Thursday, August 18, 2011

Indie Authors: Why so Serious?

I am a sucker for that phrase because of the amazing character that uttered it. But even before the Joker made it mainstream I tried to live by those words. Don't take life too seriously, try to be laid back, take things for what they truly are and nothing more. And lately, Indie Authors are being way too serious, depressing too a degree, and not nearly optimistic enough.

It started a few weeks ago when I read a post by a fellow Indie on their blog talking about how difficult it is to be an Indie Author. The self marketing, the fan base building, the small beat downs you get when you don't sell a single book in a full week.
It is hard. I'll be the first to say it. I have twenty different websites to log in to everyday, a few times a day each, just to see what is on the forums, see if my posts have responses, talking to other authors. And most of the time it doesn't amount to much. Occasionally I'll talk to someone that is rather interesting and we trade thoughts and ideas and while it's enjoyable to get to know someone new, it is still just one person, one book sale. Sure, more could follow because of that one person but not always.
Getting on social author sites is nothing like having your book listed on the front page of amazon's kindle store or the front windows of a Barnes and Noble retail store. But it does pay off. You, Yourself, are the best way to get your book noticed.
That doesn't mean to post on twitter every half hour a link to your book with a few words, or to get on kindle boards bumping the same thread every day with a blurb and a link to your book. No. The best way to go about it is reply to other people discussions, start conversations, take interest in other Authors and Readers talking about their interests. Most of them will read your reply and follow the link in your signature or go to your profile and check out your blog. Post things that people will like and enjoy reading about, make jokes, laugh at yourself, be as real as you can be so others can relate to you.
That is something Indie Authors have the corner of the market on, we are open to talking to our readers like they are the new neighbors that just moved in, welcoming them with open arms and a cold beer, genuinely wanting to get to know them.
I LOVE talking to people that have read my works, critiquing me in ways I can't, mentioning things they may have enjoyed that I didn't think was that big of a deal, getting to know someone that enjoys books as much as I do. Sure. Not every reader will look up an Author of a book just to shoot the shit. But the ones that do are great!

Basically what I am getting at is try not to get frustrated. All of us published our first novels knowing what we were getting into. Most of us didn't quite our day job, (in my case, night job,) thinking we were going to click that publish button and become rich just like that. Personally in a few years I want writing to be my full time occupation but I know it isn't going to happen over night. I have to be patient and hone my talent while getting more and more fans. I try to be as realistic as I can be about my books, I am my own worst critic. My girlfriend and family talk about my writing more than I do. Yeah I'm proud of it but I know there is still a lot to learn. Have to work for it.

For me the bottom line is this:
In the end, writing is my passion. It's what I love to do. Telling a story for others to entertain, thrill, and with my horror, to scare the shit out of them.
So that is my weigh in on the hardships of the Indie. Do traditionally published Authors have the upper hand right now? Yes. But as artists we are the ones with the freedom and that means more to me. Plus things are in flux right now, the big shift is in motion and soon Indie's, or a form of Indie, will be the new way. So keep your chin up. Something I was always told while I played hockey and was tired and beat up waiting to play my second game of the day.
"If it was easy, Everyone would be doing it."


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