03 April, 2013

#GuestPost :: Being an Indie Author by Sadie S. Forsythe

Sadie Forsythe hails from the South Eastern United States, lives in North Western England, and is a fan of all things Japanese. She holds degrees in Anthropology/Comparative Religion, International Criminology, and Social Change. She loves local coffee shops, geek culture, everything bookish, & tea (steaming with milk & sweet iced). She is married with two daughters and an imaginary dog. 

When Debdatta mentioned writing a guest post about the experience of being an indie/self-published author I was a little overwhelmed. There's a lot that could fall under that simple umbrella. The fun of developing a kernel of an idea into an actual book, the feeling of accomplishment on finishing the story, the endless ennui-inducing hell of editing (only to find one more damned error), the anxiety of publishing it for the world to see...the waiting...then indescribable joy of the first good review, or the soul crushing despair of the first bad one, the realization that promoting that book really might prevent you from writing a second one, or the stupefying shock the first time a real-life reader recognizes you could all fill a short article like this with ease. But when I really sat back and thought about what aspect of being an indie author had affected me the most, none of that came to the fore. What has has the most meaning for me is the realisation that I AM AN AUTHOR.

Growing up I was a reader. No, I was a READER! I was that kid hanging upside-down on the monkey bars reading Nancy Drew, The Babysitters Club, and every Christopher Pike book ever written. I was that teen in the back of the classroom with her nose buried in the Stephen King novel she'd stashed in her math book. In university I read not only the books assigned in my lit classes, but those of my roommates too. (Though, I only occasionally wrote their papers for them.) 

Calling myself a bibliophile just doesn't feel adequate. I prayed for the next book in a series like drought-struck farmers pray for rain. I worshiped books and as an unavoidable consequence I also idolized authors. In my mind I placed them on tall, stiletto thin, tottering, ivory pedestals as somehow above the reach of such mere mortals as myself. They were my gods. So the twin realization that, even if not represented by one of the big six, I was still now an author and as such could blithely socialize with other authors was awe-inspiring. It was one of those unexpected light bulb moments that leave you gaping, open-mouthed in public, with no concern for decorum or appearances. It was, quite simply, identity shifting and it was incredible. After I shook off the stunned immobility I clambered up onto my own lofty pedestal, raised my arms and roared. Though let's be honest here, I stabilized be base a little bit first. 

The knock-on effect of becoming something I had always idolized was that suddenly my heroes and heroines were human. It's such a small thing, but really blew my preverbal mind. Ok, so Anne Rice or J.R. Ward aren't going to be returning my calls anytime soon, but every time I get an email from Giacomo Giammatteo, Aaron Overfield, Wynne Channing, or Leigh Parker my heart flutters a little. Anytime I post a review that gets even the most rudimentary note of thanks from another author, it swells. I'm now part of the community, a community I thought forever closed and inaccessible. I'm reassessing a lot of what I thought was or wasn't possible as a direct consequence of this realization and I'm liking what I'm seeing. My horizons are expanding. 

When I started writing what would eventually become The Weeping Empress I was just committing to paper some ideas that had been rattling around in my head. I wasn't yet thinking of it as a book. If I had been I doubt I would have found the experience of becoming an author quite so shocking. It would have been a lot easier in some ways, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I think it took that shock to the system for me to be bold enough to make the mental transition and take the coveted title of author. Otherwise I might have remained a writer forever, no matter how many books I publish. It leaves me feeling a little breathless and blessed. 

Am I the only one? Has anyone else had a similar or strikingly dissimilar experience? If you're another indie, what stands out for you as the most important aspect of being an indie or self-published author? If a reader, can you relate? I'd love to compare notes.

About the Book
Chiyo Alglaeca was happy in her life. That is, until it was all taken away. Forced into notoriety, stalked by a mysterious cult, hunted by the emperor, and facing betrayal at every turn she clings to the only safety she can find: two enigmatic men and the sharp bringer of death, Salvation. The Weeping Empress explores the devastating effects of loss, the hunt for redemption, and the price of destiny. It questions the true meaning of evil and asks what monster is not also an innocent?

Reach out to Sadie Forsythe

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