There are many wonderful independent authors out there. Some of them are great to have as peers and mentors. There are also countless mainstream authors out there too who do the same.
It’s a good thing it is nearing the beginning of a new season. I’ve come to realize I’ve been spending much of my “time off” doing a lot of background work, and a lot of getting to know some very strong and powerful independent authors who have, knowingly or not, made a profound difference in how I have come to view my writing. There is the point of no return as it were when you take a step back and look at what you have done as a writer. Not only that, but you learn there really isn’t a difference between independent and mainstream authors.
Before I go farther, I will say that for the purposes of this post, an independent author is one who has self-published their work, and a mainstream is one who has gone the traditionally publishing route.
With that being said, I want to introduce three ladies who have done wonders for myself as a writer. Heather Smith, Alexandria Szeman and Taylor Fulks. They have all written and published books which are in my mind some second to none reads and one which I would strongly recommend you buy on Amazon, the biggest thing to them is how they interact with their readers and followers. They are professional, aware, and always great to read.
Heather Smith (you can find her on Twitter here) has an impressive book called Baygirl out. She is an author who is published by Orca books, and it’s a book where it starts out with zero hope in the life but shows how strong anyone can really be. What made me pick this book up was not the content of Baygirl, which is wonderfully written, and had my attention on Kit and her life and how she would eventually grow as a young woman, but how Smith herself shared her passion. She is, in many ways, as down to earth and observant as I found Kit. What really made the difference was a conversation I am sure Ms. Smith has since forgotten but one which helped me as a writer. Kit uses a journal to escape, and I was not one who was into journaling, it was to hard and too much for me. What changed was Ms. Smith explaining how much writing meant to her and how much support she received from so many people. As a mainstream author I can see her having stunning success in her writing, she is smart, and relatable, and it shows in her characters. I have no doubt Kit, was as much a piece of her as any other character.
Ms. Smith has a way with words, and with people. When I go to my local bookstore I generally can find copies of her book on the shelves, and I can easily find her on Twitter. She encouraged me to add one extra piece to the process of writing which has yielded so much for me.
Alexandria Szeman, if there was a person who was a mentor for me, I can’t tell you who else. She was a teacher for a writing course I decided to take many years back, and wouldn’t take excuses, guff, complaining or anything else. She pushed this green wanna-be writer and made her better. This was in 2008, when I first took a course. The draft I came up with, was poor and I’m thankful to have her teach me how to write and be critical of myself as a writer. She is on Twitter and you can find her there she has seven books out, and also published as a mainstream author. What makes her writing so good is that there is a lot of research going on behind the scenes.
For example, The Kommandant’s Mistress, is now self-published, but the writing style has not changed. Interestingly enough, I was able to find a old copy at a used bookstore, and it was almost the same as the copy I have on my Kindle. The difference? Under her professional name, she has less reviews, and a lower score, but fewer 1 stars, but with the Kommandant’s Mistress as something which was republished, and still a powerful book she has 65 book reviews on Amazon. It’s a book which is historical fiction, and the past, present and future are often very back and forth, but it is something you can easily follow if you have read her other books. She has helped me in countless ways to improve my writing, and I encourage you to pick up any one of her books.
Taylor Fulks. She is also on Twitter, and you can find her here. She has a massive Twitter following and one which would put me to shame. She is the independent author of My Prison Without Bars. This book is not for the faint of heart, and it’s not one which I could have read without taking some breaks. It’s a road I would wish no one would have to have dealt with, and one which she does in an incredible style and voice. What would have been a hard read was in the end one where there was a bittersweet hope to it. On Amazon, it is no wonder it’s well reviewed and one which has a way of getting you to learn more about an important topic. Readers do take note, it is a work listed under fiction.
I have had plenty of interactions with Ms. Fulks on Twitter, she is willing to share her book, and her knowledge and also shares others works as well. She focuses on sharing hope and experience with other authors. What she did for me was to make sure I looked at my own writing and looked to see if what I had was useful for other to read and learn from. Writing, like life, is a journey which I am proud to be a part of.
The difference between these authors? Although each goes on a different journey with their writing, and each one is still writing, the main difference is that one is a mainstream author and the other two are now, or have always been independent authors. The difference is not as big as it may seem since they all face challenges in their writing and in getting their books promoted to the right readers as the right time. They work towards the same goal, which is to have something tangible for people to read.
They also have made a difference to their readers just by showing that they have created some incredible books, which are well received by the public. In the end, if you are not J.K.Rowling or Stephen King, or any other big name, you are probably going to work hard at promotion, and making sure each reader is given the time and effort to know more about their books, and their writing. The reader is the most important person who will take the time to read your books, and in the end, if you put in the effort for your books, (and it’s not about the money) you will have success either as an independent or a mainstream author.
No matter which way a writer chooses to publish their books, the time and effort it will take to have sales, or see more sales, or promote them is always going to be very high. Where you publish might not even matter in the end.