Passion in Publishing: Why I’m #PoweredByIndie

Thankfully, modern self-publishing doesn’t require a printing press in my  basement.

“You’re a published author?” My new acquaintance’s eyes widen in surprise. “Where can I find your books?”

“On Amazon,” I explain. “I publish independently.” I watch my companion’s expression for the unmistakable flickers of confusion, disappointment, or even contempt. But only a smile appears.

“That’s so cool! What’s it called?”

I’ve had this conversation a dozen times, and the reactions are encouraging. The misconception that self-publishing is the last resort of authors rejected by mainstream publishers has finally begun to fade. As global platforms like Amazon and success stories like Andy Weir—what, you didn’t know The Martian started out as an online story?—introduce the world to indie talent, many first-time authors are choosing to take control of their own publishing destinies.

I chose the rebel road for several reasons, but I first considered being #PoweredByIndie because I wanted the freedom to…

Determine my own publishing schedule.

As I finalized the manuscript of my debut novel Blue Karma in early 2015, the news seemed replete with reports of droughts, water crises, and communities at risk from rising seas. If I wait too long to publish this piece, I thought, it will become non-fiction. The time-sensitive nature of my subject matter made independence an attractive option. It takes at least a year to release titles through a traditional label, even if a publisher accepts the submission quickly (no guarantee of that). Self-publishing processes are, by contrast, refreshingly straightforward: new books I upload to Amazon are available for purchase the following day. Setting my own deadlines also lets me adapt as necessary to keep my life balanced and allows me to…

Pursue another career simultaneously.

Of course I fantasize about hitting it big with a bestseller and retiring to a life of royalties. What writer doesn’t? But my bills aren’t going to wait until that happens. Indie authorship gives me the flexibility to pursue my “day job” as a career. A steady outside income means I don’t pressure myself to live off my writing. (And on those inevitable days when I’m dissatisfied with writing, it’s nice to feel successful at something else, rather than investing all my self-worth in a single pursuit.) With my financial needs addressed, I don’t need to compromise my creativity just to make a sale. I can write with an easy mind and enjoy…

Complete creative control.

Back in college, I took serious steps toward a career in screenwriting until one of my favorite professors mentioned how little control screenwriters have over their work. “The final movie is often nothing like what they originally wrote,” he told me. A little research validated his remark and put me off Hollywood, because the idea of someone meddling with my lovingly crafted fictions made me shudder. It still does. For control freak writers like me, indie authorship is a great choice. I craft my story exactly the way I want it, even (perhaps especially) when it defies convention. No editors mandate changes to my work, and no agents attempt to cram me or my story into a marketing niche. Instead, I get to…

Create my own brand.

My first book was climate fiction. My current novella series is more classic sci-fi. I’m already researching my next project, a historical novel set in the 10th century. Would I get this kind of flexibility signed to a major publishing company? Maybe. But it seems like many authors get pigeonholed into whatever genre their publisher believes will sell. Indies don’t wear these shackles. We can pioneer unique specialties or explore a breadth of topics, wherever our muses lead. Developing our own platforms through social media and the web lets us craft our authorial images as well. I can interact with fellow book-lovers however I please, lending my voice to…

The writer revolution.

E-books have transformed the way we buy, sell, and consume books. Much as I adore ink and paper, I love how the new format has democritized the publishing industry. “Big Five” publishers no longer act as gatekeepers: today, anyone can deliver their story to readers. Indie authors are the vanguard, venturing into uncharted territory to shape the future of popular literature. It’s exciting to be a part of the movement. Every project is a new adventure. Especially since most indies also experience the entire…

Literary life-cycle.

The term “independent author” doesn’t capture the full spectrum of what we do. In addition to writing books, we assume tasks normally delegated among an entire team: agent, editor, marketing strategist, cover designer. Each of those roles brings individual challenges, and synthesizing them all takes incredible grit. The holistic approach isn’t easy, but it can be deeply satisfying. I’m fully engaged in each book I write, from the first gleam of a story idea to the ongoing sales of the final product (part II of the Syzygy series, Opposition Effect, comes out on Tuesday)! Self-publishing enabled me to become a more creative and productive writer than ever before. So when people ask about my books, I tell them I’m proud to be #PoweredByIndie.

During the month of October, is celebrating indie authors and their writing with the #PoweredByIndie program. Visit the homepage to discover your new favorite writer!


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