When you hear the phrase “Indie Author”, what do you think it means? Just a few years ago, people looked at the phrase as meaning, “An amateur writer who can’t get published by the Big 6 and so goes the self-publishing Route. Usually a sub par story for a select audience.”
Nowadays, the phrase “Indie Author” means that the writer is just as good as any mainstream author, but doesn’t have the finances for a big publishing firm and chooses a small press company instead. Oh yes, just because you’ve signed with a publisher, does not exclude yourself to be called an indie author. I had the same thought as above. I thought in order to be considered an indie author, you had to self-publish your book.
Before the Big 6
If your not familiar with the phrase, “The Big 6”, it’s the group of publishing houses that do most of the publishing out there: Random House, Penguin, and Collier; just to name a few. What a lot of people don’t understand is that indie authors started the world of literature. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few names you might recognize: William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens. None of these gentlemen are connected with the Big 6 publishing houses, therefore there would be considered, indie authors.
Since Random House and the others came along, that’s the only way books were published…or so it would seem. Sure smaller companies published books, but they were usually tied to the Big 6 in one manner or another.
When the concept of indie authors has risen in force over the last ten years or so, people just rolled their eyes and murmured, “amateurs”. They didn’t see the potential for a new breed of authors bucking authority and going out to make a name for themselves. Now, indie authors are just in demand just as much as those who write through the Big 6.
Indie Authors Be Seen
At the start of 2014, I made a New Year’s resolution to, not only read more books, but to read more indie author books. It’s been the only resolution I have ever kept this long. And from what I’ve read to date, I realize they are just as good, if not better, than that which comes out of the Big 6.
Why? Because the writers have more of a desire to write stories with meaning, not just to keep a deadline for their fans. As an indie author, they have more to prove but less to lose in the long run. That is why you get such quality stories, if you know where to look.
One way that this can happen is a new Social Media project called #IndieBooksBeSeen. Writer Mark Shaw has devise this idea to help indie authors get noticed all over the internet via social media sites. I took some time and sat down with Mark to talk about this project and other things that make Mark tick.
What inspired you to create #IndieBooksBeSeen project?
What inspired me to start the #IndieBooksBeSeen movement, was the feeling that struggling authors like myself needed to be seen. The first thing I noticed while promoting my new book was that social media was littered with indie authors starving for attention in a sea of indie authors. But what really got me was a direct message I received from another indie author, about a week into me promoting my book on twitter. He was about to release his 4th book, and was asking me did I have any tips on how he could be more successful promoting his own books, because he was barely making any money. This shocked me! And made me think, there must be a better way to for all of us to prosper and not just a fortunate few. The only way I could see this happening is if instead of having a bunch of individuals and a pocket of groups out there hustling their book, why not attempt to lift the industry as a whole, which will maybe give writers like myself a fighting chance to be recognized. I don’t believe many people see this for the industry it can be.
Is there a significance to the selection of July 1st to launch the project?
Not really. I thought about this idea around the end of May. And in order to give folks enough time to come up with a poster of their cover and to give myself time to start networking, I figured I needed at least a month to get everything in place. So July1st seemed to fit the bill. The reason why I chose the poster, is because I thought it would make a bolder statement, but for those reading this, I’m ok with whatever you have that’ll represent your title. It’s all about being seen!
What kind of reaction have you received for this project?
I’m gonna be totally honest with you. I was thinking how cool it would be if I could get at least 100 people to support this, but I’m proud and excited to say, that as of today I’m over 1,200 supporters from around the world and the list keeps growing. I’ve had in recent days, companies, celebrities and a famous mainstream author reach out to me, telling me they support what I’m doing, and that’s great feeling! Authors and other’s alike are just as excited about this as I am and cant wait for july1st.
What impact do you think this project will make for indie authors?
It’ll showcase our talented indie authors works, especially the ones that really need the boost. It’ll get people talking about our industry and show when we come together as an industry we can make big things happen!
Do you have any plans for future projects such as this?
I sure do! This is just the beginning of what I’ll bring to the table. Stay tuned!
Where do you see the future of books and Indie Authors in 5 years from now? 10 Years?
What I would like to see, is a day when writing and self publishing a book is a first option and not your last option. I’d love to see the day when we don’t have to query literary agents, kissing their ass for a break. I want to see new age bookstores that promote ONLY indie titles. And when those titles because successful. Move them on and bring in a new crop of authors, keeping things fresh and giving more a chance. I’d love to see peer panels put in place to mentor new writers coming into the fold. I want to see T.V commercials promoting indie titles. I want to see other indie industries marry with us, like Indie film and Indie music .We can write the stories and they can bring them to life. I want to build an industry within an industry, where we can be competitive with the mainstream. I want it to be cool to be indie!
What made you decide to become a writer?
Writing chose me. I had say in the matter.
Are you a full-time author? If not, share with us your occupation.
No I wish..lol, but don’t we all. That’s on my wish list. Right now, I’m currently working as a maintenance worker for a maintenance company. I also work at a local stadium in the operations department. To add to that I’m a songwriter/producer and a professional cook. I’ve done it all!
What genre do you write? Do you read of the same genre?
It’s funny because I love to read autobiographies and don’t read much fiction. I have several books ideas in my head right now and there all over the spectrum.
What can you tell us about “Keeper of the Wind”?
The Keeper of the Wind started from me playing with this stick I found as a child. I used to play with it during rain storms, pretending I could make the wind do what I say .The stick kind of looked like mosses staff from the Ten Commandments. As I grew up, it went from a play thing, to a weapon. I grew up in urban Baltimore city and had to use that stick a time or two to protect myself. So here I was years later wondering what ever happened to that stick and the early story behind it. That’s when I began to imagine the story that became The Keeper of the Wind. What I came up with were 3 best friends from different upbringings, and brought together by music, come across three native artifacts they found in a cave while on a high school camping trip. Thinking they may be worth something, decide to post it up on eBay. That posting drew a professor of archeology to help them, and a modern day evil shaman that torments them. The evil shaman knows what they posses and he also knows they don’t know what they have, and he will go through great lengths to get their possession.
Did you self-publish or go the traditional route?
I attempted to. I sent out query letters for close to a year and got no love. I feel I wasted a year putting my life in someone else’s hands, when I could’ve been out there pushing my book to the masses. Because really, it’s all a gamble, so why not gamble on myself!
What is considered your ultimate goal as a writer? (for example: NYT Best Sellers list, movie rights, collaboration with a famous author)
I want to be successful in a way that writing is my one job and that’s it! Seeing my books become movies, best sellers etc would be a bonus, but to travel the world while writing would be my ultimate dream. The freedom to create.
When you are not writing, what do you do for fun?
I love to write music and produce and I love to cook. I also love to travel.
What advice do you give to those who want to become writers?
Don’t talk the talk, walk the walk. Talking about it ain’t gonna make it happen!
Thank you Mark Shaw for taking time to answer some questions. For more information about Mark and his project, check out his Twitter page. Don’t forget to check out all of the indie authors and their books on July 1st! Support as many as you can by buying and reading their books, and sharing the information with your friends and family. And please, write a review for their book and post it wherever you bought it. It means more to us than you can possibly imagine.
Comments and Questions are always appreciated!!
Until next time, Happy Adventuring!
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