Indie and I Love It

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It is every author’s dream to get THAT lucrative book deal and an agent who never sleeps. Along with that book deal comes the media blitz, the tours, and resources you cannot imagine—all working for you. When you hit that point, you know you have arrived.

Thursdays_in_Savanna_Cover_for_KindleI am cool with a grandiose arrival, but damn, the journey that I am taking right now, I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I want all of those things I mentioned before, but I want those things when I no longer need the money. You see, with those things, you have to split every dime you make. Yes, that agent who never sleeps wants her share. The publisher wants their share. The media consultant wants their share, and selling a million books becomes necessary to pay all of those people. You no longer care if what you have written is formulaic or if it is even good. You just want to stay on top.

I am an indie author and I started from the bottom.

I am still kind of there, but it’s cool, and let me tell you why.

I have made a name for myself by the sheer sweat of my brow. I tell the stories I want to tell and I tell them the way my heart says they should flow. I have hired editors who understand my voice and my storytelling style. I hired a cover designer to evoke a certain feel on the covers that tell the reader, when your turn the page, you will understand those people on the jacket.

Each and every word in the story is carefully selected.

Each funny line is taken from my soul.

Each chapter moves your forward in the characters journey, taking you along with them until the last word.

When the reader is done, it is a story that has touched them. Some may feel adamantly opposed to the heroine and believe her to be stupid. But a woman who has been in her shoes, understands. Others may view the hero as a man on a mission. A man they want to come into their lives. Yet in the end, the story has stayed with them.

Every copy that I sell moves me one step closer.

Each review I earn touched one more reader.

I am not there yet, but I am proud of my journey.

In 54 Days, I sat at #2 on the Amazon top 100. A week later I fell to #3 seated behind a New York Times bestselling author contracted to Harlequin. I am still sitting in the top 100 with the same number of reviews.

For an indie author, that is pretty darn good. One hundred reviews in 54 days? I am okay with that. I am an indie author and I am proud.

I am working my dream job. Come with me on the journey and read my words.

Thursday in Savannah, available on and online retailers.

So You Didn’t Like My Review…..

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I originally reviewed this book on Goodreads and I said even though it was free, I wasn’t going to download it based on the cover.

The author responded to my review by stating the following:

“The ‘cousin’ (?) is intended as a generic love interest and is photographed in a haystack to demonstrate “The Man in a Haystack” which is a play on words, i.e. ‘searching for a needle in a haystack’? Hmmm… with respect, you’ve missed the point of the story which is probably no wonder as you confess to judging the book by its cover. The cover will be redesigned by a graphic artist to coincide with the launch of a sequel. Rating a book based on the cover alone is pretty harsh – no worries though, as it’s how you feel.”

I went back and downloaded the book, SINCE IT WAS FREE, and actually read the majority of it.  She may have been better off with my initial review. For an indie author to actually “THINK” that readers don’t make selections based on book covers is naive, silly and unrealistic.  However, I am nothing, if not fair.  So here’s to you indie author Alice Huskisson,  You will probably receive more downloads from my review, than people who saw the event listed on Goodreads.

This book was a free download by British blogger, Alice Huskisson. The cover was a turn off and initially I felt that even if it was free, that I was not going to download it. However, I was corrected by the author. The book cover is an analogy for the meaningless of trying to find a significant relationship, but this image has no real connection to the story, and if it does, I don’t feel it. If it was a half-naked hunk in a barn in the midst of ten loose bales of hay, then, yeah, Ha, very funny. The chap on the cover looks like a bad night at a country bar.

The book was written at the behest of Huskisson’s friends who enjoyed her dating exploits from her blog and encouraged her to write a book. She self published this work and it appears to be just posts from her blog. There is some flow and some connectivity in the main character, Mae’s trysts on her quest for love, and you find yourself rooting for Mae. You can almost feel the pain of her realization that the man in her bed is nothing like Mickey Rourke‘s character in 9/12 Weeks and life is not a movie.

I still am a firm believer that book cover is everything, especially when you are self published. American readers judge a book by its cover. I strongly suggest the author go back to the drawing board, and hire a graphic artist to remake the cover about an attractive metropolitan girl on a search for Mr. Right, then re-release the book.

Huskisson is no Helen Fielding and in reading Bridget Jones, you felt the cheekiness of the diary coming to life. There is little life in this story of an aging horny woman trying to capture something she feels she has lost. The book does have promise but a word of caution, get your cousin off the book cover, and I look forward to seeing the author’s growth in the sequel.

And you couldn’t keep that to yourself?

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I am often amazed that in our moments of fury, we open our mouths and allow words to flow out that should have stayed in our heads. I have seen it happen in the classroom, in the boardroom, and heard about verbal faux pas in the bedroom. How do we learn when to close our lips and speak with our eyes?

Last week, during demonstrative speeches, one of my students gave an excellent presentation on how to tie dye a shirt. One brilliant student in the back felt it was necessary to share her opinion once I mentioned I would be interested in trying out the method. She asked, out loud, if I would be applying the process to my sweater collection. Really? And you couldn’t have kept that you yourself?

Adding insult to injury, I have a student that is legally blind. Judging by the thickness of her spectacles, and the placement of the lens, legally, may just be a misnomer. I asked, “Do you still drive?” The student responded yes, and of course from the peanut gallery came the words, “Oh, hell naw!” Seriously, and you could not have kept that to yourself? I was proud of the other students for not laughing,

I was even proud of myself for waiting until after class to pull the student aside and speak with her about keeping something in her head.

Students you can overlook because they are of course, still in a learning slash training environment. In the workplace or in social settings, some verbal faux pas are not so easily dismissed. I experienced this yesterday. During a very prominent literary event in which I was a member of the planning committee, we took great effort in the placement of the authors. The authors in the entry way, the authors in the children’s section, the authors on the second floor were all placed by genres. One idiotic participant, who is friends with one of my fellow organizers, evidently felt as if she should have been given preference. Really? A young newcomer to her writer’s group, in which my fellow organizer was also a member, was given prime placement on the first floor as a new self-published author. He was placed next to a seasoned author with several published titles. This was a great opportunity for this young man and he maximized the moment.

Yes, I called her idiotic and here is why. Instead of her coming to me or one of the fellow organizers to express her concern or question her placement, yes, you guessed it, she opened her stupid mouth and allowed stupid words to roll out. She found a person that she felt she could express her concern, and she began her conversation by stating that, “Yeah, they placed all the black authors on the second floor and we ain’t getting no traffic!” She told this to the Big Boss. She told this to my fellow organizer’s boss. Did she know who she was talking to; I don’t think she really cared. I think she felt slighted and just chose to shoot off her stupid mouth. But she did not let it stop there, she started ranting and raving to other participants, creating an atmosphere of distrust. She created an atmosphere of disharmony. She created hostility.

Here’s the thing. Book festivals are designed for the author to meet, mingle and make new friends. Unless you are a New York Times best seller, in which you would be on press junkets, you are there to create a buzz about your book. If you are self-published, unless you have an excellent editor, your work is suspect anyway. Book sales that are made are really the luck of the draw.

Now, it is unlikely that she will be invited back next year simply because she could not speak with her eyes and keep her thoughts to herself. Adding insult to social injury, she shared her incorrect assessments with others, causing strife. Was it really that serious? Are you that angry that you could not have kept your feelings to yourself? In the end, you gained nothing but a reputation as a trouble maker.