Five years ago this week I independently published The War On Emily Dickinson. 2011 seems a long ways in the past considering all that’s happened in my life since, but sometimes it feels like yesterday for how brief has been this foray into indie publishing. I’ve been wanting to highlight that event, and not only in regards to my authorial existence. By releasing books in this manner, I discovered many personal truths as well as realizing a long-held dream.
The family joke is that I’m not the ‘techie sort’. However, ask any indie writer, and you’ll find our talents go beyond penning good stories. There’s the formatting and uploading of manuscripts, which for me also includes slapping drafts onto various gadgets for editing purposes. Cover design falls into this category, although a few of my covers have been produced by outside sources. These are elements that traditionally authors have left to their publishing houses, but formatting a manuscript, either for an online distributor or one’s own smartphone, isn’t any more difficult than following a recipe. Believe me, if I can do it, anybody can.
While the nuts and bolts are vital parts of the process, it’s the stories that matter most, not only the yarns spun, but the spinning. Indie publishing brokered a new world for me; that I could release my novels spurred on more first drafts, most of which I’ll leave safely in flash drives. Julie K. Rose, who has designed some of my covers, eloquently speaks about the democratization of art; what a blessing to have this outlet, not only for ourselves, but for how others are affected.
But first comes the storyteller; I can’t honestly say what I’d be writing now if not for taking the horse by the reins, yet the words have only increased since The War On Emily Dickinson was published. I had lunch with Julie recently, and we celebrated how empowering were our decisions to go indie, even for all the work involved. Our artistic souls aren’t bound by a marketer’s choice of genre, our methods aren’t scrutinized by anxious agents, our individual paths uncluttered by the fickle winds of finance. To many writing is a business. But it’s not that way for me.
Writing is liberation and creation. It is messages of hope and love and joy amid drama and cliffhangers. It’s reaching out far past where I can see as tales are extended to any and all. Indie publishing has afforded me fantastic freedom, albeit with some rules to follow, also the pleasure of forging new vistas. Five years along this road, I’m nearing the end of a most magnificent tale, releasing it in beta-form as I continue to write, what an adventure that has been. What a gift to share all these stories, as well as realize a long-held dream.
I always wanted to be a writer; imagine how it feels to experience that goal on my own terms. I am grateful beyond words, and there are many folks to thank; Julie Rose for inspiring and assisting, Mark Coker and Smashwords for facilitating, my family for putting up with this not-so-small obsession, readers for completing the circle. Lastly my beloved husband for his endless support and patience, and my Savior for guidance in both the prose and purpose. None of this has been by chance, much faith is involved. But in any endeavor, conviction is essential. Self-expression starts with courage, and bravery is independent publishing’s unspoken middle name.