Growing up I read a lot of books, I went through different phases where I would read one author then jump to another when my tastes changed. I looked at these people as apart of an elite club their books were published and in my school library. They must really be something to have their stories made into thousands of books. I knew from a young age I wanted to be a writer, it was in blood and I knew I was destined for greatness.
There was a flaw in my grandiose dreams growing up in the 90’s and not even having a computer in my home until I was 18, I had no idea how these authors got published. How did they get seen, was there some place they all went? It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that I discovered something called literary agents, the people who if they liked your work would represent you by submitting you work to publishing companies. For years I thought all I have to do is get one of these agents to like my work and I’ll be published in no time. Again big dreams not nearly enough real world information.
And so I kept the thought in my head and the hope in my heart that I would get that big break!
Fast forward to two years ago I stumble upon something called indie authors, writers who published their work through platforms such as Amazon and Ingramspark. What was this and why did I seem to be drawn to it. After much research I found two different worlds, that of the traditional published author or Trad Pub and that of the independent author or Indie Author. My mind was blown and my world thrown wide open to the now two different paths before me.
As a published author I learned you would have all of your editing taken care of and your cover designs, you’d even get an advance but give the publishing company certain rights over your work. This is the part that took me aback, I wasn’t sure I wanted to hand over something I’d put my whole heart into to a perfect stranger much less a corporation. Not to say that traditional publishing is bad but this left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Indie on the other hand required a lot more leg work and could end up being a lot more costly if done right. I learned if you wanted quality work you needed an editor, something called Beta Readers who are a small group of people you send your edited first draft to and collect their feedback on the work to help improve it, then there was cover design you didn’t want your cover to look like it’d been done in photoshop.
And so much more that had to be done, there were ARCs (Advanced Readers Copy) you sent out to book reviewers, booktubers (people who do book reviews on youtube) and bookstagramers (people who showcased books on instagram in pleasing photos). Needless to say my head was spinning and I’m pretty sure my eyeballs went crossed at the flood of information.
In the end I knew deep down I wanted to do all of that leg work, if I was going to put my heart into writing something I wanted to deal with everything every step of the way. So I made the decision it was the indie path for me. One of the things being an indie author requires is an online presence, I was lost as a goose in a hailstorm. What I knew about social media couldn’t fill a thimble.
But I soon found an entire community of indie authors with welcoming smiles and a treasure trove of advice, I also found authortuber (indie authors with youtube channels) all of this helped me in so many ways. And while at times I still get a little overwhelmed I know I have a supportive community who will answer any questions I have and help me anyway they can.
So far in my journey I have been a Beta Reader, I have started a blog, grown my online following been published in online magazines and even recently got my first ARC to read.
When setting out on a path you know nothing about there will be a time when you have no idea what you’re doing. Eventually you’ll stumble upon new things and learn more than you ever thought possible. All the advice and all the knowledge you gather along the way will help you. Never be afraid to jump into something you might just find exactly what you’re looking for. The indie path is for me and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for this emerging writer.