The Indie Network
by Frankie Rose
Self-publishing is a long, lonely road. Right?
This can be so true. When I first set out to publish my work on my own, I was exactly that: on my own. I had my book, zero patience, and no clue what I was doing. I jumped in with both feet, setting a release date for my Amazon debut, but it was only when I started thinking about sales and how wonderfully I was going to do that I began to panic. There are over 1.5 million books on Amazon. Even in my blissful naivety, one question plagued me: how were people going to even know my book was there? It was around this time that I really picked up on how much work I had ahead of me. I did my research. I needed a book tour and a publicist, or at least some clue about marketing. Did I have a clue about marketing?
The resounding answer to that question was most definitely no.
So, I pushed back my book release and started searching out book blogs that would review my book. There were thousands of awesome sites I wanted to participate, but I started hitting brick walls. “No Indie Authors Allowed!” were the larger-than-life words spray painted on those walls. I kicked at them, I scratched, I tried to knock them down every way I knew how. I’ll admit it was a mostly futile exercise, but I did have a few victories. People started reading my work, and all of a sudden I realised that I wasn’t alone anymore. I started collecting people. People who would email me to find out how I was going and what progress I was making. People who had read Sovereign Hope and enjoyed it, and wanted to see it do well.
I admit, I never considered that there might be a community of people out there, supporting each other on their respective journeys. I had heard horror stories about indie authors back-stabbing and leaving purposefully nasty reviews on websites and blogs just to drag them down. What I found was the exact opposite. I was blown away when my small collection of supporters grew and grew, and as my book release approached, I was humbled by the amount of help I received in spreading the word. Maybe, I figured, this wasn’t such a long, lonely journey after all.
A plethora of wonderful authors gave me advice and pointed me in the right direction when I got a little lost, and I have built some incredible relationships with them over the past nine months. My second book release was so much easier, because I had a network of friends at my back, ready to buoy me up, talk me down off the ledge when I needed it, and to kick my ass when I needed that, too. Which was often.
It quickly became apparent that this whole Indie thing was so much easier when you had people to help you through it. My purpose in the indie community evolved, so that I was doing what I could to help others who were starting out on their own journeys, shaky legs and all. There was great satisfaction in that, and I felt blessed to be able to share the knowledge and support that had been given to me when I needed it.
Myself and a few other girls put our heads together. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an organised body that people could turn to when they needed answers or feedback? The groundwork was laid out by the brilliant Chelsea Starling and Jordan Rosenfeld, and over a period of months Indie-Visible came into being. Our motto, Literary Justice For All, really said it all. We wanted equality and readily available encouragement for everyone who was brave enough to pour their souls onto the paper and send it out into the world. It shouldn’t matter whether or not a big publishing house deemed it ‘right for them’.
I’m not saying becoming published author through traditional avenues isn’t a worthwhile goal. It’s one I’m sure we all dream of occasionally, but there are so many benefits to being an independent writer. Gone are the days when an author can only feel validated if one of the big six picks up their work and stamps it with their seal of approval. There is probably as much chance of you winning the lottery as that happening, with traditional publishers receiving thousands of queries each month. And I don’t like those odds.
With resources like Indie-Visible at our fingertips, there is no reason why our books should go unread, or not receive the attention they deserve. Diversity is a wonderful thing, and we have certainly benefited from the eclectic mix of people who have joined the Indie-Visible ranks. Professional editors, PR experts, graphic designers, book trailer makers—there are so many ways we have found to help launch each other with our individual skill-sets. With so few lottery winners, we have all decided to go out and build our own luck from the ground up. Sure, it’s hard work. Blood gets spilled and the odd tear is shed from time to time, but that’s just life.
I’m willing to risk being trite when I utilise the old saying, Nothing worth doing is ever easy. It’s clichéd, but remarkably relevant. And with the invaluable community of independent authors out there helping each other and taking such joy in another’s success, there is no reason why we should ever struggle on our journeys alone. Swing by and check out the amazing individual stories of the Indie-Visible crew. Our stories and our experiences are so very different, and we would love to help you build and create your own.
Literary Justice For All!
You can learn more about Frankie Rose on her website and here is the link for indie-visible.