

 

4. Lighten Up

Sure it’s a tough ol’ world out there in publishing land, but nobody held a gun to your head and made you be a writer. Nor does the tough ol’ world or anybody in it owe you success. Do your best, take your shot, be proud of what you’ve achieved that’s within your control, and let the rest go.

Nurture your sense of play — productive play, I mean, not indulgence in time-sucking distraction — at every opportunity. Forget the tortured artist thing, unless she’s a character in your novel. This is a good reason to have set writing hours, because it means you therefore have hours that are not about writing. There’s more to you than your word count.

 

Write a lot, but don't forget to play. There’s more to you than your word count. #writerslifeClick To Tweet

 

 

Go forth, literary citizens, and make the world a better place for writers. One in which literary immigrants and refugees are welcome with open arms. Just sayin’.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

Jan Flynn Author Photo

About the Author

Jan M. Flynn is the author of Corpse Pose: And Other Tales, a collection of Twilight Zone-esque short stores, released on Amazon’s Kindle Select in January, 2017. You can also find Jan’s work in literary journals including Midnight Circus, The Binnacle, and 2017’s Noyo River Review, as well as anthologies. “Cord,” a tale placed in an alternative, haunted American past, appears in Into The Woods (Hic Dragones) to be released in March, 2017.

Flynn’s short stories have won both First Place and Honorable Mentions in Writer’s Digest annual competitions. Her debut novel The Moon Ran After Her is based on the experiences of women in her extended family who survived the Armenian Genocide. A member of the Napa Valley branch of California Writers Club, Horror Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, Jan posts regularly to her blog at JanMFlynn.net. She lives in Northern California with her husband Michael.

 

Writing Struggles: Honing One’s Craft

moirae600

by Mehreen Ahmed

 

The Writer’s Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes came as a highly recommended book from a friend of mine. This elaborates on the rise and fall of writers. Needless to say, no matter how great a writer is, it is a lonely journey of great struggle. To capture every thought and to put that thought intelligently in a book is no easy feat. Hence, the drafts and the redrafts, edits and reedits.

These struggles beckon the question, why bother writing at all? Is it because of our labor of love?

Yes, at least in part. But it is also because we want to impart our knowledge of the world and our experience to people. Whether it be for entertainment or education, it is with great zeal that the writer embarks on this harrowing task. Sometimes there is a reward, sometimes there is none; but the writer endeavors. Rarely, would a publisher pick up a book and set it in motion to the doorsteps of awards and recognition. If fate prevails favorably, then that would be unexpectedly marvelous.

The writing journey of each writer is different. It is sometimes described as a “calling.” Or perhaps a better word would be inspiration.

To paraphrase from Wordsworth, inspiration is experience recollected in tranquility. One may find this inspiration in a ripple of raindrops, or in the rustle of dry leaves, or in the sway of a few blades of grass. Whatever the source of inspiration may be, once this “calling” descends, there is no turning back. The dedicated writer must follow the course of destiny on a one way road until the completion of the task. The next step would be to follow their unique paths to the publishing house. Some will publish independently, while others traditionally. Either way, the book is published.

For many famous writers, publishing has been a long, hard slog. With Animal Farm, for instance, George Orwell not only had to endure the rejections, he had to deal with comments like, “We don’t publish animal books.”

James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man was rejected many times with publishers’ notes saying that we can’t publish what we don’t understand. Nonetheless, these masterpieces found their way into the literary world.

As fate would have it, these authors would meet friends who would then undertake the massive burdens of bringing the books to light. The journey of a book can be one of a thousand miles. The harder a book is to swallow, sometimes the better its merit.

The author, must tolerate the journey’s thorny legs that come with the territory. The rewards are no less than a fulfilling resultant of enduring books. Ironically enough for the publishers who rejected them. More recently Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, written in a steam of consciousness style, had a waiting period of 9 years before its release. Repeatedly rejected because of its inherent grammar errors, riddled throughout the book. However, when it did finally get published—and with a small press of no significance—it not only shook the world with its quality but also with an astonishing number of awards.

As for my own humble literary journey, I started as a diary writer. Holding my cards close to my chest. But as I grew up and became more confident, I began to reach out to the world. My writing was journalistic at first and it appeared as articles in a campus newspaper, The Sheaf, at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Then I gradually moved on to academic writing and found my articles appearing in peer reviewed journals. One day I had a “calling” to do creative writing. Unlike the precedent I had established with academic publishing, suddenly I was faced with the difficulty of coming to the attention of fiction publishers.

But I endured and against all odds I managed to find small POD publishers, who published my work traditionally.

There they were, not vanity but respectable publishers of quality literary books. My labor of love was matched with their labors of love, at last. Since then, I have been happy with my publications reaching their desired goals. I prefer to work with publishers that care about the art and have time to work with me on a one-to-one basis. My books are precious and I want them to be in good hands.

But wait, I have not received my noble prize yet, have I now? Well, if the singer Bob Dylan can get one at 75, there’s always hope for others.

 

 

mehreen

 

About the Author:

Queensland writer, Mehreen Ahmed has been publishing since 1987. Her writing career began with journalism and academic reviews and articles. Her latest work, Moirae, is available on Amazon. You can find Mehreen on Facebook or at her website.

 

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

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