Why You Shouldn’t Snub Indie Authors

posted in: Indie Advocate | 0
photo credit: bovanity.wordpress.com
photo credit: bovanity.wordpress.com

Those who have made the choice to be independently published authors often get skeptical or disapproving looks from friends and relations because the world of indie authors is still so new and misunderstood. Often the attitude is that “You’re not a real author because you didn’t get picked up by a publisher”. Here are a few things that such folks might wish to consider before they dismiss indie author efforts. (Feel free to share this article with them!)

The Awesome

Indie authors get creative.

Because they are not catering to a commercial publisher, they can mix genres and speak to niche interests that traditional publishers would not back because they wouldn’t make enough profit in an easily marketable sector. Indies also include or exclude elements that traditional publishers might oppose. I’ve been thrilled to see how many indies can write thrillers without gore or romance novels with erotic scenes. Publishers don’t want those books, but readers do!

Indie authors get paid considerably higher royalties than traditionally published authors.

For example, Amazon pays 35-70% to its indie authors compared to 10-20% by the “Big House” publishers. Some authors formerly published by big companies have actually chosen to take their work indie so they can get paid better.

There are indie books out there that are just as good as any NY Times Best-Seller.

The fact that a publisher “picked up” a book is no guarantee of quality in either direction. I’ve read indie books that should have been Newberry Award winners or made into the next big movie franchise. Just because something is famous doesn’t mean it’s brilliant. (You’ve seen the Kardashians, right?)

Indie authors are not wannabes or losers.

They are people who wrote a book. That is an amazing endeavor, and it costs a lot in time, energy, sleep deprivation, sanity, and stimulants like chocolate and caffeine. They are people who had a vision and then went out and did it! The only other people who do this kind of thing voluntarily are completing advanced degrees of education, and then it’s called a dissertation.

Indie authors are amazingly accessible.

Since they have to do their own publicity, they are on social media, and they want to engage. Unlike mega-famous authors who can’t be bothered with their fans, indie authors eagerly converse with their readers through FB, Twitter and other venues.

The Awful

Indie authors typically keep their day job.

Writing is time-consuming, but it doesn’t usually pay a living wage unless your book is made into a movie. Considering an indie author a failure because they still work at the office is like expecting everyone to make great revenues from the hobby that gets squeezed in to the hours between work, sleep and other commitments (like family).

Indie authors are usually on a tight budget.

Cover designers, proofreaders, and publicists all cost money. If purse strings are tight, an author may try to do them without “professional” help, but it doesn’t mean the story is not worth reading. Society still judges a book by its cover, but that’s particularly unfair in the indie author world.

Traditional publishers and literary agents often process literally hundreds of queries a week.

If an indie author tried and “failed” with that route, it most likely does not reflect anything on the book itself, but rather their inability to write a gripping query letter that describes their creation in 300 words or less. That, as any author will tell you, is harder than writing the novel. In most cases, the manuscript in its entirety never made it to the hands of any official reader in the publishing world, so the book itself was not rejected, just the info on the dust cover.

There are literally millions of books available for purchase.

Even an Amazon sales ranking in the 5-digits (like #25,623) represents a book that is in the top 1% of sales. Expecting an indie book (or any book) to be in the top 10 or 100 for weeks on end is unrealistic.

Please remember that good reviews and stars are gold to indie authors.

A book with solid positive reviews has more credibility than one without. Leaving a pleasant, or at least constructive review, really helps. Blasting a book without giving specifics helps neither potential readers nor the authors. Reviews also help negate any bias caused by the whole “cover” issue. But getting any kind of reviews mean people have to read the books, and that often means indie authors have to give away many free copies just to get those stamps of approval on their work.

Indie authors write because they love writing and have stories to tell, not because they’re trying to meet a publisher’s deadlines and requirements. They are–as the word implies–independent. And that’s a good thing. So many people have stories to tell, yet they never thought anyone would listen. Indie authors are proving that wrong. They are busting open the doors and paving the way for your masterpiece to shine.

Full Scoop on Parables & Ponderings

posted in: About the Books | 0

P&PcoverGod is talking to us every day through the things around us. From nature to housekeeping, from traffic to sports–there are lessons in these things that He wants us to learn about life. With short, humorous, and very down-to-earth stories, this book simultaneously challenges and uplifts any soul seeking to be a better person and a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

Great for devotionals or daily meditations.

See ★★★★★ reviews!

Oh, just buy it!

Meet the ladybug on the cover:

My pre-school son and I were taking a walk in the park one day, enjoying nature. While passing a spiky shrub laden with (surely) toxic red berries, he suddenly plunged his hand into the midst of all things sharp and pointy—and delicately extracted a ladybug.
I don’t even know how he had seen it, let alone caught it so easily without getting a single scratch. We stood in speechless wonder while it roamed his fingertips, and I realized that not everything about the bush was frightening or dangerous. There was beauty there, too.
Most of us have gone through spiky shrub times in our lives. Times when we feel like poisonous berries and thorns surround us, and we’re afraid to move lest we bleed–physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
But in the middle of all those perils, there are also ladybugs—small and fragile, yet powerful enough to make our very beings smile. We must open our eyes to see them.
I know people who fell into the spiky bush of unemployment. They found ladybugs in volunteer work, or in the lifting of materialism from their hearts.
I know people who fell into the spiky bush of grave illness. They found ladybugs in communion with family, the kindness of caregivers, and in finding a humble heart.
I know people who fell into the spiky bush of grief. They found ladybugs in other relationships strengthened and in compassion gained.
Spiky bushes come in many shapes and sizes, from depression to disappointment, rejection to remorse, frustration to fatigue, hate to hunger, sadness to sin, and every other thing that cuts into us or poisons our happiness.
Likewise, the ladybugs come in various ways: a night without pain, a burst of fresh flavor, a soothing scent in the breeze, a colorful sunset, a wise word from a child, a deep breath, or a lingering melody.
Each may be a small thing—a fragile moment—but it takes the eyes away from the toxic berries and the thorns to see the glory of a need met, whether we knew we needed it or not.

Full Scoop on The Gypsy Pearl 2: Craggy

posted in: About the Books | 0

Craggy coverFor those of us who had never been to Garvey, an attendant from the Ivan shared a short holographic presentation. As the blue shapes flickered before a semi-circle that included me, Alf, Maddy and another boy about our age, I willed moisture into my mouth. Even through the image, I could feel the dryness of the planet. Only a breathable atmosphere made it better than a giant asteroid. Solar panels, dizzying and blinding, covered all of the squat, hexagonal buildings. There were no bodies of water discernible from space, so all drinking water came from small subterranean streams. The temps at the mines would be at or below freezing most of the time. By the time the holograph faded, I wanted to apologize to everyone on the Arxon for ever whining about wanting to go to the Surface. Caren had been beautiful and lush, but this terrified me.

Nerves cracked my voice as I thanked the attendant, himself a native of Craggy. Fortunately, he credited this to a pubescent vocal changes. “Voice drop. Good. Means beard grow soon.”
At least I’m passing for a boy.

Turning back down the corridor, I whispered into Maddy’s shoulder, “Why would anyone civilized want to live in such a barren wasteland?”

“Because no one civilized would want to live there.”

“That makes no sense.”

Alf poked me from behind. “No one civilized means no rules, yeah?”

“Oh, there are rules,” said Maddy. “Only two, though. Don’t get caught, and don’t kill anyone who covers for you.”

Caz, Alf and the alien creature named King continue the quest to “cycle” a Gypsy Pearl inside of Caz’s body. To do so means untold power for her and freedom for the fanep species. But there are several leaders throughout the Granbo System who will do anything to make sure she doesn’t get to her next destination alive.

See ★★★★★ reviews!

Oh, just buy it!

Meet Caz, our heroine in transit:

“This is never going to work, Caz,” droned Alf.
“It’ll work,” I said, tugging the clasps of my coversuit tighter across my chest. “My hair is shorter than yours. I can pass for a boy.”
“Not so much.” He knuckled his blonde stubble sheepishly.
I sighed and stared down at myself. Why did those long anticipated curves have to show up now? I tried to loosen the cloth around the waist. I’d rather appear fat than feminine right now. “It has to work, Alf. They won’t let me in the mining camp on Craggy if they think I’m a girl.” I groaned and stomped my foot, causing Maddy to stir in his sleep on the bench. Back in space for seventeen hours and already the sterile beige walls of the Ferry had compressed my temper to the popping point, as if I’d never been to the Surface of Caren, or escaped Lamond Reformatory, or taken up with gypsies.

Meet Fizer, her shipmate:

The boy who watched the holograph with us turned out to be in the cubicle between me and Alf. According to the pathetic progress of his facial hair, his voice had recently dropped. He grinned and rubbed his short black hair. “I guess I’m going to want to grow this so my ears’ll stay warm. Pretty windy down there. My cousin Minster says they cover up good down there when they’re outside and then take off all their clothes in the mines.” He laughed and drew his first breath. Thrusting his right hand at me, palm up, he announced, “I’m Fizer. This’ll be my first time on Craggy, but I need the money so I’m working the mines. I sure hope all my good marks in geology pay off. Who are you?”
“Caz Heywood,” I said stiffly. I stared at his hand and swallowed.
Fizer grabbed my wrist with his left hand and then placed my hand in his right palm, wiggling it up and down lightly. “It’s an ancient greeting custom. I like to study anthropology, too, but our learning center never had enough archives for me. It’s called ‘shaking hands’. I know we’re not supposed to touch each other in quarantine, but I guess it won’t matter since we’re both coming up from Caren.”
My ears followed a few words behind his rapid clip, and when my brain caught up, I nodded and shook his hand back.
“You got a strong hold. That’s good,” he beamed. “That’s supposed to be a sign of honesty. I guess I can trust you.”

Meet Governor Jipps, no-nonsense leader of the Garvey Colony:

Bracing herself against the control panel, Governor Jipps shoved at the man’s chair with one foot, rolling it backwards into the wall where he crashed and tumbled to the ground with an angry yowl. “Hey, what’s the big—?” His eyes met hers and he stiffened. A second later, he stood saluting.
“Your replacement is here. Report back to the Hub.”
“Wha—?” He looked at me skeptically. “But…Is there a transport?”
“Of course there’s a transport, idiot. Do you think I climbed the whole mountain just to see you?”
“No, Governor. I—”
“Go! Hurry up!” she ordered. “I’ll be down within the hour.”
“Yes, Governor.” He snapped into action, gathering loose items of spoiled food into a compactor and retrieving a crate overflowing with personal items. “I’ll be just a moment.”
“The driver has four crates of food and a new water purifier. Bring those up before you settle in to gossip with him.”
The man’s face flushed brightly, even behind his unkempt beard. Within a minute, his fast-slapping footsteps retreated down the tower stairs.
A moment passed in silence while she looked at me, tight-lipped. I still trembled a little from the tension that she had caused by the abrupt dismissal. She seemed to sneeze into her fist, but it turned into a laugh. Her face brightened with mischief, and she let herself flop backwards loosely into the chair the man had vacated.
“What just happened?” I asked.
“The laziest man on Craggy just exerted more energy in one minute than he has all year!” she giggled.

Meet Pathankot, the leader of a colony that doesn’t exist:

“Why do you use a kangra? Why not a hover craft of some kind?” asked Alf.
Pathankot shook his head. “Hover tech is useless up here. The paths are too narrow and the drop-offs too steep. A single gust could sweep us down into the abyss in no time. We need something heavy and grounded. A kangra works perfectly.” He gazed out at the beast and smiled. “And she gives us milk.”
“Milk? Real milk? I haven’t tasted that in a long time, I guess. Not since I left Caren,” said Fizer, bubbling with excitement. Pathankot noted this and moved to the beast. He retrieved a bowl from the packs tied to the animal. Reaching under the kangra, he fumbled for a moment and then yanked at some dangling appendage. A loud stream of white liquid splashed against the rock. Pathankot held the bowl under the animal and pulled again, this time catching the milk in the bowl. Two more squeezes and he let go, wiping his now damp glove on the kangra’s side.
He walked heavily over to Fizer and handed him the bowl.
“It’s on fire,” I mumbled.
“It’s steaming. It comes out hot. It’s been inside a living being after all, doctor,” he teased.

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