I love e-books. I’ve loved my Kindle since the moment we met. Yet, although I’ve been writing my entire life and owned a business for decades, indie publishing seemed foolhardy. Too many mountains to climb, too much resistance, too hard, too much investment, too little reward, I thought.
But the situation is not what I thought it was. And I have my trailblazing friends J.A. Konrath, C.J. Lyons, Paul Levine, James Swain, and Christine Kling to thank for enlightening me.
Once again, too soon old, too late smart!
Late to the indie party, but better late than never, right?
So I stuck my toe in the water this summer. Quietly, we published my out-of-print backlist and one unsold manuscript, learning the indie business along the way. Recently, we were able to offer two of the books to readers free for a limited time, which pushed them up onto several Amazon bestseller lists. Reader reaction has been so positive. It’s impossible to tell you how wonderful that feels. Thank you all.
Now, my biggest indie book is about to launch in two weeks. A project we’ve worked on for more than three years. Yikes! Have I made the right decision? Will readers love it? I’m holding my breath.
How did we get here?
My story is the same as so many other traditionally published writers. We write, we sell, we lose control of our work. In tough economic times, publishers make perfectly valid business decisions that too often leave us shivering outside in the cold. Publishers are sold, go into bankruptcy, close imprints, reduce print runs, whatever they need to do to stay profitable. And that’s how businesses should be.
Life goes on, windows close, doors open, opportunity knocks — and, well, Indie-is-Me.
Until the e-book revolution, we writers had no choice but to stand there with our bowls empty begging for more thin gruel. That was a problem begging for a solution, and Amazon created the solution with it’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program. A solution brick and mortar bookstores, as much as we all love them, could not create. Others followed Amazon’s lead and now indie publishing is more than viable. As an author, I am very grateful. As a reader, I’m even more grateful. How about you?
Books have always been my life.
As if James Patterson stood there telling me, “Read, Kiddo, Read!” I grew up in a rural community where playmates were scarce. Reading filled that void. The library became my playground and books became my best friends. Best friends they have remained, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. By now, one thing I know for sure is that only death will part us.
Everyone knows reading can literally save our lives, such as when we read the directions on a medicine bottle or signs along the highway. Truly, Reading is Fundamental. But it can be so much more.
We book lovers know reading broadens our horizons, leads us to adventures we would never have, people we’d never meet, places we’d never go. That’s how it was for me.
My love affair with reading.
Love of reading and stories propelled me through life and into law school where we read thousands of case reports contained in textbooks thick as dictionaries. Required to read the facts, figure out what the law is and how to apply it to the facts, we were tested with fact patterns to analyze over and over until we learned to “think like a lawyer.” It’s a form of hazing, probably. But it changes the way we see the world and the way we navigate in it. Mostly, what we learn is that the situation is never what we think it is and all problems can be solved if we simply figure out how to make it so. Lessons that have served me well.
I excelled in law school because I loved to read. I loved the stories contained in the cases. These story people were real, their problems serious, and always solved. I remember many of their names and situations even now, all these years later. I loved figuring out what went wrong and how to make it right. I loved writing the essays that garnered good grades and later, a good job. I loved learning. And I still do.
As a lawyer, most of my work days were filled with writing. Letters, briefs, opinions, articles and more. Lawyering, it turns out, is the writing life. Again, I thrived there because I loved it. And I still do.
Reading rewarded me in so many ways that I did my best to pass along to clients and colleagues, with significant success. Moving from non-fiction to fiction seemed inevitable before I knew how hard it would be.
From non-fiction to now?
It took a good long time to write my first novel. Like most published writers, there were several false starts, unfinished manuscripts, classes, workshops, critiques, rejections, and of course, craft books to help me through.
Eventually, I completed the novel that sold. After that first one, the addiction to publish to reach readers captured me. I’ve been writing to publish almost constantly since. Through the long and winding road, we’ve arrived at indie publishing.
Going boldly into the future.
Like many of my colleagues, I am still traditionally published and proud to be so. When the right situation presents itself, I’ll choose a traditional publisher again.
But now, I’m an indie, too. You know what? So far, I love it. Connecting to readers directly has always been one of my favorite things, and now the internet makes it possible to connect on a much, much broader scale. I hope you’ll be one of those readers. Click here if you’d like to be added to our mailing list so we can let you know when Don’t Know Jack is available.
How cool would that be?
Diane, good luck on the release of your upcoming book. I’m on your mailing list so will receive the info when it’s released. 🙂
Glad to hear you’re on our list, Sheila. Stay tuned!
I’ll be very curious to know how it breaks down for you. The difference between indie and traditional. I hope you share as you learn more. The book looks great! I am extremely excited for you!
Thanks so much, Deb! It’s been a significant learning curve so far, but I’m starting to get the hang of this indie world. I hope!
Thanks for sharing your experience Diane. I am also very curious to hear the continuation of your indie story!
It helps to know we’re not alone, right? I’ll keep you all posted and hope for positive results.
I’m on your mailing list and eagerly await word of Jack’s debut. Thanks for allowing us to follow your progress and share in your journey.
Thanks, Pat. Appreciate the support and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Thanks for explaining the process and both sides to your publication story. The only downside, for me, is that I don’t have an ereader and don’t see one in the budget for quite some time. And for paper books, I like the immidiate gratification of walking out of the store with a book in my hand, so I don’t order from Amazon that often. Maybe I’m considered old school, but I love the smell of a new book. Although, when ereaders become more affordable I’ll be super excited to get one.
I agree it’s nice to have paper books, Emma. I’m a book lover myself. With luck, there will always be “dead tree lovers” among us.
I should have mentioned that you can read Kindle books on almost any smartphone or computer these days. Amazon will give you the software in an easy download free. I read e-books this way long before my first Kindle device. Does that help?
Thanks for sharing this, Diane. I’m quietly watching and learning from the sidelines, as I suspect indie publishing will be in my future. I love my Kindle, but I like having paper books sometimes too as it’s hard to have an author autograph the Kindle 😉
So true, Melinda. I’ve been known to buy the same book several times, in several formats. Once a “dead tree lover” always a “dead tree lover” hmmm?
Congrats on your recent successes – as well as what’s sure to be more to come! I jumped into the indie pool myself last summer, though with a new book. After 10 years of beating my head against the NY wall, I had to face facts that my books are simply too “niche” for a NY pub to be able to sell in enough quantity to turn a profit on them. When I got personalized rejections, they always were some variation of “your writing is good but I can’t sell this.” As a graphic artist and web developer, I can do my own covers and formatting, so once distribution opened up, indie publishing seemed like a no-brainer for me. Thanks for sharing your journey, and hope you sell a bunch!
Thanks, Jen. We’re lucky to have indie as a viable option now. This is a relatively recent thing. And it’s good for writers to take advantage of the opportunity while it lasts. Who knows what new trend the publishing winds will blow in next? Good luck to you, too!
Congrats on your soon-to-be-released book, Diane. I wish you great success going the indie route. I bet you’ll excel, with all the experience you have. I’m going to self-publish a children’s chapter book in October and am pretty excited about it. Unfortunately, middle grade (8 to 12) eBooks still haven’t taken off yet in epubbling like they have with other genres, but I know it’s coming. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. Very much appreciated!
Thanks, Lynn. You’ll get there. And childrens’s chapter books will, too. “Resistance is futile,” right?
This is so exciting Diane. Thanks for sharing this journey with us. I apapreciate your knowledge and honesty.
You’re totally welcome, Louise. I hope something I’ve shared and learned the hard way will be of benefit to you and other writers.