I just got done sending an email to Scott Wakefield, a friend I discovered on Twitter, who is interested in learning how to become an indie publisher. It’s been my pleasure to answer his questions and get him on the rocky road to self publishing, both paper books and ebooks. It’s been just about a year since I decided to look into independent publishing and my son and I launched Prevail Publications. I’ve made some mistakes, learned a great deal and made a lot of friends via Twitter and Goodreads.
As I think back on how I got started, I remember the indie author who gave me the advice that I needed: G.L. Drummond. I have since lost contact with her, but I sincerely appreciate all the advice and words of encouragement she had for me, especially at the beginning.
That’s one of the things I really like about Twitter. I first read about Twitter about three years ago in Wired magazine. As a communication professor, I feel like I need to be at least vaguely aware of trends in social networks and other areas of modern communication. And so I joined up, and was promptly mystified as to why anyone would want to send messages that were less than 100 characters long. But I pushed ahead and actually started making friends. Now I am at the point where I expect to cross 10,000 followers either today or tomorrow. I still have friends, but it’s easy to lose track of them in the crunch of numbers.
But the indie author community on Twitter is special. With the market the way it is, you would think there would be a lot of cutthroat competition. And every day I see countless advertising for books that individuals are trying to promote. But I also see many authors helping other authors along the way. For me, it’s less about selling books and more about identity and lifestyle. I love talking about writing, and I also enjoy helping other authors out.
So I you are one of the countless would-be authors out there trying to figure this whole indie publishing thing out, don’t hesitate to ask questions. After all, we all started at the same place.
2 thoughts on “Every Good Idea I Ever Had I Stole From Someone Else”
The power of networking! You learned a lot from someone and passed it along.
Speaking of “passing it along.” I, myself, right now have been reaching out to authors of the true crime genre. It caught me one afternoon while having to fly, with my eight month old son, from N.C. to M.A. I just grabbed the first book that was within reach and it happened to be Ann Rules “The Stranger Beside Me.” Great way to spend a flight, I’ll tell you that. In fact, when we were landing and I had to gather our things up, I was irritated because I wanted to keep reading. Oh, and I was a fortunate mother, as were my fellow passengers… My son, even as a babe, loved(s) to fly. My angel! So, anyway, I got hooked in the true crime genre and read everything I could get my hands on for the next two years. And I can hear some of you who may actually still be reading this Nonetheless, I must share this:
By the time I reached the seventh grade, it was discovered that I had some reading problems and had to be placed in remedial reading, which was actually a blessing because I loved to read, but found it so cumbersome that I avoided it “like the plague” until I spent two years in those classes. By the time I went onto high school, I was a speed reader and fell utter in love with literature. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what REAL literature was (i.e. Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, 18th century satirists; sheer heaven!) Anyway, I was devouring true crime books while I was able to stay home with my son, potty training, buying him books with tapes, teaching him perfecting diction, as I never wanted him to have a problem with the written word. But I digress…
My point is this, while I was readying my son for kindergarden, what I didn’t realize is that (as a high school drop out) but an Army Veteran with a G.E.D. I was readying myself for college via all those true crime books I had read. If you’ve ever read Norman Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song” it is no small feat! Of course, then I had to read “The Naked and the Dead.” But yet, I digress again…
What was happening through this love affair with the true crime genre, I was honing my reading skills once again and, ultimately, “The Stranger Beside Me” became the catalyst to my becoming brave enough to try my “head” at college.
Initially, I studied and acquired my associates in Human Services. Deep down inside though, I knew where my heart and mind wanted to go and that was through all things literature and writing. Since the age of fourteen, even though I couldn’t spell worth a d*mn, I kept a journal everyday.
By the time my son was in the sixth grade, I had a B.S. in Literature with a Philosophy minor. The plan was to go onto law school, but Lord & life had other plans. A computer reached out and grabbed me. Now, I could learn this a whole new language. At the same time, the dot com industry was in full swing and Monster.com needed an editor. Well, I couldn’t have prayed for a better fit. That saying came “if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Well, that was me with Monster! We had a love affair for six years, until the dot com fallout, when (then owner and something of a hero to me; from hearing the stories of how he started out with five employees in a trailer, to eventually having the contract for a blimp that flew over the Superbowl only short years later.) The place was magical. But he wasn’t Willie Wonka. He promised this breakfast bar he had installed for all of us would go before he would lay anyone off, two weeks later, seventy of us were handed pink slips.
I’d say, “make a long story short” but far too late for that now. We’re into novella territory here. Monster had rehired me, but my father passed away on me and I couldn’t stay there in Massachusetts with him gone, for everywhere I looked, I expected to see him somewhere, anywhere, I would constantly be reminded of how much my heart broke when he left, so I packed up my little Ford Escort, his widow, their little dog and to Phoenix Arizona we drove.
That is where I write from now, with a writing project weighing so heavy on me that it’s just about all I can think about; with only one exception (ironically enough) I am building myself a writing den in between researching and reaching out to the authors I want to include in this idea I have for my first book. I am a published writer, but of poems, prose and a few short stories. Certainly nothing that could even afford me a lamp for my writers den!
So, what was my point? Oh yes, networking, writers helping writers, where you write and how things fall into place even when you may be seeing your life going nowhere at all. From one book, has now become my turn to give (perhaps) a young girl with a baby, about to bored a plane, something to read on her way home from a visit with her mother. And so on and so on!
I will require a great deal of help, luck and a lot of prayer for my project to come to life, but I have faith that the day I picked up Queen Ann Rule’s book, that set in motion my dream of writing coming to life. All those steps I took were upon a very long stairway that is going to lead me out of the dark, to high atop a mountain in the valley of the sun. The writers who extend their hand & pens to me, in order for me to accomplish to book I must write, will be a most blessed gift (Lord willing.)
So, published writers all around the world. Do not be stingy or paranoid. We writers are a rare breed and we should help one another. You needn’t give up the store, but one craftsman/craftwoman to another, we’ll fill the world with our up and coming youth great books to read, and encouragement to seek out education instead of video games or drugs etc…
I wish everyone a fantastic new year! I turn fifty on this, the year of our Lord Two Thousand & Thirteen. I can’t wait to see my book in the window of some bookshop when I go back home in a few years; perhaps on Cape Cod (my most beloved place.) There it will be, with my name on it and inside, credit to all those who helped me get it from my pen to that decorative window in Sandwich or Woods Hole.
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