Sunday, February 24, 2013

Being an indie author is a tough job...

Ever since I decided to become an Indie author, I've started living a double life, just like Superman, Batman and Spiderman - only, without the superpowers. And I have to say, it can get a little exhausting and overwhelming at times. I'm a normal person working full-time during the day, and then at night and over the weekend I shed the mask, and turn into Superindie, the writer. Well, I don't know how Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne managed - I have to say having a double life really is a tough job!

When I decided to self-publish, I guess I didn't think of all the aspects that would go with it. I didn't want to wait for one agent among millions to like my manuscript and give me a chance; I had tried the traditional route but it didn't work, and I was running out of time - I wanted people to read my story and get feedback, because I needed to know if all the sweat, the tears and the weekend cooped up in my room, typing franctically on my computer had been worth it. Yes, I guess I could've simply joined a critique group or found beta readers, but I just couldn't wait any longer. I'd been working so hard on my novel, and I wanted the world to meet my baby; even if I found an agent, he/she would have to find a publisher, get a contract, organize everything and it would take at least another year.
Let me tell you straight out that patience is definitely NOT a virtue I possess. I'm more like what Freddie Mercury sang: "I want it all, and I want it now" - so... no, I couldn't wait for a traditional publishing contract.

But I hadn't really thought of all the other aspects of self-publishing that I would have to take care of myself. What was so hard about it? I'll get my book edited by a professional, I'll upload it, choose a cover (the fun part) and bam! It's online and on Amazon. How easy is that?
I know I've always said I'm a dreamer, and I guess that writers are that at the end of the day (or is it just me?) but I thought I wouldn't have to do much more than shout out "My book is available, world; go grab a copy!" and people would buy it and the next thing I knew, I could quit my day job (which I hate, just so you know) and be a full-time writer and reader. Wow, wouldn't that be awesome?

Well, sorry to disappoint you, Roberta, but this ain't gonna happen any time soon! Okay, that was my own Jiminy Cricket taking hold of my keyboard - sorry about that.

Anyway, in spite of all the efforts being an indie author requires, there are  good things about it. The first one is that I've learnt a lot about blogging, book tours, giveaways and stuff. A whole new world has opened its doors to me and I'm loving it - it's just what I love doing!
The downside though is that I've really had to work hard to get people to know that my book exists, to create a buzz around it and get people to read it. I'm just not good at marketing, and I definitely don't like boasting (I guess an author should do that, too to convince people that the novel is really good and they should give it a try - but I'm just too shy to do that!)

Being an indie author also helped me discover a wonderful world - the Indie World, which is made of struggling writers who, just like me, are keen to get their works out there, but are also happy to help one another, just because they know how much work is involved in writing a good novel and getting it published.
I've met great writers who, in my opinion, should have been asked to sign a contract by a publishing house, because their novels were really good. I've met people who helped me promote my book, even though they'd never heard my name before, and who didn't ask for anything in return. I've been glad to help other authors with my Indie Author Interview Corner, and I've met lovely people in the process of marketing my book.
Would have I met them, had I gone down the traditional publishing route? No, probably not. Maybe I would've made more money out of my book, I would have become a famous writer (doubt it! - aww, shut up Jim and let me dream for once!), but I would've probably missed all the good parts, like the happiness of belonging to a community, of not feeling like a black sheep in a flock of milky white ones (like I always do, being the only writer in my family), while sharing the same fears, doubts, expectations and dreams of hundreds of people out there, whom I would never have met otherwise.

So even if I'll still have to go to my boring office on Monday, and I'll have to use every spare moment in the week to write and promote, with hindsight I can say I'm proud to be part of the Indie World, with or without superpowers.

Are you an indie author, too? Please do leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book review: Where she belongs - by Cindy Procter-King

I always thought I would never in my life buy an e-book reader and surrender to e-books. I've always loved the feel of paper, its smell, the joy of holding a book in my hands and staring at its beautiful cover. But in the end I bought a Kindle, although I still buy my favourite books in the paperback version.

Anyway, since surrendering to the power of the Kindle, I've discovered so many new authors that I would probably never have discovered otherwise, either because they're not available in my country or because being authors I'd never heard of, I probably wouldn't have bought a paperback version of their books (I've had a few bad experiences since discovering Amazon, and now I have books sitting in my bookcase, half finished because I didn't like them). But I will have to thank my Kindle for helping me discover this book, which I downloaded totally by chance.

It seems lately bad guys are quite trendy as the main male characters in a book. Well, for someone like me growing up watching Disney movies and waiting for gorgeous Prince Charming to come trotting on his white horse and take me to his castle, this has been a little hard to accept. Sexy as they may be, all these tattooed rough guys who get a kick out of breaking women's hearts just for the sake of it made me feel quite uneasy to say the least, and made me think that maybe Disney got it all wrong; or perhaps Prince Charming got extinct some time during Ice Age and nobody bothered to inform us about it.

So I'd been convinced by these books that bad boys had become the rule now - it's either them or nothing, and I'd lost all hope of finding a male character who was sweet, mature, didn't do drugs, and didn't enjoy stomping on women's hearts - a family guy with roots and principles had gone out of fashion, simple as that. Then here comes Adam Wright, and I'm swept off my feet. He's everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - a hopeless romantic like me dreams of in a man: He's gorgeous, sweet, romantic and mature; the family guy every woman could wish to be married to - well, at least I do. And so my faith in Prince Charming was restored after the first chapter, and the world didn't seem so gloomy anymore.

It's been a while since I found myself so engrossed in a book that I kept thinking about it (and him!) days and weeks after I've read it, and I have to admit I'd forgotten how good it feels. At unexpected moments of the day, a scene from the book would come back to my mind, and I'd find myself wanting to read it all over again. Weird, but good. Especially since it's coming from an author I didn't know - it's easy to fall in love with a book from your favourite author, because you know what you can expect, but it's not so easy with a new author you've never read anything by. And I was definitely pleasantly surprised by this author.

What made me love this book so much? Apart from Adam, I mean? It's the wonderful ability of the author to describe places, people, feelings in such a realistic and perfect way that I felt as if I'd somehow been sucked inside the book and was living every single moment Jess and Adam were living.

Where she belongs is a beautiful, romantic and emotional love story, but it's also about the inner struggle of the main female character, Jessie, who finds herself torn between wanting to belong in the place she grew up in, and needing to be away from it and live her own successful life in Toronto.

When her stepfather dies of a sudden heart-attack, Jess takes some days off her crazy work schedule as a shoe buyer in Toronto, to spend some time with her grieving mother. As she goes back to her childhood home, and meets people from her past, memories start crawling back and she suddenly finds herself wondering whether her life is really that happy. She's successful, has a good job and a thriving career, but after spending time in Destiny Falls with her mother, and getting closer to Adam Wright, her teenage crush, she starts reconsidering her priorities, although it's not as easy as it seems.

Where she belongs is an absolute must-read if you belong to the old-fashioned category of women (like me) who love a Disney Happily-Ever-After kind of story, with a "Disneyish" Prince Charming and a strong, independent heroine. If you like a good romance book, go grab a copy. You'll love it.

Have you read “Where she belongs” already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.