In the article, I found some of the pretty mainstream things the author was talking about. You need to have a Facebook account--check. You need to have a Twitter account--check. You have to be present--yep!
It's funny to think--that article was written three years ago, and yet these same things are still being rediscovered by each indie author that makes the leap into the vast and public world that is indie publishing.
It's funny. I always said I wanted to be a writer--not a writer and. A writer and a nurse. A writer and a lawyer. A writer and...well, anything. I didn't feel I could do both, and no job deserves to be done in half-measure, including my writing. And yet, being an indie author is about being so much more. You are a producer, a marketer, a packager...
There are so many posts about trying to find that fine line, the edge that keeps you from exhausting yourself. I don't know where that line is. It seems to be all trial and error, and then error again, because I like to go overboard and make sure my mistakes are mistakes two or three times.
I over try.
I try to do too much--way more than I can actually do. I want to give everyone the personal touch. To know, yes, I am a real person. You're not just a sale, you're my reader. And the people I've met along the way? They take my breath away. They are positive and encouraging and wonderful. They invest their time into books and authors--and some of those positively crazy people even invested their time into me. Me. I know, I'm astonished, too. They believe in me. Like really, for real. I've checked to make sure, and yep, they do. That blows my mind.
There are so many things you have to do to be a successful indie author. There is so much that is going to be put on your shoulders, and some people will never know it.
To the world at large, little to nothing will probably be expected of you. They probably think you sit back and write Hallmark movie style. Perhaps you spend some time editing. And your rewrites are done in the writer's shed behind your house, where flowers blossom into a beautiful garden you never see anyone tending, and you're quietly sipping a glass of red wine as you re-tool your story.
And to the indie world, if you're not working Facebook, Twitter, a blog, making up swag, contacting blogs, hosting events--you practically don't exist. They can only see what you do. If you don't do anything, then how can they see you? On the plus side, the indie world expects you to look like a plane crash victim. Clothes all askew, hair dried stiff from salt water, wandering around the mosquito ridden island known as your manuscript, trying to figure out where the fuck you're at. You don't know what day or time it is. Occasionally you catch a glimpse of someone else wandering around an island further out so you know you're not entirely alone--and yet, no one can guide you through your manuscript. And, even though you're clueless, you still have to tweet and post and be the real you. But, you know, don't bore everyone. Be the entertaining dinner party you, as you're stumbling around in the sand trying to figure things out. Tweets like, "Just stepped on a seashell. Ouch. Here's a pic. #foothurts" are expected. Occasionally a crit partner comments with some small piece of common sense that you should probably know yourself, but are too disoriented to really take in. Like, why don't you drink one of those coconuts while you're looking for water? You stare at this thought in wonder and then, you sort of want to ask them how you're supposed to get the coconut down, but you know, that's your writers journey. :) It's the climb, as they say. :)
So what is the helpful piece of advice I can give you? Where are the jewels of wisdom from my time as an indie author? Is it to take off for about an hour so you can silence all of the noise in your head and finally hear your characters think? Duh. Is it to write twenty minutes a day? I like it. Is it to scramble under your bed and latch onto the bedpost until they pull you out screaming by your ankles? That's my hiding spot, choose your own. :)
No, my advice is--you're going to be exhausted. You're going to do too much and overtax yourself. You're going to wonder at times how you even breathe. You're going to freak out in minorly public forums about not having enough time. You're going to miss some things. Your house is going to be a wreck. Your best laid plans are going to go to hell. You are going to question yourself on a daily basis, sometimes three or four times a day. You're going to feel happy and then sad and happy and then exhausted and then sad. You are going to be slightly addicted to social media. You will often times feel like you're doing nothing as you do twelve things. You are going to lose complete focus.
My advice is--enjoy every single minute of it. You are now a writer. And this beautiful chaos threatening your sanity--which was already on the ledge from being a writer on the first place--is your saving grace. You are part of this incredible community. You are going to meet the most wonderful people. You are going to have so much joy.
Is it too much? Yes. Can you possibly handle this? No. Are you ready for this? Hell, no.
Do it anyway. It is incredibly worth it.
Have a wonderful day, and keep on writing. Keep on reading. Keep on being completely and utterly overwhelmed. :)