Growing up I fully intended to have a book published by 20. It was more than a dream; it was my one true goal. But 20 came and went without a published book. I couldn’t even raise up the courage to contact agents or publishers. Years of being told how difficult it was and reading about the harsh responses that many aspiring authors receive made me timid and fearful of the impending rejection. Without a support system (even a singular individual) I resigned myself to only writing for myself in the hopes that my children would one day enjoy reading them or at least enjoy laughing over them with me.
The terms Indie Author and Self Publishing didn’t come to my attention until 2011. And my introduction to them came from the man I would eventually marry. He became my inspiration and my encouragement to stop settling and to take a chance on my wish to be a published author.
Sounds fairy tale-ish, right? Many aspiring authors imagine that my next words will be “And the rest is history. . .” But that’s not really how being an Indie Author works.
I’m not going to include an actual definition behind the word “Indie” but I’d like to look at what it infers. It typically means that you’re going it alone. No support system. No cheerleaders. No team of specialized and educated individuals helping you polish, publish, and market your work. Just you. Only you. You, yourself, and you alone.
But you know this! You’re already an Indie Author! You’ve been struggling, but have found some relief from online resources. Perhaps you even have a few fans and are making a few sales here and there. That’s great! You’re ahead of most of us!
Now let me direct your attention to Support for Indie Authors and what we’re trying to accomplish. Yes, we strive to be THE GO TO resource for Indie Authors. But more than that, we want to be your support system. We want to connect you with other Indie Authors so that you can share experiences and stories, laugh about them, and work through writers block or any other frustrations you have.
I began this group by offering to read Indie Author books and promote them via my website. Close to 300 authors have taken me up on my offer. I’ve found lots of new favorite authors and have read books that I never otherwise would have stumbled across. Many of these books have allowed me to see perspectives that I hadn’t considered before. And my moderators have all had similar experiences.
Unfortunately, we’ve noticed a trend. Many of you ask for reviews and exposure, but seem to be unwilling to reciprocate. One of THE BIGGEST HURDLES that we Indie Authors have is this sense of competition that the traditional publishing world has instilled in us. This “My book is better than yours” or “I’m an author, I can’t read anyone else’s work!” etc.
Can I just ask: Why?
How many books did you read growing up? I think it’s safe to assume you read more than one. And they were written by a variety of authors, yes? And just because you read a book by one author, you didn’t refuse to read other authors, right? So what’s changed?
Being an Indie Author is about learning to give just as much as you take. If we’re going to change how the world views us and make a difference with our work, we need to start within our own ranks.
Now I’m not discouraging you from reading traditionally published works; I’m merely encouraging you to start picking up a few Indie Author books. Next time you promote your own work, pick up someone else’s. Consider it a compromise. Build up some good karma. Really, put any label you like on it. But it’s unrealistic to expect others to read your indie book when you’re unwilling to read books by other indie authors.
I’m saying this with all the love and compassion in my heart. At SIA we truly want to change the world’s perspective on Indie Authors, but we can’t even begin to do that until we adjust this sense of competitiveness between Indie Authors.
So as cheesy as it sounds, love and be loved. There’s enough hatred and negativity in the world. You’re in a Support Group. So let’s support one another.
Ann Livi Andrews