- Guest Post by Billie Thomas
How much work it’d be:
I’ve forgiven Sue Grafton for saying Indie authors are “too lazy to do the hard work”, but I haven’t forgotten it. Every hour I slaved over my manuscript, every round of revisions and skirmish with my editor, not to mention every tweet, blog post, and interview I do to promote it, is a harsh reminder that getting published is the most exhausting, soul-sucking dream come true I could ever imagine. You have to love this business, and for better or worse, I do.
That “the end” is only the beginning:
When you finish your last revision for your book and make the last proofing change, the real work is just about to begin. And I call it work, because the writing is such a pleasure. The marketing? Not so much. Maybe I’m jaded because my day job is in advertising, but as a new author, trying to carve out a little niche for yourself in such a competitive field is overwhelming at times. Luckily, once you get the hang of it and start connecting with other writers, it gets easier, though no less time-consuming.
How important social networking would be.
As an indie writer, I have to do all my marketing myself. And since I don’t have an unlimited marketing budget – what new writer does? – I’m so grateful for social media. This is truly the age of the introvert. I can sit at my computer and connect with other writers, readers, bloggers and journalists all over the world to spread the word about my book. At first you’re relying on the kindness of strangers, but over time, and by making good connections, you become friends with these people. It’s really one of the unexpected pleasures of getting published.
How my friends and family would rise to the occasion
As an indie author, the power of word of mouth is immeasurable. My friends and family have done a wonderful job helping me spread the word about The Chloe Carstairs mysteries. I’m really humbled by their support.
How quickly I’d begin to measure my self-worth by my Amazon ranking
Oh, those fickle numbers. Some days they’re up, some days they’re down. I try not to check more than three times a day. Ok, five. I can’t be the only one.
How thrilled I’d be to get a fan letter
I’m not going to lie. I got a little teary. The letter came from a complete stranger via chloegetsaclue.com and I don’t think my feet touched the ground for the rest of the day.
That my retirement from advertising would have to wait.
Writing is a labor of love. It feeds my soul, but unfortunately not my body. I’ll have to keep working for a while to keep food on the table and my puppy in kibble.
That writing would take a back burner if I’m not careful
I’m honestly not complaining about how much work goes into marketing an indie book. But I do see a potential conflict of interest coming up between promoting book one and writing book two. Finding balance between the two is a work in progress, but I’m getting there.
That with great opportunity comes great responsibility.
There are unprecedented opportunities for Indie writers these days but we HAVE to hit “pause” before we hit “publish” and ask ourselves some tough questions: Is this book the best it can be? Has it been vetted by Beta readers, proofed by an eagle-eyed editor? Are the darlings dead and story tight? If we want to be taken seriously we have to approach this industry with as much professionalism as passion.
That I would be so proud to re-define myself as a writer.
As I’ve said, I work in advertising so I do make a living writing. But when asked what I do, I’ve always said “writer, I mean, in advertising.” Now I just say writer and smile. Because it’s finally true in every sense of the word.