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Indie Isn’t A Four Letter Word

We’ve all been there.  You browse through dozens of books listings looking for your next great read, you find something that piques your interest, and you make your purchase.  You can’t wait to see what journey the author will take you on.  Snuggled in your cozy blanket, with your cup of coffee, you start into the story.  Hmm!  Spelling error.  You continue on undeterred, anyone can miss a spelling mistake.  Then before long you find yourself re-reading the same paragraph, something doesn’t read quite right.  Error after error crop up, grammar, spelling, wrong words, ruin the experience.  You look to see that the novel has been self published and you think Aha.  You feel ripped off and at that moment you make a judgement.  Novels written by indie authors are garbage.  But if you allow yourself to fall victim to that kind of thinking, I guarantee you’ll be missing out  on some amazing stories by top-notch indie authors.

Indie Author Stigma

Up until recently, I hadn’t decided how I would go about publishing my upcoming book.  Initially I thought I would publish it through a traditional publisher.  That’s just what you did, right?  Anyone worth their salt would be traditionally published.  Then I discovered self publishing and I realized I had to do some research.  I, too, had a bad impression of indie authors at first.  There are just so many poor books floating around and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be associated with that kind of quality.  I might be new and making mistakes along the way but I do care about the quality of the work I produce.  It does seem like a significant number of indie authors don’t really care about what they put out.  That is kind of a sad statement but a true one.  The best part of self publishing is that anyone can publish a book.  The worst part of self publishing is that anyone can publish a book.  Therein lies the rub.

The Truth About Indies

There is a sea of indie authors, many of them who produce quality work, but they are lost in the numbers.  If you take the time to wade through the weeds I promise you’ll be able to swim freely in the open ocean of respected indie authors.  There are indie authors who care about spelling, who care about grammar, who care what their cover design looks like.  There are indie authors who care.  They bear the brunt of the costs to make that all happen, and it’s not cheap, because they care about their reader’s experience.

Publishing houses would normally cover these cost if an author chose that route.  Oh and it is a choice ,now a days, how a book is published.  The idea that an author would be traditionally published if their work was any good does not hold water any more.  Many authors choose to self publish from the start and never look back.  Many factors play into whether a book is accepted into the traditional publishing process.  Genre, timing, other books on market, similar new releases are just a few examples.  Don’t buy into the belief that ALL indie authors should be considered as anything less in the publishing world.  It’s just not true but there is a difference between an author who cares about their work and one who doesn’t.  Those who write without caring about quality offend us all and squarely deserve the credit for such a stigma.

The cold, hard truth of the matter is that you should not be able to tell the difference between the indie authors who care and traditionally published authors.  In the end they should be the same and many are.  A quality book written with care and attention to detail should be appreciated for what it is regardless of who wrote it or how it was published.

My Decision

So after doing my research and learning that I, myself, had been duped by the stigma of indie authors, I decided that the indie author path was the right choice for me.  After finding numerous groups and organizations committed to changing the stigma I realized that I want to be part of the solution and not the problem.  I want to be a part of the movement to raise the self publishing bar.  Becoming an indie author just makes good business sense but becoming a respected indie author just makes good sense all around.  Indie really isn’t a four letter word to be used with disdain.  My hope is that one day I will be considered a respected indie author and I am not naïve about how much work and money it will take to get there.  My marathon of achieving this dream has just begun but I think about how sweet the finish line will be.  How amazing will it feel to step across the finish line and hold my weary head up knowing that I gave it all I had.

What are your thoughts on the indie publishing scene?

Possible Book Trailer Music

The other day my oldest son brought my husband and I a YouTube video of a song he liked.  The song had obviously caught his attention and from the first notes it caught ours, too.  This particular song has been around for decades and has always struck a chord with me but this time it struck a nerve.  The reason being was that as I listened to this song I saw a book trailer for my current WIP in my mind.  Here I was listening to a song that captured the mood, tone, and themes in my book.

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Hello darkness my old friend… The Sound Of Silence.

Sound Of Silence

So, as you can see above, the song turned out to be the Sound Of Silence originally performed by Simon and Garfunkel.  A 21-year-old Paul Simon wrote the song for release in 1964 but the lyrics are just as relevant today, if not more relevant.  To this day the issue of what the lyrics mean or if they mean anything is still hotly debated in certain circles.  Whatever Simon intended for the song I’m sure even he would be surprised by just how prophetic the lyrics really are.  The song released without success initially and resulted in the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel.  As time went on the world awakened to the brilliance of both the lyrics and the simple harmony.  These days, you would be hard pressed to find a person who did not know this song intimately.

Recent Covers

The Sound Of Silence has been covered more times than I am willing to list.  Not long ago our family watched the Trolls movie and enjoyed their rendition of the song.  But the particular version that took my whole family by storm was the one performed by Distrurbed.  How does an American heavy metal band end up recording a 60’s folk rock song?  Good question.  They were open-minded enough to consider the idea even though it was a huge departure for them.  A spark grew into an idea, an idea grew into a plan, and a plan grew into a haunting and beautiful song.

Some Were Disturbed With Disturbed

Speaking of open-minded people, we all know that some are not so open minded.  The fact that this heavy metal band covered a folk song did not go over well with some of their fans but did garner some respect from new ones.  Some would judge the band by how they look and not even give this song a chance.  I’ve enjoyed their music for a while now and I like both the screaming metal (Oh-wa-a-a-a) as well as the haunting vocals.  On the flip side the metal fans considered the band a sell-out for recording this song.  Ether way of thinking is a bit sad.  I think this song sung by this band breaks down barriers.  It offers a chance for everyone, young and old, to relate to, and enjoy a special song.

Book Trailer Music

So as I said earlier, while enjoying this song, all I could see in my mind was my storyline in pictures.  This song formed a book trailer in my head on its own.  It connects with events and themes in my book and carries the overall feel of my story.  My main character, Jake, has to deal with ever-increasing isolation in a world that has forgotten how to communicate with each other.  “People hearing without listening.”  People who speak to each other every day without saying anything of meaning.  “People talking without speaking.”  He is trying to accomplish a goal while the adults in the story don’t understand the importance of what he is doing and are, therefore, of no help to him.  His pleas fall on deaf ears causing him to take drastic action.  And “Silence like a cancer grows”  leads to disaster.  The townspeople’s ignorance to recognize when a change is needed or their apathy to make the changes happen when their mob mentality leads to the brink of destruction.   My whole story revolves around people who either won’t think for themselves or only think of themselves.  Jake is alone even when surrounded by dozens of people.  Isolation and hopelessness lead him down a lonely, dark path where he must rely on himself to achieve his goals.  But not all hope is lost as he learns that he has friends to help him along the way.  To find out how they make out, you’ll have to read the story Rock And A  Hard Place when it comes out.  If after reading my story you don’t feel what this song evokes, then I haven’t done my job so I better get back to work and find the feels.

Caught In A Moment

Moments in time…

drip-1049401_1920One of the most important lessons I learned in my time as a paramedic was to appreciate the time you have been given.  Many of the people who died never expected their day to turn out the way it did.  What would they have done differently if they knew what was to come?  What would they appreciate?

I often get caught up in a moment, appreciating the most trivial of things.  Simple pleasures for simple minds, I guess.  But every now and then you experience a moment that stands out in your memory.  One that is rare or unique in some way.  I think this is what photographers spend their entire career chasing.  A moment in time like no other.  Those times where the light filters through the trees just so or you happen to be in the right place at the right time for a unique experience.

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One Of My Moments In Time…

I wanted to share one of my most memorable moments in time and it comes from my time working in Northern Alberta.  We would often have to transfer patients between High Level and Ft. Vermillion and we would turn the patient over at the halfway point to minimize the time a town was without an ambulance.  These transfers could happen at any time during the day or night.  One benefit to being up at all hours of the day and night is that you get a chance to see events that those that are sleeping miss.

One night in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter we had to undertake one such transfer.  It was such a clear beautiful night, which in the winter, in Northern Alberta, clear and beautiful means cold.  The whole drive out and the time spent waiting for the other crew to show up with the patient was spent watching the most amazing Northern Lights that I have ever seen.  From horizon to horizon, 360 degrees around, the sky glowed with dancing green lights.  Pure silence and dancing lights.  I have seen many Aurora Borealis in my life but not like this.  This was magical and we stood in awe at mother nature’s beauty.  I could have watched those lights for hours and not tired of the show but it was cold out and the patient eventually showed up and so it came to an end.

That moment, as well as many others, stuck with me for the rest of my life.  I had the feeling that if my life were to end after seeing those lights that it would all be worth it.  Of course, I want more lights and experiences but I had lived that moment to its fullest.  That, I think, is the key to those moments.  One day there won’t be any more of those moments so when they come along soak them in.  Savour them like a fine wine or the perfect meal.  Take them for the gift they truly are and enjoy the moment for what it is… perfect.

I’d love to hear about your moments if you feel like sharing in the comments section.

 

Authorpreneur

Today I wanted to write about the business of writing.  More so the modern-day author in today’s landscape of writing and publishing.  Much has changed over the years.  Anyone entering into the business of writing with old ideas will face the harsh realities sooner rather than later.  No longer can you expect to write a book and have a publisher market it while you go on to write then next one.  You don’t get to hide out in a dark cave while the marketing machine turns your work into the next bestseller.  No matter which form of publishing you decide on, you will be managing most, if not all, of your marketing.

When I first decided to write a book it felt more like a compulsion.  A compulsion to tell stories locked in my brain.  I had never experienced a feeling like this as far as writing goes and it energized me.  I could write first drafts for the rest of my life.  I loved the first draft due to the fact that I could just tell the story.

So I thought, why not do this for the rest of my life?  How hard could it be?  Oh, how naïve to think that way.  Day after day, week after week, I sat in my chair and produced words, hatched plots, and invented a different worlds.  It should be easy to create something out of nothing but it really isn’t.  I found the task to be both simple and difficult at the same time.  Days of revisions and re-writes sucked the fun out of the first draft but through it all a book took shape.  Writing a book is a lot of work but it doesn’t even compare to the amount of work that has nothing to do with writing a book.

Colleenbusse.com
Modern day authors need to be able to do it all especially those in self publishing.

Okay, it has something to do with writing a book but it’s not actually writing the book.  The writer of today who wants to publish their work needs to have a social media presence, preferably on multiple sites.  Social, the scariest word to introverted people.    They need to find and engage their readers, maybe start a blog.  They begin a never-ending quest for likes, shares, follows, reviews, and email addresses.  On a daily basis they have to come up with creative ideas to post to their various sites.  And many are active in author’s groups as well as reader’s groups.  Gotta find those beta readers.  Phew!

But that still doesn’t cover everything that needs to get done.  If you choose self publishing, you still need to find someone to make your cover, edit your manuscript, and help you promote your new baby.  I’m not quite there yet, but I have heard that most of the “real” work doesn’t even start until the marketing begins.  Ahhhh!

Sounds daunting and it is.  So much time is spent on doing everything but write your story.  You are a one man/woman show.  A real authorpreneur.  You have to write, edit, design, market, and become an IT specialist.  All this while not getting paid if you’re self published.  If you’ve failed at your self marketing attempts your book will be buried in a sea of other obscure books trying to earn some income.  Self published authors shell out all their own money for editing, cover design, and publishing.  All that hard work and it may not ever pay off, not that money is my motivating factor.  Motivating themselves through all this might be the toughest job of all.

Would you work for a year or multiple years and risk not getting paid for your efforts?