I think I first happened upon the idea of becoming a writer when I was in third grade. My reason for wanting to be a writer was probably the usual one: I loved to read. I loved the adventures books could give me without my ever having to leave my house (except maybe to read on the porch). I wanted to do what the authors I read did: create new worlds, new adventures, and new lives too.
Of course things didn’t work out quite as I planned. Tons of rejection letters, and, when I finally had a publisher ready to offer me a contract, that publisher was sold and the new owner decided, in corporate speak, ‘to take things in a different direction’ and no longer wanted my book — none of that was in my life plan. Then I learned about KDP, and since I’m not the most computer literate person in the world, it took me about six months and an e-class on e-publishing to figure out all the ins-and-outs of getting a manuscript ready to publish electronically. I finally managed that in January of this year, and now have four books published, and two more in various stages of preparation for publishing. (And please excuse a little bragging here as I’m so excited over this news: at the time I am writing this – Thursday, 8/21/14, around 10:30 a.m. – one of my books. Secrets in Stone, has reached #14 in its category, Romance-Gothic. I know this ranking won’t last, as it is updated every two hours or so, and I fully realize that it’s not the same as being on Amazon’s best-seller list. But considering the last time I had tried to market that book to an agent, I received an almost instantaneous automated return email rejecting it, even though there hadn’t been time for them to actually read my query. Getting that ranking enables me to say: Ha-ha, agent, I actually do have a book people want to read!)
Back to the irony: As an indie author, you are much more than just the author — you’re your own editor and proofreader; you’re your own publisher; whether you buy a ready-made book cover, hire an artist to produce one, or make it yourself, you’re your own book designer; and you’re your own marketing director. That’s a lot of hats to wear and a never-ending flow of work to get your books out there in front of buyers. I am finding with the time-consumption that wearing all these hats requires, I no longer have much time to actually read. I’m lucky if I can fit in ten minutes a day. There are no more long, lazy weekend afternoons spent on the couch with a good book. The very thing I loved enough to want to make producing books my life’s work is what I’m not able to fit into my life very easily any more. I suspect that other indie authors are having the same experience. I suppose as well that no matter what it is you choose to do with your life, it requires sacrifice in some other area. And I really, truly do love being an indie author.
It’s just that… I miss reading.