Many years after I began independent publishing I am still asked (and sometimes ask myself) why I did not go the more accepted traditional route. The reasons are various but the often received response from publishers and agents: “Not mainstream enough.” “Perhaps tone it down and avoid the controversial subjects” “Great story and wonderfully drawn characters but just too unconventional.”
I got all these responses in my first years trying to go down the traditional route. It was dispiriting and hard to hear. Everyone was telling me I was not writing to an accepted formula.
Yes, yes, that’s the point of my writing – it’s not formulaic, it’s not conventional. It is original, challenging, thrilling, truthful, and character driven.
I was not prepared to try to become a clone for the sake of a publishing deal. So… I learned to do it myself. I was an early adopter of Indi publishing and quickly established that proper editing, good covers and interior formatting, as good as or better than mainstream, was what I needed to achieve. I believe I did that. I am sure any of my twenty plus novels will stand close critical scrutiny.
The freedom I now have is invigorating. I can let my imagination run free unconstrained by the gatekeepers rules and constraints. I am free to re-edit and re-publish all my work. It improves over time and it is always available, unlike trad books that have a very short active life.
The one downside to Indi, is the difficulty of getting noticed among the floods of mediocre drivel crowding the Amazon lists. I tried all the various methods advised by so called Indi experts – none are effective except as a means to sell their work and services. Reader loyalty and recommendations is the only method that works; but one has to be patient.
I’ve never paid for reviews or cheated in any way. My sales are modest, but steady and ever growing, as readers discover my work and keep coming back for more.
When I get a genuine review that is praiseworthy I am delighted and gratified because I know that reader will tell others and so sales keep coming.
I will never earn much, but I write because I have to. It is my creative life and it is immensely rewarding. Discovery by a new reader is wonderful and getting noticed by a film maker would be an unlikely delight. Ultimately, I write and Indi publish because I have to – it has been creative liberation. To all who are regular readers I say thank you and keep talking!