When I started my blogging about my writing journey a year ago, I knew I’d be going down the self-publishing route. And in the spirit of total honesty, here’s a confession: I felt slightly embarrassed about it. I knew I didn’t want to wait forever for an agent or publisher to give me the green light; I knew I had a book that was ‘good enough’ – not a work of literary genius, but equal to many traditionally published books in the genre. I’d done enough research about self-publishing to feel confident that this was the right route for me to take, but I still felt the stigma of failing to secure representation and the backing of a publishing house.
Oh my, what a difference a year makes. Today I’m more acutely aware than ever before of the state of the publishing industry, and more than confident of the legitimate place within it for indie authors like myself. I’m aware of the many authors who have turned their backs on their publishers and chosen indie as the way to go. And I’m aware of the prejudices that still linger – not from readers, who are only interested in finding a good read, or even from publishers and agents, many of whom are embracing partnerships with indies, but in the main from trad-published authors who are desperate to maintain the ‘them and us’ status. (In this post from November I talk about a particular spot of mean-spiritedness from one such author – imagine my surprise when I was browsing through previous posts and found that she had actually commented on the blog two months before. Meaning she already knew my book was self-published before she asked the question and delivered her cutting remarks.)
A year ago, I wrote my first blog post as a hopeful writer. Today, I’m writing this blog post as an author. An indie author. I feel my position, and my right to call myself an author, is legitimate, earned, and worthwhile. My debut novel has made many readers happy, I’ve made a profit from publishing and taken receipt of some fairly decent royalty payments. I am unapologetic about my indie status, and I’m starting to think that this route to publication is preferable in lots of ways. This week I need to introduce myself to my fellow MA students and new tutor for the coming term. Only a few months ago I was worried about what they might think of me when they ‘found out’ I was self-published. I figured I might be vague about it, keep it under my hat. But you know what? I aint gonna! I’m going to be completely upfront about it, and proud to boot.
So, alongside my many other goals for 2013 (see below if you’re interested), my number one resolution is this: to continue to promote the professional image of indie or self-publishing authors, and to continue to help anyone who is following this path. Soon there will be a self-publishing guide on the blog, which I’ll add to weekly, packed with all the advice you need to take the plunge. I’m glad I jumped in when I did – the world of publishing is changing so rapidly it’s almost impossible to keep up – but my advice to anyone prevaricating about taking the indie leap of faith is Do it, and do it now!
2013: A few goals to keep me busy …
I’ve decided to set myself a few crazy goals this year, alongside some more achievable ones. The idea is that when you aim really high, even if you only get halfway it’s still a lot further than you might have reached with a lesser goal.
- Publish 3 novels by December 2013. One is already written and with beta readers, the second is half finished, the third is written and needs editing. Achievable, just.
- Set up a static author website to run alongside the blog.
- Develop my ‘author brand’ with a manageable marketing strategy.
- Treat being an indie author as a business, and write a business plan for the next 3 years.
- Achieve 1 million downloads by the end of 2013 (this includes free downloads). This is the crazy goal, but it’ll be fun trying!
So, off we go on another journey. Thank you for sharing it with me. I’d love to know your goals for 2013, and remember, if you are planning to go indie watch this space for loads of great advice.