Friday, October 14, 2016

My Indie Author Story

This month Amazon is celebrating Indie Authors. I've talked a little before about my journey to self-publishing but now I'll be sharing with you my full story, from the very beginning so I can tell you why I LOVE being an indie author. 

My journey really began the summer before my senior year of high school in 2009. I had a hopeless crush on a guy I had gone to school with but I didn't know if/how I should tell him. One night I had a dream about telling the boy in question and instead of action, it drove me to write. I mapped out The Haunting Love and opened a word document. 

At that time I was being homeschooled, so The Haunting Love became my senior English project. I worked on it more than I worked on any of my other school work, then one day in March 2010, a few months before I graduated I finished The Haunting Love. 

My grandmother read it and insisted that I should try to get it published. At that time I didn't know much about self-publishing and figured it was either expensive or wouldn't look/be professionally done, so I tried the traditional route. 

I entered a writing contest for first books through Delacorte Press and Random House, but sadly I didn't win. Next, I sent it to another traditional publisher and a literary agent but was turned down both times. 

Then in October 2013, I saw a girl who's stories I like on the art website Deviantart had submitted to and been contracted by a small press. I took a chance and submitted The Haunting Love to them. 

Months passed and I didn't hear anything back from them so I didn't think anything was going to come from it. Then on January 27, 2014, I received an email from the small press offering me a publishing contract. I couldn't believe it! I screamed and jumped up and down, which is really unusual for me - I'm not really the giddy, perky type. My grandmother, who has worked as a paralegal for more than 30 years read over the contract with me and we decided it was okay for me to sign. 

I was making the best and worst decision of my life. It turns out that as far as small presses went this one, which was later bought out by another small press, is an absolute nightmare. My first foray into the publishing world was met with a lot of disappointment and I'm now extremely leery of any other form of publishing except self-publishing... which brings me to the beginning of my self-publishing journey...

I did learn something. In the eighteen to twenty-four months after first contracting with the small press, I learned a lot about how the publishing world worked. I interacted with fellow writers on social media, did research on things I did not understand and purchased a book on self-publishing that told me what I had to do. 

On September 15, 2015, almost seven months to the day from when The Haunting Love was published, I self-published my novel, Finding Elizabeth through KDP for Amazon and Createspace for the paperback version. I'm not saying my first self-publishing experience was perfect, I made several silly mistakes but I learned from those mistakes. 

In my opinion, self-publishing is not something you ever can truly call yourself an "expert" at no matter what some may say. There is always something new to learn, a new process or shortcut to experiment with and that is one of the things I love most about self-publishing. 

Even between Finding Elizabeth's release in September 2015 and Out of Darkness's release in April 2016 I learned new ways to edit my manuscript, shortcuts to formatting it for ebook and paperback including how to add headers and page numbers in the footers for print books,  and new ways to market my books among other learning experiences. I experimented with Smashwords and found an expanded audience on iBooks and other ebook platforms. 

But what do I love most about being an Indie Author? 

FREEDOM

Freedom wasn't something I experienced a lot of with the small press. Self-publishing gave me the ability to set my own timeline. For some that might be an excuse to slack off, but I'm the type of person that's driven to get things done way before a scheduled deadline. Call me a perfectionist if you want, but deadlines are a scary concept for me and I fear that I will miss them so I do things right away. 

Being an indie author also gives me the freedom to have complete say in every step of the process, especially cover artwork. 

At the end of the day, being an indie author is exhausting but it is so rewarding. I have nobody to answer to but myself if I take a day off from writing. Would I pass on the opportunity if one of the big publishing houses came knocking on my door begging to publish my next novel? No, probably not but in the meantime, I love the way I do things and I love learning something new each time I confer with other indie authors and read different blogs. After all, I think you learn best through experience and moving on from your past mistakes. 

Now look at me, it's 2016, and I have three books already published, my fourth book Into the Light (Eternals Trilogy #2) is set to release on December 13, 2016 and I have another novel, Through the Fog (Eternals Trilogy #3) and a novelette, Eternal Fire: An Eternals Trilogy Novelette, set to release in Summer 2017. I never dreamed that this would be my life, but I'm embracing every learning experience and making sure my novels are as polished as possible. 

What do you love most about being an indie author? 

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