Yesterday, I spent some of my day following the habits of an author that I consider successful in the indie author biz. Some may know her, some may not, but she’s a machine and pretty well known in a few circles and is one of the few authors that’s taking the Indie publishing biz and making it her b#tch. She walked away from traditional publishing and decided to do things her own way.
Looking at her long list of accomplishments made me ponder all of the things that I (and other black authors) could be doing instead of standing at the door of Big Trad Pub with our hands on our hips trying to figure out how to get in.
When I first started writing, self publishing was frowned upon and it was considered to be embarrassing to have to publish your own work. Not even five years later, self publishing is a whole new world, with authors making a serious living from doing it their way. Still, a traditional publishing contract is the mark of validation, of finally being good enough to not have to resort to indie pubbing. However if you’re the kind of person that never needed that validation, there’s much work to be done past trying to be seen by eyes that don’t want to see you.
Some things I picked up:
1. It doesn’t happen overnight. Even those authors with long backlists and gobs of fans who make lots of money started somewhere, nice and slow. It starts with hard work and hunger. Luck is where preparation meets
Image courtesy http://bizchix.com
2. There are some things you may not want to do, but it would be a mistake to put them off and be years down the line, wish you had done them. There are a couple of things I don’t really want to do, but I know I need to. Time to WOMAN UP and do them. Looking at 2017 like *blank stare*
3. Keep your eyes on your own paper. That’s my own saying for ‘watch you and yours’. You’ve got plenty to worry about without expending effort to how someone is doing something. What they’re doing may or may not be working for them. Not your monkey, not your show.
4. Read, research, innovate. Think up new ways to do things, to reach readers, to put yourself out there. And on that note:
5. OWN IT. The time for timidity is over, the time for owning that you’re a writer and you write DARN GOOD BOOKS is now. You’d never buy a book by an author that never talked about their book and when they did, they called it a piece of crap. PROMO YOUR STUFF. TELL PEOPLE IT’S GOOD. Unless it really does suck and then why is it out there, if you’re not proud of it?
Seriously tho…You wrote a book. Do you know how many people start writing a book and never finish? *raises hand, because I have at least six partially written books in the depths of my google drive* Own it. Be loud and proud. I’m SO TIRED of reading authors apologizing for promoting their work, because people might complain about it. Reminds me of an Eminem lyric from Cinderella Man:
Own it. Bring it.
This post isn’t just me preaching to new authors or even me preaching to the choir of other indie authors. This is me, preaching to ME. Me needing to grab this indie thing by the horns and make it do what it do. Me needing to realize that I am five books in and new book ideas keep coming to me and there is a chance that the end of the road for me is a long ways off.
So, time to put my eyes where they belong– on this blank, empty sheet of paper and fill it up.
Unedited. Subject to change. Copywritten so don’t copy me. No pub date as of yet, but this is what I plan to work on this November. “Do you know what I do here? Do you know what this law firm is about?” Sylvia rolls her chair back from the desk and stands, then walks to the enormous window covered in floor length sheer white drapes. She pokes her finger between two sheers and peers out into the Atlanta skyline. “At Kincaid Family Law, we bring men like Warren Jackson to their knees. Go after assets. Find hidden money.” She turns from the window and strides back to her desk and resumes her seat. “We take men who are trying to get around their responsibilities to task. And we make them pay.” The last three words are enunciated clearly, spoken at a decibel above her regular tone and punctuated by the tap of a fiery red fingertip. “I see.” I clear my throat, reaching for the bag that I’d set down near my feet. I set it on my lap and resist the urge to wrap my arms around it to protect myself. “I… I’m not sure that…well, Maxine wanted me to call you. I don’t have much money and I don’t believe Warren does, either. I’m not looking to take him to the cleaners. I don’t want anything from Warren but a divorce decree and child support.” Sylvia reaches for the bottle of coconut water, slowly unscrewing the cap and sipping a few swallows. “I see a lot of young ladies sitting in that chair,” she says, her words coming slowly. Diabolically. “Mothers, young pretty ones, tossed aside for a younger, prettier models. They come through here with their heart on their sleeves, still halfway in love with the bastard that screwed them over, talking about how they don’t want anything, just a clean break.” She emits a wry chuckle, wags her head back and forth a time or two […]
Mid-Event Survey: 1. What are you reading right now? Just finished STORMY WEATHER by Paula Woods, Book two in the Charlotte Jones Detective series 2. How many books have you read so far? This is book two 3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Hoping Book 3 is even better than 1 & 2 4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Nope, I live alone, so other than needing food and drink, I’ve been fine. 5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Very surprised at how fast people are blazing through books. Granted I am reading thick, involved books but… it’s not a race, right?
This is my first official readathon so let’s do it right, shall we? This is the opening meme to the 24 hour reading session. 1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Atlanta, GA 2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? None in particular. I’m starting a series, so just hoping the next is better than the one before. 3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I got a nice hot breakfast sandwich. ANd some skittles. 4) Tell us a little something about yourself! By day I am an Executive Admin for a well known Atlanta based beverage company. By night, I’m an avid reader and indie author. 5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? First one, so let’s get it crackin’. In my search for books to read, I found a black female detective series I hadn’t read yet. I’m starting with Inner City Blues by Paula Woods and moving on to the other three books in the series. I hope they’re good since that’s what I plan to read today. As a failsafe, I have Dreams of Joy by Lisa See, the followup to Shanghai Girls. Should be a good day!
After writing a book, I always need a break. I need to decompress from the writing schedule, from my mind being consumed with how to write well and how to make what I have written better. I need to clear my head of the old plot, the old one-liners, the old goals.