Here’s the thing, and I’m just going to get it out there: I don’t consider myself an indie author. This is not to say that I consider myself above indie authors or that I feel like I am too good to call myself indie (just read about my “Journey to Publication” in the sidebar and you’ll see that I’m no better than ANYONE else).
Yeah, I self-published my first novel, but only because it went through every major pub house in the country and slipped through every single editor’s fingers.
I self-published it because I loved it, because I’d worked on it for two solid years, because all those editors told me it was good–just not the right book at the right time. Not the right book for them. Not quite what they were looking for.
I didn’t self-publish it because I wanted to be a self-published or independent author.
Again: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WANTING TO BE AN INDIE AUTHOR.
In fact, I was telling my friend Melissa just the other day that, in many ways, I respect self-pubbed/indie authors more than traditionally published ones because they have to work SO much harder on marketing and promotion, and they really have to go into it with a heart of steel because that, my friends, is a tough battle. It’s hard enough to be a successful author when you have an entire pub house behind you. It’s nearly impossible when you don’t.
Self-publishing, for me, is something I’m doing while I continue to pursue traditional publication. There’s lots of value in the self-publishing process and I’m glad I did it; it is SO fun to hear someone say, “I’m reading your book!” and even more fun to hear people say they loved it. After all, that’s the whole point of writing for me: to share my stories with others in the hope that it entertains them.
But at the end of the day, self-publishing isn’t “it” for me.
So here’s the reason all this is so awkward.
Right after I put THE CLEARING up for sale, several writer friends of mine did the same. I don’t know that they did it because of me, necessarily, but I do know that every single one of them contacted me and asked detailed questions about the process, what I would have done differently, if I felt like this was a good move, etc.
So I’m positive that, at the very least, I had some kind of influence on their decision.
And they have all been SO sweet to post articles about me on their blogs, which I appreciate more than they’ll ever know. They’ve been SO kind to interview me, review the book, and support me in every way possible.
Seriously: I COULD NOT BE MORE GRATEFUL for their encouragement.
But there’s a caveat here (am I using that word correctly?) between the result of that publicity and my own goals: Slowly but surely, I’m taking on the label of “self-published author.”
NOT a bad label to have . . . as long as that’s the label you want.
I’m going on submission with PULL sometime in the fall or early winter, Lord willing. And what doesn’t need to happen is this: Editor X receives my book from the lovely Agent Alanna. Editor X reads my book. Editor X loves my book and wants to buy it for publication.
Then, Editor X does a Google search on me and finds a whole bunch of stuff about how I’m an indie author. This isn’t bad exactly, but it could give the impression that I’m not all that interested in traditional publication. It could give the impression that I’m one of those authors who will use a pub house for the initial platform and then, once I’ve made a name for myself, will bail out and self-publish everything so I can get more royalties.
Which I would NEVER, EVER DO.
So, to recap:
1) My first novel, though well-received by editors, did not sell.
2) I self-published said novel for the express purpose of giving people a way to read it if they wanted to. I have never stressed over sales numbers, never put much effort into self-promotion, never sweated over Amazon rankings because this isn’t something I’m doing for real, if that makes sense.
3) People are starting to view me as an indie author, even though
4) I’m still pursuing traditional publication and don’t want editors to be conflicted over my feelings or motivations.
Now, having said all that, let me say this: If traditional publication never works out for me, I will continue to self-publish my books. But I highly doubt it will ever be Step One. I doubt I’ll ever go that route first. And I kinda feel bad about how many people have looked to me for guidance when all the while I’m not really “all in” with this thing. I kind of feel like the ship captain that everyone assumed loved the ship with all his heart, and then one day the crew finds out his dream is to fly airplanes.
Anyway, I hope that clears up any confusion about who I am and what I do. Just to make sure you didn’t miss it, I’m NOT dissing self-pubbed or indie authors. I hold them in very high esteem.
But I don’t consider myself a self-published author; I consider myself an aspiring author who self-published her first novel for anyone who would like to read it.
What about you? What are your goals? Pursuing traditional, or going the indie route? If you are indie/self-pubbed, how did you get there and where are you going from here?