Monday, August 30, 2010

How I came to be an Indie

My story starts two years ago in Cambridge, England....

I was living in the UK after my husband's job transferred him and we lived in the most idyllic location in Cambridge, situated right on the River Cam. Literally every morning there were swans and ducks in my front yard.

I started working as an online marketing consultant and didn't have a whole lot to do, so started reading urban fantasy books. The first ones I read were the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. So, long story short, I was hooked!!!

Being so impressed by these two authors, I thought to myself, hey I should give this a try. I've always dabbled in creative writing. Back when I was 12 years old, I wanted nothing more than to be a writer and of course took writing classes all through high school and college and then life happened and I sort of abandoned it.

Well, I found it again! So, I'm living in Cambridge and I start writing Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble. My hubby and I traveled all around England and abroad into Europe each weekend and many of the places we visited had such an effect on me that I included them in my book.

Fast forward about six months and I finish my book. In this time I've met the most wonderful critique partner and she was really responsible for helping me shape my book. She tells me I should look for an agent. So I think what the heck, I'll give it a try. I send out a bazillion query letters to agents high and low (all in the US) and wouldn't you know it, I get about 20 requests for fulls, partials, 10 pages, etc. So I'm pretty stoked. Most of those end in rejections but amazingly, the one agent I'm super duper thrilled about writes me back and says she was up all night reading my book, couldn't put it down and wants to rep me.

Oh, happy day! So, of course, I take her up on it and I can already see my name in lights. I'm going to be a famous writer and everyone will know who I am and I'm going to make tons of cash...

Well a few months go by and we haven't really had any bites from publishers. Lots of them are saying they liked this and that but they want this changed or they want that changed. Another few months and still nothing. Then my awesome agent stops returning my emails and phone calls. I read up on her and find out she's lost her 3 biggest clients (and I'm talking names everyone knows--uber clients). OK, not good, really not good.

Fast forward another two months and I'm no longer with my agent. But, not to worry. If she loved my book, someone else will right? So, with my head held high, I start querying again. And I get a good number of requests again but this time anyone who seems interested says I should take out the humor from the books. That dark urban fantasy is selling and my books are too...funny?! What?

At this point, I'm disgruntled. Somewhere along the road, I've moved up to Edinburgh, Scotland so my husband can pursue his MBA and I've written my second book, To Kill A Warlock. But still no agent.

Then my good critique friend sends me an article about self pubbing and how many authors are extremely successful and making a great living at it. The article goes on to say how the tide in publishing is turning and indies are becoming more and more popular. So, I decide to go for it. That was two months ago and I haven't looked back since.

I've been thrilled with the reaction to my books and this was the best decision I could have made!!!

So, what about you indie authors out there? How did you become an indie?? And readers, how did you find out about indie authors?


Tina Folsom said...

Wow, HP, what a roller coaster! I know what it feels like to go through that whole query process. It can be quite a downer. And just snagging an agent unfortunately doesn't mean you've made it.

My critique partner is in a similar boat. She's got a great agent, but her book isn't selling - and she is an amazing writer. When I read her pages, I'm thinking, wow, people will love this. And still, her agent hasn't been able to sell it.

In the meantime, I'm writing book after book.


Edie Ramer said...

My book Cattitude has just been on Smashwords & Amazon since like week. Like you, I had an agent for it. Mine has humor, too, and I think that's part of the reason it didn't sell.

I already have a couple of great reviews, and I'm excited! I know I did the right thing. I've taken control of my career.

Luna Lindsey said...

Last night my girlfriend asked me, "Will you also pursue traditional publishing?" I asked her back, "Why?" It would seem the best reason to go traditional is marketing. But publishers rarely help authors market beyond the initial push. The author is left having to market themselves anyway.

So what's left? They legitimize you, they proofread, and they design the layout and cover. If you're doing pretty good with a cover, and have plan for outside editing, all you're left with is legitimacy.

In trade for that, I get higher royalties and creative control over my work. An easy swap. :)

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