What and who are the true measures of Indie publishing
By Pandora Poikilos
Deep within each of us, there is a burning desire to leave
an immortal mark of ourselves for future generations. Writers are no different.
Most of us look forward to the day when our books will outlive us and 1000 or 1
million, if someone in 2055 is reading our books, then our work is done.
So, writing isn't all about the money. But let's be honest,
we all want to be paid writers. We don't want to slog at one job when our heart
and soul is set on writing. But can it be as successful as some people say
it is? Newsflash - you're the only person who can answer that question.
First, how badly do you want it?
As a teenager, I knew I wanted to write, all my life. I got
a scholarship for my degree, worked part time all through university and then
applied for the journalism internship of a lifetime. But I got sidetracked.
Life stepped in. I was diagnosed with IIH (Intracrannial Hypertension). Medical
bills piled up, writing took a backseat. Then in 2010, I had my VP shunt
surgery. I felt alone, and caved in so I picked up a pen. The words came and so
did the books.
Bottomline - don't wait for things to go your way so
you can write. Write now, and keep writing. One hour a day, 30 minutes a day.
Something is better than nothing. If you want something badly enough, you will
find a way. Yes, I've sold close 120,000 books but I've also worked as a
cashier, a typist, a proofreader and sold handmade jewellery at a flea market
among other things to get to where I am. Frequent Traveller was finished with
me dictating and Peas writing for me. He was my eyes when I couldn’t see. If I
can do it, so can you. Success is the destination you reach when you know where
you're going. But it's your journey so guess who has the answer about your
Build bridges, don't burn them
A few weeks ago, fellow author Paul Rega was doing a promo
for his book, he asked if I could help him send out some tweets. I did. Last week
when Peas and I launched our recipe book, he returned the favour. He is one of
the many authors I know who has helped me on my journey.
Bottomline - Don't harass people into buying or
reading your book. Don't expect your book to sell because you purchased one
advertising campaign. A fruit tree doesn't grow and yield fruit overnight.
Plan, work, tweak, adjust, talk to other writers, connect, build relationships
... books are forever. Learn what works for you. It'll take time and patience
but again how badly do you want this to work?
Stay away from negativity
As readers or writers, it is extremely easy to be negative
about someone else's work. "This is how it should be" and "that
is how it shouldn't be" Yes, for spelling, grammar and punctuation, there
are only so many acceptable variations but ideas ... these are the very essence
that signifies who a person is. In all my more than 30 years, I have slept
through every Star Wars movie I have ever seen. I cannot name ten differences
between Star Trek and Star Wars because it almost feels the same to me. How I
can hear the gasps of shock. But yes, neither appealed to me. I had an elder
brother who tried to educate me, and many friends and at least one ex-boyfriend
who failed miserably. It just never sank in. Imagine me telling George Lucas or
George Roddenberry that their shows were the worst thing ever.
Bottomline - Just because you don't like an idea,
that doesn't make it the worst book written. If you can't say something nice,
then don't say anything at all. Strangely enough, negativity has a way of
coming back to you one way or another. If you must point out flaws then be
constructive, not negative. On the other end, when you have received a negative
review, don't get your knickers in a twist. Some people think it is essential
to throw pebbles in your shoes. Ask yourself three questions - Did you give it
your all? Did you give it your best? How could you have done it differently?
Not all of us write to be loved, sometimes a story needs to be and told it
But my publisher said ...
As the process of self-publishing becomes more accessible,
numerous people are seen to take advantage of this situation and not in a good
way. Take for example Publisher X. A few weeks ago this publisher swapped Author
A's book on Amazon. Publisher X used the same cover and author’s name but
changed the synopsis to erotic content. Overnight, reviewers found themselves
linked to a book they had never reviewed and wouldn’t want to review. The author
was bad-mouthed and all promotional work for her book seemed to be flushed down
the toilet. Drama nobody needed. This was the same publisher that publicly
shamed one of his authors over the Thanksgiving holiday to the point she filed
a restraining order against him. There are also numerous 'independent'
publishers who use this status to sidetrack royalty issues and treat an
author's book like it's the least important thing in the world. Their
excuses are endless - not enough funds, not enough manpower, they know the
industry better. But again, it’s your book and it’s your story. How do you want
it to be remembered?
Bottomline - Yes, it isn't easy to do book cover
design, editing, formatting and marketing on your own. Most times, it is
impossible. But publishers aren't the only people who can help you. There are
numerous freelancers who are good at what they do. Do a bit of research. Join
some writing groups. Ask around. Yes, it'll take time and yes, it'll cost you
money. But put some cash aside, do it step by step. A little hardship in the
beginning saves you from a lot of unnecessary drama later on.
When I was a freelance reporter, my interview request for
one particular personality was repeatedly rejected. I was distraught. A quote
from him was crucial to add credibility to the article. My editor wasn’t at all
sympathetic and only told me that there's more than one way to skin a cat. So I
kept trying, and he finally agreed to meet me at the airport before a flight to
South Africa. I
had 30 minutes to ask him at least 10 questions.
Bottomline - things aren't going to fall from the sky
and into your lap. Sales will slow down. Things can and will go wrong. Be
creative. There's always one more road to take. Writing is a journey, no one
said it'll be an easy, straight road. Sales are low? Organise a book tour,
put together a twitter campaign, work on book store appearances, look at sites
like eReader News and Kindle Nation. Possibilities are endless and there are
people who can help you. So, again how badly do you want this to work?
I wish you success and perseverance. You and I separately
are just one different book but together and in the words of the band Fun, "Let's
set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun.
Catherine Dixon is everyone's dreamgirl. Girls want to be her. Men want to be with her. From her charming smile to her gentle voice, one always turns to take a second look at Cathy. Wherever she goes there isn't an ill word spoken about her. Her job as Vice President of Communications at MoonStar, one of the world's top hotel chains is to make sure guests are happy to the point of perfection.
From the blue oceans of Antigua to the bustling streets of Vietnam, the racing adrenaline at the Green Hell, the devastating natural disaster in Japan and the stunning architecture in Germany, Cathy finds herself in a whirlwind of fine dining, plush clothes and sheer extravagance. But is perfection only a mask for untold disaster? In a job that deals so much with people, Cathy goes home to an empty bed. There are no pictures on her wall, no doting phone calls from a tongue tied lover and no family holidays to boast about.
What is Cathy's secret and how will her world change when the world knows? What is the significance of the blue pendant round her neck? Who is the mysterious man she is seen with every three months? What are the contents of the brown envelope delivered to her on the fifteenth of every month? Will her secrets ever catch up with her or will Cathy continue to sail alongside perfection in the world she has created for herself as a Frequent Traveller?
Genre - Women's Fiction
Rating - PG13