When It’s Embarrassing to be Indie

I know most of you are guessing the answer is: When people ask who your publisher is.

Nope. Although, I always think that’s funny because how many people can name the publisher of the last ten books they’ve read? Right.

No. Lately I’ve been embarrassed to be an Indie because of all the anger and arguing.

I really don’t care who has what opinion about each topic. Personally, I like to look at things from every angle and make my own decision. Do I need an editor? (Yes) Will I have someone do my covers? (Yes…and your welcome (I have no talent)) Do I have an agent? (Yes) Will I only write full length novels? (No) Will I only write in one genre to build a niche audience? (No) Do I think self-publishing is the only/fastest/best way to be successful? (No) etc.

There are tons of questions that get bounced around the indie world. I work hard by researching, asking people I trust, using my own business consulting background, and thinking long-term to make each decision… FOR ME.

Maybe I should bold those last two words too.

The amazing thing I’m seeing in the Indie world right now is how right everyone wants –needs– to be. Or needs their Celebrity Indie Author of Choice to be.

I’m betting this is because there’s so much going-it-alone in the business (if you haven’t found a safe haven of other writers), but this isn’t really what embarrasses me either.

It’s how people handle it. On twitter, review comments, forums, loops, articles, comments….anywhere you can have a voice. Indies seem to be responding with loud, aggressive, trash-talking, emotional attacks. No. Not all indies. There’s a ton of writers handling difficult conversations with grace (or not getting involved) but just like any thing, the loudest, most embarrassing replies always get retweeted (or the equivalent) until they’re seen as the norm.

Just ask anyone of any faith in this country how quickly one or two crazies who claim their faith as their own has the entire country thinking they’re all nuts… That, my friends, is how I’ve been feeling about being Indie of late.

Here’s one place where I don’t think there’s a lot of give: If you wanted to be treated like a professional, you must act like a professional.

That goes beyond how you produce your books and pay your taxes. That goes right on through to how you behave in public, represent your brand, and treat others.

So, to everyone who is judging Indies as unprofessional based on some of the brouhahas you might have seen lately… look deeper. There’s some talented people who know the best way to “win” is to not engage and go work on their next book.

Peas and carrots, out.



  1. Well said, especially the bit about acting professionally and choosing not to engage in the “are-we-still-in-middle-school” blather.

  2. I’ve read some wonderful indie or self-pubbed books (have waded though some garbage,too, but that’s also true of trad published books).

    I have a friend who’s going the self-pubbed route, and I am watching his journey with somewhat amused interest. He hasn’t researched the markets or info on how to get his book “out there,” he doesn’t know anything about Amazon author pages, GoodReads, or book review sites. He has an author website that’s fairly inert, no blog, he’s not on Twitter.

    He hasn’t asked me for ANY advice although he knows I have been intensely researching the writing world for lo these many moons now, (and I am not offering further unsolicited advice after I dropped a few hints that were not well-received). Instead, he has created a fake publishing company and website for it and invited other self-pubbed authors who have nice-looking book covers to list their books, and has sent out to his email list a PRESS RELEASE from said “publisher” (no graphics or cover) about said upcoming book.

    Honestly, I hope he does well, but to your point about him being a professional and knowing how to represent his brand? Seems like he’s gong out of his way to give the opposite impression, though I guess I must give him credit for not making nasty comments on Twitter and in forums.

    • Beveryly – I know what you mean about advice. There’s things that seem like no brainers to all of us…and they don’t always line up with other people’s no brainers. I have a very clear picture of how I want to do this going forward… and I’ve learned things that have definitely not worked for me. I’ve had my share of “You can lead a horse to water” moments.

      The thing is, I 100% agree with you. That’s when you say, Okay. Well, I’m here if you’re curious what I’ve seen from this stool at the end of the bar. And then… let it go… 😉

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