How I Became Indie

I didn’t wake up one day and think, ‘HEY! I should just be an indie (independent) writer.’ I have not carefully plotted and planned each move like a chess game of words. In fact, I am pretty much doing everything sideways and backwards but I guess it doesn’t matter as long I get to write. So, I’ve outlined my story here, in the hopes that it can encourage someone to keep pushing for their dreams.

I have always been a storyteller and, eventually, I began to write the stories down. Naturally, I followed that up with entering contests and challenges and online writing groups, surrounding myself with other people who enjoyed doing the things I love. One such short story contest led to the birth of my first full length young adult novel, finished during a mad attempt at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The next year brought the second novel, and two years later I followed up with a third novel (which kept me sane during my long and difficult pregnancy).

I began querying agents and publishers alike but if you’ve ever tried it, you know the difficulties we all face and, at that time, the middle grade/young adult market was flooded. No one had a need for my Stone Dragon Saga.

Then someone pointed toward Amazon and Createspace and their yearly contest: The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Like thousands of other hopefuls, I didn’t even make it through the first round. My initial pitch wasn’t as strong as it could have been, but the outcome wasn’t that important. You see, my piece had been primped and polished and made ready on Createspace and so I hit the final button and my life as an indie author began.

I don’t make much money at all, but writing is a passion of mine that continues defiant of the price tag. The books and, more recently, the blog are my outlet, my voice. As Frank Kafka once said, “The non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” So I write to stave off my crazy. It’s what we all do, really.

No, I am not famous. Yes, I did have to get a ‘day’ job (if you can call teaching that!), but there is someone in at least 24 different countries that has read my words, and many who continue to do so. That keeps a smile on my face, a pen in my hand, and stories in my heart.

What’s your story? Are you a traditionalist, an indie, a struggler, or just a reader? How are you following dreams and branding the world? Inquiring minds want to hear the tale!

4 thoughts on “How I Became Indie

  1. Excellent quote and positive attitude. I’ve been trying to become an author since high school. I did the agent and publisher querying for 10 years. Eventually, I stopped getting rejection letters altogether and went for the ‘real’ job. Let’s just say a serious of unfortunate events led me to believe that I had a better shot at making money off my books than getting a ‘stable’ job. A person I went to high school with was going the Amazon Kindle route, so I talked to him and found someone else who had been doing it for a while. Once I learned more about it, I started up my blog while editing my completed books and waited on cover art. The rest has been me spending every day writing, promoting, and trying to explain to people that this is a real job.

    • People can dense about that! I’m glad that you’re getting it moving for you…I had the option of staying home one more year and seeing if I could get some money flowing in steadily, but was offered a teaching position so I went ahead and decided to try it.

      I do my own cover art most of the time…it isn’t great and I need to change it up (I’m hoping that leads to more sales) but I don’t have to wait on anyone except my family and myself.

      • My wife’s cousin is an artist, so I’ve been paying him for most of them. At least with my novels. The waiting can be a little frustrating, but I don’t have an alternative and the finished product is worth it.

        I’m always told that I can get a part-time job or a full-time job where I write on the weekends. I’ve pointed out that weekends are chaotic in the house, so it wouldn’t happen. It’s all about the situation, I guess.

  2. My mother is an artist but she is also a seamstress and a teacher so I’ve been waiting for illustrations for a children’s book for 4 years now.

    I took the teaching job because it looks like fun, will give me more insight into the young reader and middle grades minds, and will still provide about the same amount of writing time for me, as long as I can keep organized (So…maybe not). I’ll have somewhere between 1 and 2 hours, depending on duty weeks, to work on keeping grades and lesson plans up to date during the school day, at least 30 minutes in class after the kids leave (maybe more), and the ride to and from work, which is over an hour and will be made with my mother each day. This gives me either writing time or school work time, which will hopefully leave me evenings and weekends while my daughter is asleep.

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