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Indie Authors: Love What You Do and How You Do It [Guest Post]

The following is a guest post from author Evelyn Lafont. For more on Evelyn, visit her website or tweet @KeyboardHussy!

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately among some self-published, indie authors. Many of them seem to be unhappy about their decision to self-publish.

It’s true. There are self-published authors out there who are disparaging the process of self-publishing, while still—begrudgingly—trying to sell their own self-published book.

As someone who is embracing the indie author movement the same way she embraces dessert, I don’t get it. It seems like some of these folks are jumping on what they see as a self-publishing band wagon because they don’t want to miss out on what it might bring even though they don’t seem to even want what it brings. And like any self-fulfilling prophecy, many of these authors are posting sales stats that seem to prove their resistance right. After a few weeks or months of half-hearted marketing combined with negative comments about self-publishing, they show their low sales as if to say, “See? See how bad this is?”

Self-publishing is not like a one-size-fits-all Halloween costume. It’s not going to fit everyone. For some authors, the dream of being a writer includes having an agent and a publishing contract, and they won’t be happy unless that is what they have—even if they are selling books on an indie platform. And when they self-publish instead of following their dream and querying agents, they are doing themselves a huge disservice.

I remember when I was a kid and I lost a tooth, I’d put it under my pillow and go to sleep. The next day, I’d wake to find a fresh dollar bill, which went right into my Incredible Hulk piggy bank.

As a kid, I had no concept of the value of money. I understood that I could exchange it later for some kind of material object, but in the now—which is what mattered most to me—it didn’t bring any satisfaction. Now my neighbors, well, I thought the tooth fairy liked them better because she left each of them a piece of gum under their pillow instead of a stupid dollar.

A. Piece. Of. Gum.

Naturally, I complained about this disparity to my parents, who seemed to have a direct line of communication to the tooth fairy and all other powerful, gift-bearing beings. I remember them being shocked that I would complain over this injustice, because while they saw a dollar as much more valuable than a piece of gum, I didn’t.

This is what self-publishing and being an indie author is for me. While those who strive to get contracts with the ‘Big 6’ might look at me in horror, I want nothing more than to be an indie author. I get the biggest thrill out of having total artistic and financial control over my projects. That means more to me than notoriety, advances, approval—whatever. And personally, I believe that being an indie author is like getting a dollar AND a piece of gum from the tooth fairy, because I get the artistic satisfaction of controlling my creation NOW, and the money as my reader platform grows and I create and sell more books.

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, getting, selling, making, whatevering. Do what you want to do—what makes you feel fulfilled. I honestly think it’s the only way you’ll come anywhere near meeting your own definition of success. Oh and if you see the tooth fairy, tell her I still stand by my decision to take the gum. After all, I remember having it and enjoying it—but I don’t remember anything that happened to all those dollars she sent.

Evelyn Lafont is a proud indie author and freelance writer. Her debut novella, The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating will be published for e-readers on March 31st. You can read the first chapter at her website, Keyboard Hussy.

  • Evelyn, thanks for the encouraging post. You are so right. We live in a different publishing world today than it was even 5 years ago. We are truly in the age of the self-published author.

  • Evelyn,

    Well said! I couldn’t agree more about having control over your own artistic endeavor/creation. For true artists, having complete control is paramount for success. Musicians are the ones who seem to embrace this more readily than authors. They see the need to and benefit from controlling their own destiny. Being able to connect with your listeners/readers while a work is still fresh in your mind. Recent example: Radiohead. I believe all serious writers seek to be read and are not ashamed to try new and inventive ways of doing so. For writers now, it is a perfect time to “embrace the indie author movement.”

    Thanks so much for sharing,


    P.S. Especially love the last two paragraphs!

    P.P.S. My favorite example of a self-published author is Dickens. He originally self-published “A Christmas Carol”. He didn’t resign himself to self-publish, he did so out of pride for and belief in his work. Not surprisingly, he was right.

  • I think you hit it right on the head, Evelyn. Like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. I plan on Indie ePublishing my first story in the coming months. I’m having a professional cover designed and beginning to layout my marketing strategy. I like the concept of total control. If I sink or swim, I know it’s because of what I did, not what I thought someone else should’ve done. This is the future of publishing, no matter how much publishers and agents want to make people think otherwise. I’m looking forward to every bit of the process and can’t wait to see what happens. For me, it’s about the story, if people like what they read they’ll come back for more. And maybe the book fairy will leave me a dollar under my pillow. (I’ll send you the gum!) :)

  • I’m glad it helped Tony! I do think this is a great time for indie authors to be alive!

    Thanks August and I agree-control is super vital! I didn’t know that about Dickens, interesting…

    Lol Lenny–give me all your gum! It sounds like you have a great plan. Keep us posted on the progress!

  • well said. more people need to think this through.

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  • Stephanie Keyes

    Nicely put! I agree with you wholeheartedly. If an author decides to SP they should stand behind their own decision. Who doesn’t want control over their own work in the end?

  • I honestly am so glad with my decision to indie publish that I tell everyone anytime I can how great it is for certain authors. If you want control over your book as well as the chance to really put yourself out there to the community, I think indie is the perfect way to make yourself known, provided you have a decent story. I’m so excited to be an indie author, as well as the progress and direction the indie side is headed. Great post!

  • Shauna Kelley

    This is a a really insightful, timely piece. I think people are jumping in with both feet without exactly understanding what they are jumping in to, or not thinking of whether or not it will meet their needs.

  • A.T. Russell

    Indie status is powerful, but the result of an author’s hard work is represented in the degree of success they earn. Going it alone in this current industry, however, is unnecessary, which is what I think most Indies are upset about. Nevertheless, looking up at big house publishers, thinking they hold the magic key to ‘Bestseller Realm’ is misdirected hope, in most cases. Since they have minimal marketing legs, you’re pretty much on your own with them, too. So, work with other Idies – collaborate, share marketing platforms, trade best practices. The results are sure to tell a different story.

  • Thank goodness I was born on Mars & not Venus, with little or no ability for lateral thing! The part about the injustice of the Dollar bill from the Tooth Fairy would have ruined my mascara.