"Letters of business. How odious I should think them."What most people think of when they think (at all) about an indie author is probably some entirely erroneous picture of a weird kid in a washed out denim jumper who never bothered to get braces for her bucked teeth, wears her hair parted straight down the center of her head (and tucked behind both ears) and doesn't really have all her social graces pegged down. That, or they think of some really awesome person who spends their week literally choreographing sword-fights and practicing fencing with frequent interruptions to run to the desk and type out what just happened.
Indie Author = Rachel Heffington
Indie Author + Publicist = Rachel Heffington
Indie Author + Publicist + Business Manager = Rachel Heffington
The life of an indie author is far more complicated than I anticipated, but I find the business
exhausting exhilarating. All decisions are in your hands, yes, but that means you get to decide. All the PR is up to you, but that means you get to interact one-on-one with your readers, which is precious. All the money has to be juggled and transferred and waited on, but it will be yours in all its littleness someday. And all the writing is up to you...but isn't that why we became writers in the beginning? Don't be discouraged when you publish your novel and realize that it was more work than you anticipated. Every indie author deserves a reward for wearing three hats (or more) at once. There's a community of authors who have done the exact same thing as you, many for several novels. Ask questions, work hard, and you'll get it. I was discussing the subject of this post with a friend recently, and she verbally recoiled, saying, "This is why I plan to publish traditionally." I get that feeling. Sometimes I have looked at my to-do list, the crumpled receipts littering my desk, the blank chapter of Anon, Sir, Anon waiting for words to be poured into its memory, and I think: "Dear God, why didn't I stick it out?" But if I had stayed with the idea of traditional publishing, I wouldn't have learned everything I have so far. I wouldn't trade all the PR, business experience, and hard work for the (comparative) ease of having a major publishing house do it for me. Maybe someday, when the market has changed, I will stick my neck back out into the traditional pubbing world. Maybe not. I do know one thing, though: this experience of indie publishing has taught me so much already, and I'd like to shake hands with the first brave man who cast off from the main wreck and paddled to sea in his own little row-boat. To the stubborn over-achievers: we few, we crazy few, we band of indie-pubbers.
(also, digital Fly Away Home is $2.99 through the weekend, so get your copy if you haven't already.)