Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why Being An Indie Author Is the Best Thing Ever, and the Worst



Okay, so being an indie author is both the best thing ever, and the worst thing ever. How about I start with the bad first, huh? Yeah, let's get that out the way.

The bad:

1. Nobody knows who you are

This one really sucks. I recently did a Goodreads giveaway and got to talk to a lot of cool people. That was an amazing experience and I hope to do it again sometime. But one thing I made sure to do was message everybody personally (Well, everybody who was open to receiving messages) thanking them for choosing my book out of the thousands they had to choose from. It really meant a lot to me. I loved reaching out to them and getting messages back, but it took up a lot of time that I could have spent writing. Still, I'm happy I did it since I formed a lot of personal connections. But I'll get back to that again later.

2. The glut

Now, being an indie author, I've read a LOT of indie books to see what else is out there. Some are good, and some are bad. In fact, most of them are bad, which is a major problem for both the reader and the indie writer. When I buy a book that's been put out there by a major publishing house, I will read up to 100 pages before I put it down if I find that it's excessively boring. But do you know how many pages I'll give an indie book if I find it boring? Five. Ten if it's lucky. And that's because I, like many others, don't trust indie books. It's mostly because of the possible poor quality that may be lurking within. And this really sucks, since every last page, every last sentence, and every last word, has to get a hold of the reader and never let them go with an indie book, because we as indie author don't have the kind of credibility that comes with a Penguin Books or a Random House. Sure, bloggers help, but even that is beginning to become a problem as even book bloggers are getting backed up with requests. So, the relative ease of becoming an indie author is crushing us from the knees down. Too much weight, everybody! Too much weight!

3. Pimping for reviews

And here's the worst part of it all--pimping for reviews. I've done a lot of, you review me, I review you, deals, and it isn't always the best experience. If you're lucky, you'll find a book that you genuinely love and want to give a four or five star review (I've actually come across a few of these). But a lot of other times, you sometimes feel obligated to give a higher review than you think it really deserves, which hurts both you and the writer who thinks they did a great job on their book. And giveaways don't always help, either, since many times, when you do half off (or free!) deals, people will download your work but won't review it, which is ultimately what you want. Instead, your book will probably languish in somebody's kindle for years and years until they finally decide to either A: Give it a try, or B: Just get rid of it altogether. Either way, the writer usually doesn't win.

Phew, that was a downer. But now for the good. And there are a few good reasons. Here are just some of them:

The good:

1. Developing a fan base

As I mentioned earlier, thanking people who decided to click on my book for the goodreads giveaway allowed me to meet some really cool folks that I never would have met before. What's awesome about being an indie author is that you can actually make these kind of connections. You're a human being, not just a face on the back of a book cover. This opens up the opportunity to not only get your book out there to others, but also to develop a friendship and possible beta readers. It's really helpful, and I have people reading my books (Who I can talk to!) as I write this. So 1-up for that!

2. Keeping the content you want

My first book, The Darkness of the Womb, is super vulgar and graphic. A lot of people think that's a bad thing, while others love it. Here's the thing. I love it, and I thought it was necessary to the story. Now, if everybody who read it said that I should tone it down, then you best believe I would tone it down. Because I write for the audience, not myself. But if my book was published by a major house, I probably would have to cut a lot of the material just to fit the interests of the general public. And as an indie author, I never have to do that. Not ever. You can't front on that.

3. I'm my own Flavor Flav

Sure, it sucks that I pretty much have to be my biggest cheerleader, but hey, who's going to love my books more than me? I know if I had a regular publishing deal, my agent would be my cheerleader, but not having an agent (Even though I desperately want one) pushes me even harder to go outside my comfort zone and push my work out there. It's putting me more to task, and that's always a good thing. I love being proactive. YEEEAAAAH, BOOOOOOY.



So while there are positives and negatives to being an indie author, at least I'm trying my hardest. Because remember, it's better to try and fail miserably than to not try at all. Remember that if you ever want to become an indie author yourself. It's not about the money. It's about the experience. And being an indie author is making me a better person every single day.

1 comment:

Kyanna Kitt said...

Rich,

This was a very interesting and informative read. I have heard about people reviewing for reviews and some say it's a bad thing but I almost feel like it's necessary. When you aren't backed by a big publishing house you don't really get the time of day. It's like your story has been prejudged and because it lacks the backing of a multi-million dollar company no one wants to review it. This is one of the unfortunate truths of being an indie writer. It sucks big time but what helps is starting by supporting one another. If we bought each other's books and wrote reviews and such I think it would really open the door for readers to come in and actually read our work without being reluctant. I had more to say but got lost in my own thoughts... I hope this made sense. Keep writing Rich! Hopefully I'll be purchasing your books soon. You will definitely know about it!