Why I’m going at a writing career as an indie author.

Being published today isn’t like it was 10 years ago when I first started querying agents. Even ten years ago I had an ice cube’s shot in hell at being picked up. Now, most ice cubes will melt en route. Somewhere between rejection number 275 and my faltering belief in ability, I decided to take my career into my own hands.

Yes, I had two agents and yes they spent 2 years trying to sell my project ( at the time it was Magic Hands that got me in the door ) but neither agent succeeded. ( Magic Hands has been one of my most popular titles. Hmm. )

Like Ashlyn in Overprotected I’m an only child. Maybe it’s the only-child mentality that has always been a part of me that made me say, “I’m doing this myself.” Because that’s what I’ve always had to do—no siblings or parents tread the path before me to make my way easier.

Now, 11 years later I’m completely convinced being an indie author has been the best decision for me. I’m a control freak, I’ll admit it. Being indie has enabled me to learn the publishing business and book production business from story conception to book production and I LOVE it. Each step has taught me layers and layers I would never have learned without my own sweat and tears and yes, even blood, (when I’m nervous I pick at my fingers, they bleed on the keyboard! ) about how to get a book out there.

I could write pages on every aspect of the process, but that’s for other posts. The point is I’ve forged my own path. Every step I’ve taken I own. Every reader I’ve met or gained is from something I’ve done to get my books out there, not the result of a marketing team, a huge publishing house, or someone somewhere who owns my rights. Yes, that’d be awesome to have a “turbo-ized” experience like that, but, if you’re a writer and it doesn’t happen don’t despair. Make your own path.

Anything is possible. I sold the rights to Heavenly to Russia, Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil and I’m negotiating with other countries. No agent, just me. One of my books inspired an indie film maker to make it into a film. This isn’t about bragging, it’s about hope, so aspiring authors understand that there are other legitimate and lucrative ways to make your career happen besides waiting for a nod from a handful of people in NYC.

The publishing industry is changing. Book selling is changing. Just like the music and film industry the opportunity for indies is flourishing. If you’re a self-starter and have passion for your work, don’t give up. Don’t let someone else tell you what’s right for you, discover whatever that is yourself.

I had no idea that when I was obsessed with writing, I was “stock piling” my work for 2011 when I’d be able to put every book out there in “e” format and enjoy a fabulous spike in earnings. I just wrote, and wrote and wrote. And created, and created, and created.

Without stopping.

Nothing will test your creative will power and endurance like forging your own career in this business. And few things compare with meeting readers whose lives you’ve touched, changed and enriched by your words.

Words they may never have read if you waiting for that NYC nod.

I sign my blog posts: read and let read because I have an aversion to reviews. I don’t read them. Every person on this planet is an individual with their own opinion and what appeals to one may not appeal to another. So I sign: Read and let read. Enough said.  As I write this, I think another thought is worth internalizing:

Write and let write.

Jennifer Laurens