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The Mighty Mighty Indies

August 18, 2012

Hope. Despair. Celebrate. Lament. Repeat.

Why didn’t anyone tell me the world of indie publishing would be so…stressful? overwhelming? agonizing? Ohh wait a minute, they did. But I thought they were talking about other authors’ experiences, which wouldn’t apply to me. Now, as I sit here trying to coax my tweet-fried, over-clicked brain into writing this post while my husband plays on his iPad and sings to the cat, I am in full and utter appreciation of all indies who have come before me: people who have (other) full-time jobs, and children, and pets, and…and…and…but who still make the time to market, promote, research, email, read, blog, tweet, update Goodreads, search for groups and book clubs and reviewers, network with authors, reply to threads–and if they’re lucky, maybe even shower. And write. This is not for the faint of heart. Even as a newbie, I took offense to the recent comments by established, traditional authors who labeled indies as “lazy.” That’s like saying hummingbirds need to step it up.

In fact, that’s a damned good analogy. Sometimes, I feel exactly like a hummingbird: zipping over to dip my beak in the feeder for a taste of delish sugar water, then flitting to the telephone wire to chill for a sec before beelining it to a very attractive petunia and zooming to nest in a pine tree. Except the sugar water is a delish review, the telephone wire is where I balance precariously between self-labels of success and failure, the petunia is bestseller status, and the pine tree is the shelter and safety of my pre-indie life.

I knew self-pubbing would take time, I knew it would take determination, I knew it would take effort. I didn’t know you would need to add “tremendous” in front of each of those characteristics, and I didn’t know it would take so much courage. It’s scary as hell to put your book out there – to leave it all alone like a frightened toddler in a dark and tangled jungle of a million other unfamiliar creatures (some of which bite). Kimberly Llewellyn, my first professional reviewer to whom I will always be immensely grateful, thanked me for trusting her with my “baby.” She got it. From what I have seen, indie reviewers are kind, professional and know what’s at stake. Still, mailing out a paperback or pressing the button to send your ebook prompts a deep, here-we-go, I-hope-they-like-it sigh. It takes courage to believe in yourself when a flurry of sales slows down, and when you realize how staggering the odds are against you to get noticed, let alone make it big.

In the midst of all this indie-induced stress, it certainly helps to keep a sense of humor. The night after my book went live, my husband and I had dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, wanting to celebrate the beginning of my new journey as an author. Our waiter, a/k/a The Weakest Link, was a very nice young man, but forgot the lemon for my water (twice), didn’t give us chips and salsa, and brought us the wrong meals. I told my husband I wanted to grab the waiter by the shirt and say, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I’ve sold EIGHT COPIES on Amazon!” I’m sure he would have been impressed.

I know I am far from alone in what I’ve experienced with indie publishing. And I know this is just the first step on a long, long road. I will draw upon the strength, tenacity and courage of other indies as we all strive to realize The Dream. I’ll call forth the kind words and advice of authors and reviewers who were truthfully too busy to offer support to a newbie, but who did it anyway. Here’s to all the inhabitants of our brain-straining, heart-hammering, soul-stirring indie world. Fellow hummingbirds, take flight!

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From → Writing

8 Comments
  1. What a great post, Tracy! Love the hummingbird analogy! I do feel that way most days! I’m so proud to be a part of the indie collective along with you and all the other fab writers out there. Power to the persistent! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Thank so much, Tracie! I thought you might appreciate it :).

  3. helenamallett permalink

    What a great Post! Sums up the roller coaster life of an Indie perfectly.

  4. Thanks for posting this! I’m hoping to be where you are soon, and the realities of indie publishing are the sort of things I need to learn about as I prepare for launch.

  5. You, my dear lady, are a talented, insightful, funny author. The only thing you need to be worried about is just getting the word out (easier said than done, I know). It’ll be a breeze from there, and I expect an invite to the party when a major publisher picks up I KILL ME! The first author I ever reviewed not only just got published, but the movie rights were picked up by Ridley Scott. Woo hoo! Who would you have play Christine? Fun to think about. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Okay, that just made my day. I will probably read this comment another thousand times. You are right about getting the word out…it’s been challenging and slower than I’d like, especially now that I’m back in school [insert the sound of me screaming here] :). You are an absolute doll, and if I ever make it big, YOU ARE COMING TO THE PARTY :). Thank you for the bottom of my heart for your support!! xo

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