Welcome to the YA Indie Carnival! This week’s topic is Why Indie?
For me, indie was truly my only path to becoming a writer. It’s not that I couldn’t have found my way to traditional publication. It really isn’t a stretch to say that writing might be the only thing I’m truly talented at. There are a lot of writers who have a better grasp of the technical aspects of grammar than I do, but I’m willing to bet that in terms of crafting interesting characters, plots, and worlds, I rank right up there.
When I was a little girl my mom’s mother used to sit with me while my parents worked. She’d tell me stories about my mom and her sister when they were little girls or even stories about myself when *I* was little (I was maybe 3 or 4 at the time, mind you, but I loved hearing about the silly things I used to do when I was a baby now that I could enjoy those childish follies at a ripe old age). She really helped me foster a sense of the dramatic. She’d read me nursery rhymes so that I could act out the different parts. I credit her with my early fascination with books and words. She really had a way of making stories seem like a magical event.
Fast forward to adulthood… I can’t even begin to tell you how many times different people have told me that I should be an author. I can tell a good story, I can’t argue with that. I have great ideas that come fast and furious without any effort on my part. Putting words on paper isn’t even particularly hard for me. If I sit down and start typing, chances are that I’m going to write something workable.
All awesome, right? It is, I will never complain about my lot in life. However, one quality that escapes me is motivation. I had given up on my dream of being a professional writer years ago. Freelance writing has never appealed to me (except maybe being a travel writer… what an AMAZING job that would be), but fiction writing required so much work that went beyond the parts of writing that I enjoy.
I looked at it from the perspective that if I work, I want to be paid. In the traditional model there’s no guarantee that your work will ever even be picked up, let alone be put into the market to sink or swim. And it’s no measure of your ability to write since there are factors you can’t possibly control like the editor signing a book similar to yours last week.
When I heard about indie publishing it was like a light coming on in a dark room. Suddenly I was pulling the dust covers off a lot of old dreams that I thought I’d never see come true. Knowing that I could write a story and be guaranteed that it would be published was all the incentive I needed to write my first novel.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I would love the process of publishing. I love looking at the numbers (mine and everyone else who’s kind enough to share that kind of information). I like to compare them and try to spot selling trends and when they include things like how much they’ve sold per title, I try to analyze why one sells more than others.
I won’t bore you with a drawn out rave about the joys of indie publishing, but suffice it to say that I can talk shop with people for hours and walk away just as enthused about the topic as when we started.
It’s hard for me to understand why some writers prefer banging their heads against traditional publishing. The royalties are better with indie, you have all the control, you can track your own numbers in real time and tell if your promotion efforts are effective or not. You’re really the captain of your own ship. I’m not a type A personality by any stretch, but this is my income we’re talking about. I want to access to as much sales information as I can get my hands on. You just can’t do that with traditional publishing.
As always, I invite anyone with questions or comments to share with me here or via email wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com. I’m relatively new to the scene (I Wish… was published in mid May), but I will happily share what I’ve learned so far with anyone. I firmly believe in building a strong, thriving indie community through the exchange of information and advice.
Speaking of a strong indie community, please check out the other stops in this carnival. You are sure to find some awesome new friends.
- Dani Snell
- Courtney Cole
- Patti Larsen
- Nicole Williams
- Fisher Amelie
- Amy Maurer Jones
- T.R. Graves
- Rachel Coles
- Laura Elliott
- Allie Burke
- M. Leighton
- Cyndi Tefft
- PJ Hoover