During the month of October, Amazon celebrates indie authors, and we writers are invited to share why we love being an indie author and decided to go the self-publishing route. While each author writes for a different reason, we also publish according to our own desires. Regardless which way we choose to take, traditional or self-publishing, we all share the dream of making a difference.
For many generations, traditional publishing has been touted as the only real way to publish. But, with the advent of online self-publishing companies, we are no longer required to wait for the postman to deliver yet another one of those letters telling us “Thanks but no, thanks!” after we've sent out our queries. Our dreams no longer need not be dashed by mountains of rejection letters. Instead, we write for hours on end, be it by hand via pen and paper or tapping our fingertips raw all over the keyboard of a typewriter or computer. We research our subject matter, write, edit and then edit some more while keeping our eyes on achieving a certain dream - the dream of seeing our scribbles published.
Self-publishing opened doors that seemed forever closed for the majority of writers until the likes of Amazon, Blurb, Lulu and many others opened their virtual gates and provided a place for all writers. Thousands of us have flocked to those sites and continue to do so daily, eager to upload our tear stained manuscripts. We anxiously shift around in our office chairs for what seems to be an eternity, itching to push that infamous ‘submit files’ button that will upload our books onto the internet for the world to purchase and read.
Of course, the odds are stacked against us from the start, and our sales may be severely limited, but it’s the dream of publishing that remains and compels us to move forward. Of course, sometimes life, and other unexpected complications can get in the way, and yet we writers still keep going. The writer's life is certainly not for the faint of heart and some fall by the wayside bogged down by the enormity of the tasks involved. There's no shame in that! There have been quite a few times I have felt like running for the hills.
So then, why put yourself through it? Why go the route of independent publishing, and put all of your eggs in that one basket with the knowledge that the majority fails? And while I can’t answer for other writers, I can tell you why I do it. Although I've always been a good storyteller (or at least, so I've been told), it wasn't until after my mother passed away unexpectedly that I felt the need to write and publish. It provided me a sort of balance from dealing with the aftermath of her death. Shortly before her passing, my mother had asked me how to get her memoirs published, but I had no idea where or how to begin. I worked hard to keep my promise to my late mother, and with it grew my desire to follow in her footsteps.
I choose to be an independent author because I like to be in control of the entire creative process, from writing the manuscript, designing the book cover, to marketing the finished product. Perhaps that makes me a control freak, and there are days I wish I had an army of helpers. But, I enjoy the fact that I do not require someone else’s approval to publish my writings. I prefer to publish on my own terms, and I’ll gladly take on the hardships associated with it. The competition is fierce, and it's not easy to stand out from the ever growing numbers of indie authors as well as traditionally published writers. But, it can be done, and while it’s a boatload of hard work, at the end of the day, it feels so satisfying.
People often ask me if I am a successful author, and while most to pose this question mean it in a strictly monetary sense, I have a bit of a different point of view on the matter. I do believe I am successful, even though I haven't earned millions of dollars through my writings (not yet anyways). I've written and published five, soon to be six, books of my own, and not everyone can claim such an accomplishment. But no matter which way an author chooses to take, the traditional route or indie, they all deserve a standing ovation, because neither is an easy path to take. As for me, I am and will remain an independent author for the foreseeable future.
I’d love to hear which publishing path you’ve taken and why. Please feel free to share your story in the comment section!