Self-Publishing

Debunking Indie Author Stigmas

If you’re an indie author, you’re most likely used to receiving an adverse reaction from some people when they find out you self-publish your books. Though they might not be rude enough to outright say it, a judging squint appears on their face. You’ll find out later that they opted to borrow your book from a mutual friend instead of risking their money on your little “DIY project”.

Been there. Suffered through that.

Granted, there are plenty of self-published authors who slap together a manuscript and cover, throwing it out into the world way before it’s ready. However, the vast majority of indie authors I’ve read have bottled their blood, sweat, and tears into creating their final product, and they deserve more respect for their efforts. In this post, I’ll debunk common stigmas indie authors face.

DebunkingIndieAuthorStigmas

“So, why aren’t you traditionally published?”

This is one of the top questions indie authors are asked. Though no one has ever asked me this (and I’m glad, because I find it kind of rude), to some people, you’re not considered a “real” author unless your books have a publishing company’s emblem on the spine and are sitting among best sellers at Barnes and Noble.

For a while, I actually believed this stupidity as well. Even after I published my first two books , I have felt like people are judging me when I tell them I opted to self-publish. Because of the stigma against self-publishing, there have been times when I felt like no one besides me is ever going to love these books because they are not validated by a publishing company.

It wasn’t until recently that I tried to teach myself to see indie publishing differently. In both indie and traditional publishing, amazing and amaetuer products are produced.

Stigma: Proofreading Mistakes

A few years ago, one of my favorite traditionally published authors released a new book. I received a first-edition hardback copy of the novel for Christmas. Or, what I’m guessing is a first-edition, because of the menagerie of spelling and grammar mistakes it featured. To be honest, I was appalled.

This is the kind of publishing preparation slip-up that indie authors get bad reputations for. But, truthfully, it has the same chance of happening in the world of traditional publishing. The only reason those authors careers aren’t tainted by the proofreading mistakes are because they are already established as a quality author. The overwhelming majority of us indies are sill trying to establish our careers.

Stigma: Horrendous Writing and Storytelling Skills

Let me lay down a glaring truth that is oftentimes ignored: just because a book is traditionally published, it does not mean that the writing is better than an indie book. That’s like saying you can only be considered intelligent if you have college degree. Think about it; aren’t there dozens of people throughout history who have made world-changing breakthroughs in a variety of subjects without the validation of a degree? The same concept just as easily applies to indie authors.

If you’re a voracious reader, I guarantee you’ve come across a traditionally published book that featured horrendous writing and storytelling. Maybe even enough to convince you to mark it as a 1-star read. Over the past year, the majority of books I’ve read have been indie published. Yes, there were some that I didn’t quite care for, but the vast majority of them were amazing stories that I would choose to read again. You see, the method of publishing books has absolutely nothing to do with the heart of the story.

Stigma: Homemade Means Horrible Quality

Similarly to the way people often judge homemade clothing items to not be as good of quality as that of an expensive name brand, indie authors’ books are judged for the same reason. Because we write and edit books ourselves, it can’t possibly be as good as Stephen King’s. Because we make the covers ourselves, it can’t be as eye-catching as Sarah Dessen’s. Because no traditional publishing house is paying to put it on shelves, it must be total garbage.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

If an editing team doesn’t put their all into making a debut traditionally published book pristine, it has the ability to flop. If a marketing team for a traditionally published book makes a huge PR mistake, it could ruin the book’s launch. If there is a defect in the cover design on a traditionally published book, it has the ability to screw up the process of mailing out pre-orders.

Literally all of the same release obstacles that traditional publishing houses face are experienced by self-published authors. The only difference is we’re not a team of industry professionals. We’re authors, cover designers, marketers, and editors all wrapped up in the same person.

I just wish more people could see it this way.


What social challenges have you had to face as an indie author? Let me know in the comments!

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Advertisements
Self-Publishing

When It Feels Like No One Supports Your Writing

Writing and self-publishing are two of the most mentally and emotionally demanding tasks one can pursue, but are we authors the only ones who truly understand that? After laboring months upon months over your WIP to make it grammatically pristine and making sure it has a gorgeous cover to match, do you overhear snide remarks about your book being priced too high? Are you sick of scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed and watching people make lucrative sales from jewelry, smelly-goods, and makeup while the same buyers pay no mind to the books you’re marketing? Do you agonizingly refresh your KDP sales page, praying one sweet soul will buy the novel you’ve labored over for years?

If so, this post is for you, my friend. You are not alone.

WhenItFeelsLikeNoOneSupportsYourWriting

Hype, But No Follow Through

When we indie authors finish our WIPs, we often celebrate on social media by posting that we *finally* finished the book we’ve worked on for months or years. And usually, that post receives a lot of hoopla. People we barely know will comment “so excited for you! I can’t wait to read it!” or “wow, I love your writing! I’ll buy it the day it comes out!”

And we as authors get stoked. We begin to think, If these 100 people who liked this post all buy my book when it releases, that’ll be the headstart I need to get my author career going! We’ve got our head in the clouds… until release week comes. We watch our sales page like a hawk, each tap of the refresh key killing our writer’s heart more and more.

Then the sweet hour comes when it finally loads the release day sales… and we’ve sold three copies. The entire week. And we know for a fact that only obligatory buyers (close friends and family) were the amazing souls who bought copies to not make us feel like complete losers.

So, what about all the others who were rooting for us all those months ago? What happened to those acquaintances who ask us when the next books will come out every time they see us? I mean, it’s not like we didn’t post about the release, share our blog tour links, and post quote graphics from the book to let them know, “HEY! IT’S FINALLY AVAILABLE!”

But, unlike that “my book is finally written!” post all those months ago, these posts are met with radio static. No one but our parents like these posts. But why?

The Reason

Is it because we suck at marketing? Is our book blurb that bad that no one wants to read it? We rack our brains day in and day out for a reason as we watch KDP sales remain stagnant at zero. It’s depressing. It makes us question whether to continue publishing books. It makes us question whether to continue writing at all. Why write if no one reads it?

It’s easy to blame ourselves for our unpopularity as an author. We didn’t try hard enough. We could’ve bought ads. We could’ve hired a professional blog tour coordinator. We could have… we could have… the possibilities are endless. But no matter how much money we spend on preparing for a book release, we can’t guarantee that any customers will come from it. No matter how much we market, we can’t guarantee that people we know in real life are going to act on their former promises. Why?

What I’ve discovered is that people like a show. People react to highs, and people react to lows. That middle area where you’re trying to climb back up to a high? They’ll clap as you place that first foot on the rock wall and then walk away when the real journey begins. And if you fall off the side of the cliff? Well, they’ll all run back, oohing and aahing as if they’ve been your biggest supporters the whole time, when they’ve in fact never supported you with anything but their mouths.

It’s the harsh truth. I’ve watched it play out time and time again. Sometimes, even for those who sell the jewelry, smelly-goods, and makeup I mentioned before.

What Should We Do?

As cynical as it sounds, there’s really nothing we can do. If you want to work harder to get your book noticed, then by all means, work harder. If all this effort for nought is making you miserable, then I don’t blame you for contemplating taking all your books down for good and mourning that fizzled out dream of being an author. I’ve considered it before.

But the possibility of holding physical copies of my future books keeps me going. I want a huge shelf in my house someday holding all the books I’ve written. I want to pass on a legacy to my future grandkids. Letting fickle people’s empty promises to support my books drive me into a depression great enough to throw my dreams away won’t show future generations that I was a dreamer. It’ll show them that I was a loser, the thing I wanted to avoid in the first place.

Yes, it sucks to go unnoticed as an author, especially by people you’ve grown up knowing in a small town where everyone knows everyone. But hey, I’ve always been something of an unnoticed shadow in this town anyway before my books were published. Sales or no sales, we need to keep at it. Even if we’re the only ones who end up reading our books.


I hope this post wasn’t too brash. I wrote this post back in December before my hiatus and wasn’t going to post it, but the negative feelings I referred to above reared their ugly heads again recently. I hope this helps other indies out there!

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Book Reviews

Book Review: Illuminate by Sarah Addison-Fox

Welcome back, Arrowheads! Not long ago, Sarah Addison-Fox released her first ever standalone paranormal romance novel, Illuminate. I had the privilege of reading an ARC copy of Illuminate before its release, and would like to share my thoughts with y’all today!

Illuminate

Sarah Addison-Fox’s first standalone novel, Illuminate, is a powerful tale of light versus dark, redemption, and forgiveness.

What I Liked the Most

 

The Symbolism

The symbolism the author weaved into this novel is top-notch. The light versus dark elements parallel real life good versus evil or morality versus immorality. The dark portrays the damage that real-life sin can inflict on people, and I liked how it was mentioned that even the strongest adherers to the light still face temptation.

The Characters

After reading all of the author’s books up until this point, I noticed this standalone hones her character creating skills and produced unique and memorable main and minor characters. Not saying that the characterization is weak in the other books she’s released, but I personally think Illuminate‘s characters are more rounded out. My favorite in this book is Mr. Skylar!

Messages of Redemption and Forgiveness

The messages of redemption and forgiveness make this standalone spectacular. I adore how the readers’ takeaway is that no matter what you’ve done in the past, you can change your ways and embrace the light. This is a message we surely need more of in literature.

My Only Complaint

The only fault I found with this book is that the plot started off slow for me and I was confused in some spots. Once I caught on to what was going on, I was invested and ended up really enjoying this book! If you’re looking for a New Adult Paranormal Romance, I highly suggest picking up this book! Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars.

Thank you to the author for providing me a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A positive review was not required to receive the ebook.


That’s all for today, Arrowheads! Be sure to check back here on Fridays for book reviews, and, if I’m ever experimenting with flash fiction, Flash Fiction Friday posts! 🙂

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Spent

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! I recently received an opportunity to review another indie film, Spent by Christian filmmaker, Lisa Mikitarian. The film itself is a dark-humored comedy with a 1940s feel. I watched the film with my boyfriend who enjoys watching and discussing movies as much as I do. So, let’s get to the review!

Spent

Summary:

Spent centers around a mother and son–Evelyn and Lonnie Schumacher–who are living it up on the family’s funds now that their cheapskate husband/father, Herbert, is on his deathbed. All is well, until a miracle occurs on July 4th that completely cures Herbert of his cancer. Now that the funds have ran dry, how far are Evelyn and Lonnie willing to go to cover up their mistakes?

Review

I will now review the highlights and lowlights the film has to offer:

Highlights:

  • The Plot: I think Spent has an interesting storyline for viewers to follow. I personally have never seen a movie with this type of plot, so it was a refreshing contrast from some of the repetitive plots of Hollywood films.
  • The Cinematography: the picture quality of the film itself greatly surpassed that of the majority of indie films I’ve seen. The crew did an excellent job in capturing quality shots throughout the film.

Lowlights:

  • The Acting: Indie films often do not use seasoned actors, but I have seen a few where the acting was better than mainstream films. Unfortunately, the majority of the acting in Spent failed to make me as a viewer believe the performance. I think it was due to the lack of emotion in the deliverance; it felt like most of the lines were delivered in nonchalance, causing the audience to not empathize as well with the characters.
  • The Inclusion of Vintage Aspects: My boyfriend and I agree that the inclusion of vintage aspects seemed too random throughout the production. If the Schumachers solely dressed and decorated their home with vintage items, we believe it would have made more sense to the audience; however, both the Schumachers and the rest of the townspeople either dressed or decorated their homes in vintage garb in modern-day America. Sometimes the characters would be talking on rotary phones, and the next minute on iPhones. The Schumachers had a computer from possibly the late 1990s/early 2000s that had high-speed internet and no delay in loading pages. The film also went back and forth from color picture to black and white, and neither of us could figure out why the color scheme switched. I feel that if the film had focused on a sole time period–1940s–and left out the modern props, it would have made more sense.

Content Warning for Conservative Christian Viewers:

**Note: This section has no impact on my rating of the film**

If you’re a frequent reader of posts on Authoring Arrowheads, you know I’m not usually one to warn others about negative content, as I’m a firm believer that Christian media should not shelter audiences from real-life situations. Nevertheless, I feel discussing or revealing situations involving what is often perceived as “negative content” should be done so with tact. This film is intended for a general audience and contains content that some of the more conservative Christian followers of this blog may not be comfortable with, including a semi-detailed extramarital affair (Herbert’s wife makes out with a man on a clothing store floor), and men smacking women (who are not their wives) on the butt. The H word is also said a couple times, but that’s the only major cuss word I heard.

Again, this section has no weight on my overall rating of the movie, but I felt the need to clarify for my more conservative followers, as I’ve only reviewed films marketed exclusively for the Christian market on this blog before.

Conclusion:

Overall, Spent is a quirky movie that will be a great film to watch if you’re a fan of vintage movies and the dark-humored comedy of the 1940s era. Personally, my boyfriend and I agreed upon rating Spent ⭐️⭐️/5 stars, as we felt that while the film has an interesting premise, its execution could have been better with the budget that was allotted.

Thank you to the filmmaker for providing me with a screening link in exchange for an honest review.

Spent is currently free to watch for Amazon Prime members!


That’s it for today, Arrowheads! Be sure to check back here on Friday for another book review! Also be prepared to see another film review shortly! 🙂

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀