When I was a Freshman in high school I used to sit in the front row of my English literature class, notebook open, pen in hand feverishly writing. My teacher thought I was a copious note taker. I wasn’t. Instead I would sit in my classes filling notebook after notebook with fiction stories in which my friends played the main characters in a time gone by.
This love for writing had me restart the student newspaper during my junior year and then apply to Journalism schools for college. In college my writing became more structured – less creative. Journalism, after all, is full of rules – strict guidelines that must be followed. It wasn’t until I took my first job out of college that I learned a good journalist is someone who can creatively work within the established structure.
Still, through all my formal writing, I continued to pen short stories and mini novels. My only readers were my sisters and a couple friends. They often encouraged me to get my works published. But that seemed like a daunting task that I wasn’t ready for.
A couple years ago I decided to give it a shake. I spent most of the summer writing a young adult novel and then spent the next two years editing three different drafts. Then began to arduous task of finding a literary agent. I just needed one to give the book a chance. But after countless email queries, a couple partial drafts sent, the response was the same… good writing, but not interested. I buried the book, but not the desire to be published.
Then a few months ago I discovered a new world of writing. Independent authors around the world have found success by publishing eBooks on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Nobel. The process is surprisingly simple and it’s free. You upload your book, create a cover design, set the sale price and then publish. Ta-da!
I read articles about Amanda Hocking, the most famous indie author, who according to some reports has made at least a million dollars through her eBooks. She writes paranormal books about vampires and her popularity is so established about young readers that every new title is eaten up as soon as she hits the publish button.
Her success, has given thousands of other author hopefuls the drive to achieve their authorship dreams without going the traditional route. And it is surprisingly lucrative for some.
But it is not a get-rich quick scheme. I published my young adult book, Aurora Undefined, about a month ago. It’s been a slow uphill battle since the day I clicked publish – but an exciting one. Just like everything else independent, self-published authors need to do it all. They are their own editor, designer and marketing team. It takes a lot of time to get people to pay attention to the title and give it a chance. It requires new email accounts, Twitter handle and countless query emails.
With this new-found ability, I’ve also fallen into reading more indie authors. Their books usually sell for significantly less than traditionally published books. And one thing I’ve found interesting in all of this is that many of the self-published young adult works are astonishingly well written and devoid of a lot of the sexual exploits that are rampant in published works today. This fact alone, is encouraging.
As someone who is all about new technology and social media – I think this new publishing format is the wave of the future. Have a book your are sitting on? Why not try and e-publish it? What’s the worst that can happen? You only sell a dozen copies and you are $25 richer than you were when it sat as a nearly-forgotten file on your computer.