Everyone starts at the bottom. On the floor, looking skyward. Being an author is like most professions: you have to work your way up. The journey is different for everyone. Some people go on to have their work picked up by publishing companies. They join a preexisting team that is there to help them with promotion, exposure, cover art for their titles, editing and content, and yes, they share the paycheck, too. And to those people, I say bravo! Success should be celebrated, and for those who go down the path of traditional publishing, it took a lot of hard work for them to get there.
But for some of us, traditional is just not the way to go. People have various reasons for deciding to take the indie route instead. For me, everything I write is weird. I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s totally freakin’ weird, but I like to think it has a point, too. Every story contains a deeper meaning, despite the odd characters and worlds you’ll find yourself in to get to that message. You’re not going to find anything mainstream about my books or short stories. You just aren’t. That’s a turnoff for some people, but that’s kind of the meaning of not being mainstream, so I’m cool with that. I did my time in the contests – and even placed in a few of them – but once I started working on full-length novels, it was pretty clear that trotting down the indie way of life was where I was headed.
Somewhere in my fanciful mind, I liken us indie authors to the indie garage bands from the ’90s that I adore so much. Doing things their own way. Making their own path and bucking the system in the name of standing on your own, rather than bending to the corporate rules. Bands today are still traversing this way of life. Even some known bands – groups that are on big name labels and are having their paychecks signed by “the man” – are jumping ship and going their own way. They’re putting their albums out on their own, using Kickstarter and other such entities to help them raise money and support from people so they don’t have to be locked into contracts and under the thumb of corporate giants. It’s rather exciting to see people making such a brave choice.
My second novel, Horns & Halos: Against The Giant, is about to release in just a few weeks. It’s been a long time in coming and I’m beyond stoked that it’s finally ready to give to the world. My first novel, The Flames of Guilt, earned a few fans, and I’m hoping that Horns & Halos will bring in a few more. The slow build of readers – it’s like starting off playing birthday parties with your band, and then you move up to high school dances, and then maybe a gig at a local event. Then maybe some shows out of town. Then you make a video to plaster all over Youtube and on and on and on. And in between, you practice until your mind bleeds.
Just like those of us who live the writer’s life.
So to all the indie bands and indie authors out there who are doing the slow climb, heres to you! Don’t give up. Improve along the way. Earn your stripes, and appreciate every reader/listener you get.
Never stop writing.
Find your voice, and stay true to it.
See you all soon for Horns & Halos: Against The Giant