Friday, November 21, 2014

Indie Authors

“Hello. My name is J.D. Hanning and I’m an indie author.”

Sounds like an introduction one might make at a support group meeting, doesn’t it? Support groups for writers. Now there’s a novel idea (pun intended).

Being a writer certainly can feel like a solitary endeavor. After all, writers live in their thoughts, spend hours behind closed doors pecking away at their keyboards, create worlds and people that exist only in their own minds and in the minds of their readers. Before I met other writers, I felt like a weirdo, an odd duck, a crazy person who wrote down my fantasies for no one other than myself. I loved writing but never imagined that anyone would be interested in what I had to say.

The first writers group I attended opened the door to a whole new way of thinking for me. That particular group seemed more like a classroom lead by students than a bunch of professional writers gathering to exchange ideas. Still, it looked as if they all knew more about this writing stuff than I did. I had a lot of work to do.

This is where I learned the value of making connections. I had already been getting advice from my older brother who is also a writer. I still follow his lead today. Sometimes I feel like a dopey little sister tagging along whether big brother wants me to or not, but he’s provided me with a lot of really good information. Plus, he’s pretty cool. Thanks, White Feather!

After moving around a few times, I ended up in Durango, Colorado. There, I met more authors and was introduced to valuable online resources. I discovered that I hadn’t been keeping up with all the changes going on in the publishing industry. While there’s nothing like holding a real paper book in your hands, I knew that I had to step up my game and make my books available in electronic formats. Welcome to the 21st century.

After moving back to Washington state, I joined some indie author groups on Facebook, signed up for an author page on Goodreads, created my own website, and read as much as I could about being an author. I even shared tidbits about my book on Facebook to get the word out about it. In fact, I was spending so much time making sure I was “connected” and visible to the world in all the right places, that I wasn’t making enough time to write.

“Hello. My name is J.D. Hanning and I’m an indie author. I haven’t written anything on my blog in almost three months.”

Gasp! How do these other bloggers do it? How do they post something every day? Every single day? Really? Clearly, I’m not taking this writer gig seriously enough. A change of focus is in order.

If I don’t start writing every day, people will start to think of me as a one-hit wonder: “J.D. Hanning? Say, didn’t she write that one book? I thought it was a series, but she made the others unavailable while she did some fine tuning and no one has ever heard from her again. Is she still alive?” That’s what people will be saying.

So here’s my first post for the first day of the rest of my life. May there be many more.

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