Thursday, March 5, 2015

Life As An Indie Author


I always had the dream to be a writer.
Of course, I didn't think it would ever happen, especially with how insecure and protective I was regarding my writing.
My husband, God bless him, was a huge supporter. It was with his encouragement that I finally returned to my writing after 20+ years.  He believed in me even when I didn't.

I started my debut novel while I was in high school.  I set it aside for 20+ years, waiting until my children were adults, before I refined it and published it.
I published myself and then re-published it under Creativia.

I tried to go the traditional route.
I queried literary agents and researched what to do in order to get into a large publishing house.  I had so much to learn and I am certain I did poorly due to my ignorance of the business.  Thankfully, many of the agents I contacted were kind to me, offering advice and encouragement when they didn't need to  It helped ease my disappointment from the rejections and it made me strive to push forward.

There are many rules and each agent is not only looking for a specific genre or style, but they also have their own preferences for querying and how to write your letters.
You have to know your agent/agency as much as the rules.
Once you get the letter written, then the wait begins...
 Wait, what's a blurb?
I thought my work sold itself.  Nope, you have to sell the idea of your work before it is even a consideration. Being a consideration just means you get read... not signed.

Bree Ogden was one of the people who made a difference for me.
She helped me to learn how to do things through her advice posts and she was also one of the agents who was very kind to me.  
I really have a lot of respect for her!

I heard from a friend about self-publishing through Kindle and Nook, so I looked into it.  I decided to try it, thinking I could build a portfolio in which to have some credentials.  See, I have a college education, but nothing consistent enough to hold an actual degree and I haven't won any awards.  I hoped this would show my ability to be marketable.
I was wrong.
I discovered that most literary agents don't want you after you self-publish.  As you can imagine, I was crushed. 
I had ruined my career before I even got it started... or so I thought.

Then, I discovered MIIKA HANNILA and Creativia!
Obviously, my signing with them changed my life.  In some ways, it has made things much easier for me.  I have clout having a publisher, even though they are a small independent publishing house and I get professional services without having to sell my first born or chopping off an arm or leg.
What I didn't expect though, was the family of authors and the friendships I received from this collaboration and that was the best part!
I didn't feel a lone anymore.  I could share creative ideas and get advice -about my work, editing, and the business.
I have learned so much in the last year and  I have grown as well.
I think Creativia has given me the means to mature as an author and to really understand what I need to do with my literary career.

I like to try new things.  I try different genres and often I cross genres with each book.  My friends and colleagues have a vast array of style and wisdom.  They are kind enough to share their knowledge with me and I appreciate it greatly!
Simone has taught me how to refine my writing, strengthen my voice, and given me a love for the true art of romance writing.  She is there for me, cheering me on even when I can't find my own pom poms.
Brian  and Doug have both taught me a great deal about the business, both in literature and film.  They are men of integrity and they help me remember to laugh, at myself as much as at the world in general.
Carole has taught me about publishing and how to protect myself.  She has been a good friend to me, reminding me that the most important thing in the world isn't sales, but rather, happiness!
Sahara has taught me so much about promoting and net-working  She is an amazing friend who opens the world to me in ways I never knew possible!
Special thanks to my all time favorite authors, who have also become mentors and friends,
The Gears have given me advice, not only about writing in general, but about my personal writing style.  They have encouraged me and supported me, reminding me that life is about constantly learning and growing.  They taught me to keep challenging myself.

I still have disappointments, stressing over sales and how to promote.
Getting reviews is a constant struggle. I don't think readers understand how important they are - I know I didn't, not until I found my publisher.
Plus, writing is so personal that you cannot completely be separated from your work.  It is an extension of you - whether it is fiction or non-fiction - and you can't help feeling elated by the cheers and hurt by the jeers.
Still, I love to write and I cannot imagine my life without it.
I love my readers and I am so grateful to them.
It is a blessing to share my stories, but to have people enjoy them...
That is a gift beyond measure!


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