Newbery Honor Author, New York Times Bestseller, Time Traveler
I met Rhonda McCormack at an amazing (and mostly scorpion-free!) SCBWI retreat in Arizona (kudos to Michelle Parker-Rock and her posse for a great weekend). She has a passion for writing and philanthropy that she combines in a wonderful way. Her first book, Wildflowers, is now out and I invited her to tell us a bit about it and how it came to be. Take it away, Rhonda!
Hello, Kirby’s Lane Readers. I’m Rhonda McCormack, Indie author and artist, invited to Friend Friday to share a bit of my journey into the growing world of Independent (Indie) publishing. I thank Kirby for hosting me. As a long-time fan of her blog and books, I’m honored to provide a guest post. I’d also like to congratulate her on Hattie Ever After, a lovely follow-up to HBS and a new personal favorite. Kirby, I wish you oodles of praise and abundant readership.
In mentioning Kirby’s latest book, I’m reminded of the day I began drafting this post. I’d just finished the novel and had Hattie on my mind. Off to a foreign place, where things move fast and life lessons abound. Interesting, I told myself. That sounds like Indie publishing. Like Hattie, I had an idea of what could be discovered and accomplished when I arrived in a new place, but a year later, I admit what I knew was ‘eh’ and what I learned reshuffled my deck.
So what is the Indie movement all about? Well, in short, Indie publishing is a hybrid creation, borrowing the tools from the self-publishing model and the guidelines of traditional publishing to create a community of authors/artists who, as individuals, behave like a traditional press. In other words, the Indie book author commits to being a responsible steward of words, art, design, and even marketing, and in the end, offers well-crafted, quality works of art. Because books are works of art.
For me, learning details about the movement happened organically over the six months I spent readying my novel for publication. Information was scattered everywhere, though, and after I launched my debut title, I published a series of blog posts called the Indie Publishing Equation hoping to help others just starting out. I explained the process from start to finish, trying to stick to facts but wading into opinion every now and again. In the short space of now, even a brief summary would take up valuable space that I’d rather use telling you things that no one told me, but I found to be useful.
So, let’s say we all understand online publishing. We know that the two choices for online self-publishing are print-on-demand (POD) and eBooks. Let’s say we also know that, like most things technology-related, as online publishing becomes more popular, it gets easier to use with more sophisticated options. And truthfully, a self-published book today can equal the quality of those produced by traditional presses and sold in brick-and-mortar stores…if written and designed well.
Ah, there are the magic words we needed to hear. The ones that launched the Indie publishing movement. Let’s repeat them, if written and designed well. Mmm, yes, we can all understand that. But…wait…how do we do that?
My advice is simple. First, learn all you can. Second, consider if it’s a fit for you. Third, create to your highest good. And I mean for you to do these things with both Indie publishing and your writing.
To learn: Read a book, use Google, or go to the source (Createspace, Lulu, KDP, PubIt, Smashwords). Also, by joining a writing organization you can learn about traditional publishing, which some find to be a better option because it’s a place where professionals (who are really good at their jobs) guide you. I belong to SCBWI, and there are other groups in specific genres like romance and mystery.
To consider: Not to get all squishy on you, but this is a time for self-reflection. How are you with risk? Are you self-motivated, even when frustrated by the unknown? Do you ask for help when needed? Can you embrace a more innovative, patient, and persistent you? Will you commit to quality without getting lost in perfection? These are important tenets at a
ll stages, including marketing.
To create your highest good: Be well-read, well-rested, and well-nourished in mind, body, and spirit (sorry, more squish, but it’s true). Also, write, write, and then write some more. It’s the only way to improve.
Once you decide what’s right for you, just take one step after another. And like our friend Hattie, remember to be open to the Ever After, in whatever form it takes.
And here’s a happily ever after just for Kirby Lane Readers: The first reader to make a comment below wins a free, signed copy of wildflowers, my YA ecotopian novel.