With the news that Amazon USA was now making its ebooks available to buy in India in Indian rupees, the twitter-verse exploded with excitement. Many an Indie author looked forward with anticipation hoping for a rush of readers from our homeland buying our novel. And Indian Indie authors like myself smiled to ourselves secretly hoping that our Indian origins gave us the edge in the crowded market. Given that every Indian I know has a best-seller they have been secretly hoping to publish, I would not be surprised if many in the motherland are rushing to throw their babies out with the bath water ie. getting them onto the kindle platform.
Sure enough there was the expected SOS call from a friend in Bombay, asking for advice on how to navigate the minefield of Indie publishing. I was aware that said friend, had spent years polishing her manuscript, collecting rejection slips and looking out for that long awaited email from a publisher with an offer to publish it. I cut to the chase and asked “So are you going to self-pub?”
“I don’t know” she said, sounding genuinely confused, “how do you know when to self-publish? And what happens if I were to do so only to have an agent interested in my work?”
To go Indie or not, that is the question.
A hotly debated issue which has kept many a writer—with a burning need to be read—up many nights. My take: If Indie movies are accepted, why not Indie books? Rob Kroese, a fellow bestselling Indie author has a great analogy: he likens the league of published authors to an elite night club, with gatekeepers, who decide who gets in and who does not. It struck a chord with me, and I suspect many of the other ‘waiting to be discovered’ wannabes would appreciate the sentiment in this. So taking a cue from Rob, I have put together a quiz, to help you determine whether you should go Indie or not? Please answer “yes” or “no” to each of the following questions.
1. Are you waiting to be discovered or somewhere along the way have you discovered yourself?
2. Do you write to be read?
3. Is your novel unclassifiable? It spans so many genres that you know you will have lost traditional agents within the first line of the pitch, for your writing and you cannot be pigeon-holed. My book The Destiny of Shaitan is YA epic fantasy inspired by Indian mythology, for example.
4. Are you an entrepreneur, at heart? Do you normally jump in and think of the consequences later. Are you pragmatic about failure—enough to pick yourself up and move on swiftly to the next?
5. Do you like to experiment, and cannot resist a challenge? Do you thrive under pressure, and when the odds are stacked against you?
6. Are you impatient, probably a control freak? In fact, you want to control your own destiny, so keep checking in with the stars to find out what’s going to happen in your life, so you can steer it along the way you want.
7. Are you a technophile? Do you secretly indulge your inner geek? On a practical level are you at least on Facebook and twitter?
8. Are you social and love debating with tweet-friends around the world? Really, you adore your virtual home and obsess over getting your gravatar just right!
9. Do you have the courage of conviction, the doggedness of determination? Is the power of persistence strong within you? 1
0. Perhaps, like me you had a near death experience, and realized that life is too short. You just have to get your voice out there for tomorrow you may be too late.
If you said yes to at least eight of the above ten, then I believe the force is strong in you. You may be among the fortunate few able to take a punt on yourself. But wait! Before you press that enter button and send the words skimming out over the electronic waves, pause. Have you been true to yourself in your text—really? If you are still standing upright, then there is more to tell. Go back, revisit, revise, rewrite, until hand on heart, you can say you have stripped yourself bare. When you have died a few deaths getting the novel to that place where exhaustion weeps in the arms of elation, then, you know you have nothing more to say. Now you have one last thing to do. Make sure your baby is perfect—every infinitesimal millimetre brushed to its Sunday best—for once it is out there you will be reborn, as your Author Avatar. People will actually read you. Many will love your prose; some will hate it and tell you so. Can you deal with that too? If the answer is still yes, then what are you waiting for?
I’d love to know if this has helped you make up your mind. Do write in with questions or comments, I’d be more than happy to share my experiences in Indie publishing with you.
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