Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Mighty Mighty Indies - Guest post by Tracy Tucker

The Mighty Mighty Indies

Hope. Despair. Celebrate. Lament. Repeat.

Why didn’t anyone tell me the world of indie publishing would be so…stressful? overwhelming? agonizing? Ohh wait a minute, they did. But I thought they were talking about other authors’ experiences, which wouldn’t apply to me. Now, as I sit here trying to coax my tweet-fried, over-clicked brain into writing this post while my husband plays on his iPad and sings to the cat, I am in full and utter appreciation of all indies who have come before me: people who have (other) full-time jobs, and children, and pets, and…and…and…but who still make the time to market, promote, research, email, read, blog, tweet, update Goodreads, search for groups and book clubs and reviewers, network with authors, reply to threads–and if they’re lucky, maybe even shower. And write. This is not for the faint of heart. Even as a newbie, I took offense to the recent comments by established, traditional authors who labeled indies as “lazy.” That’s like saying hummingbirds need to step it up.

In fact, that’s a damned good analogy. Sometimes, I feel exactly like a hummingbird: zipping over to dip my beak in the feeder for a taste of delish sugar water, then flitting to the telephone wire to chill for a sec before beelining it to a very attractive petunia and zooming to nest in a pine tree. Except the sugar water is a delish review, the telephone wire is where I balance precariously between self-labels of success and failure, the petunia is bestseller status, and the pine tree is the shelter and safety of my pre-indie life.

I knew self-pubbing would take time, I knew it would take determination, I knew it would take effort. I didn’t know you would need to add “tremendous” in front of each of those characteristics, and I didn’t know it would take so much courage. It’s scary as hell to put your book out there – to leave it all alone like a frightened toddler in a dark and tangled jungle of a million other unfamiliar creatures (some of which bite). Kimberly Llewellyn, my first professional reviewer to whom I will always be immensely grateful, thanked me for trusting her with my “baby.” She got it. From what I have seen, indie reviewers are kind, professional and know what’s at stake. Still, mailing out a paperback or pressing the button to send your ebook prompts a deep, here-we-go, I-hope-they-like-it sigh. It takes courage to believe in yourself when a flurry of sales slows down, and when you realize how staggering the odds are against you to get noticed, let alone make it big.

In the midst of all this indie-induced stress, it certainly helps to keep a sense of humor. The night after my book went live, my husband and I had dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, wanting to celebrate the beginning of my new journey as an author. Our waiter, a/k/a The Weakest Link, was a very nice young man, but forgot the lemon for my water (twice), didn’t give us chips and salsa, and brought us the wrong meals. I told my husband I wanted to grab the waiter by the shirt and say, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I’ve sold EIGHT COPIES on Amazon!” I’m sure he would have been impressed.

I know I am far from alone in what I’ve experienced with indie publishing. And I know this is just the first step on a long, long road. I will draw upon the strength, tenacity and courage of other indies as we all strive to realize The Dream. I’ll call forth the kind words and advice of authors and reviewers who were truthfully too busy to offer support to a newbie, but who did it anyway. Here’s to all the inhabitants of our brain-straining, heart-hammering, soul-stirring indie world. Fellow hummingbirds, take flight!

Author Bio:

Tracy H. Tucker is first and foremost the mother of three of the best people on Earth. She has a Master's in Literacy from the University of Maine and has inspired the youth of America for seventeen years. She's an avid animal lover and would like to publicly thank her husband for putting up with the pet hair, the dogs in the bed, the things the cats hack up and the repeated requests for goats. It's a wonderful life.

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  1. Thanks for the advice! :)

    I'm learning this now. It was hard finding an artist, figuring out formats, finding people who will read an indie author, the list goes on. At the end of the day, I'm exhausted and I just want to write, but I didn't get responses from requests I sent out, so I have to go out and do it all again.

    Still, I love this.

    1. I happen to really love the indies more than anything. Over the last couple of years, I have found so many fantastic new authors to read and I think there is more heart in the indies.

      Keep writing, Christina!