Indie Author

Finding & Creating Beauty in Unlikely Places

Month: August 2015

Transparency, Integrity, and the Fight to Balance It All While Going At It Alone (Well, Not Totally Alone)

A large part of this indie journey for me has been (what I would describe as) a healthy mixture of uncertainty and a search for validation. I’ve been indie publishing for about two and half years. In that time, I’ve published three novels, written four. Self-publishing a novel is a lot like being one of those poor contestants on a TV talent competition. You get up, stand on that stage. You’re saying to yourself, “well, I think I’m talented” but, inwardly, there’s that mind-numbing fear of being one of those deluded suckers who’s really making a sad fool of themselves. And if you are outed as said fool, there’s the added bonus of having willingly subjected yourself to public ridicule. That’s the fear. On the flip side is the hope that, yes, maybe you do have the talent, maybe the public will be receptive to your work, maybe you’ll be one of the ones that “make it”.

So far, I’ve been blessed to have received warm reviews from the random strangers that I’ve solicited through their blogs or gleaned through giveaways. It’s given me the little pat on my shoulder of, “ok, I guess you don’t totally suck. The fact that you think your novels are good isn’t all in your head”. However, the question of whether my writing would hold up to the scrutiny of the traditional publishing world, of whether I’m producing the same quality writing that would get a book published, has been that kernel of uncertainty that I just couldn’t shake.

Enter Awesome Indies and a wonderful author/friend who suggested them to me. They employ accredited reviewers to give your indie novel the onceover and tell you point blank whether you have a product that holds up to publishing industry standards. And if not, they provide you with notes on improvement and a chance to resubmit. This was the opportunity that I’ve been craving; a chance to get as close to a professional review as I can get without agents, endless queries, months of waiting for a traditional publisher to give me the time of day.

This week, I got my answer, and it was really the best possible news I could have received in-what I refer to as-the realm of “reality”. I received two graciously generous reviews praising the content and narrative quality of my work, and a rightful scolding on the lack of professional editing. In short, I’m giving my readers what these reviewers feel is a novel at the same writing quality level as a traditionally published author, only without the benefit that an editor provides, so an unintentional rough draft but a rough draft nonetheless. In truth, I was disappointed but not surprised. I’ve been going at this with the help of family, bloggers, fellow indies, and friends as my beta readers, but not a professionally trained pair of eyes. In truth, I’m making technical errors in my formatting that I didn’t even realize were errors; who knew that there was a difference between a hyphen and a dash, or that a space needed to go before and after an ellipsis? Not me! And I read…a lot! And was completely oblivious to these things.

So now I’m embarking on the next step of this journey, which is to find a professional editor to give my novel a thorough proofread. The short-term end goal is to receive the AI Award of Excellence or Seal of Approval that says,” yes, this is an indie worth reading”. The long-term goal is to learn what I’m doing wrong and correct those unintentional errors before publishing my next novel (which will also need that prof. edit whether I like to admit it or not).

There’s a lot that goes into indie writing that traditionally published authors don’t have to fret about. Paying a hefty sum for editing is one of those things. However, the freedom to decide the cover, the content, when and if to share one’s work with the world: these are great gifts that self-publishing has to offer. I’ll rest easier knowing that my work holds up in the arena of published literature, and I’m looking forward to re-releasing an edited second edition of Tomorrow is a Long Time.

Lunar Breeze A.D.

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Yesterday, I was sitting in my Grandfather’s mountain retreat with my sister-in-law. I was reading and she was watching old movies on TMC and making jewelry. Naturally, I couldn’t help but snoop through her stash (which took up multiple boxes). When I came across this little number (above) I knew I had to have it! But what makes it so special is not only how beautiful and unique this jewelry is but the purpose behind it.

My brother and sister-in-law are missionaries. It started when my brother started corresponding with a fellow Christ-follower in Uganda who ran an orphanage there. When he learned of the needs that the orphanage faced ( and that the man who ran it would not turn a single child away, no matter the financial strain), my brother decided to start a non-profit called Least of These, to raise money for people overseas who are striving to help children and adults in poverty and to give them hope. During the time that he and my sister-in-law have operated Least of These, one or both of them have traveled to the places that the organization sponsors: the orphanage in Uganda and a school in Pakistan that offers food and education to indentured children who work in the local brick kiln to pay off family debts (yes, child slavery is still quite normal in other places in the world). Soon they will be visiting India, where  Least of These supports a widow’s colony and a leper’s colony. They’ve also traveled to Israel and visited behind the Wall and spoke with both Israelis and Palestinians about the conflict there.

Lunar Breeze A.D. is an offshoot of Least of These. Pieces of each bracelet, necklace, etc. are from countries where they’ve visited. 100% of the proceeds go towards the charities that Least of These sponsors. Here’s a little more from their website: http://lunarbreezead.blogspot.com

“We procure, purchase, and pass on each item entirely at our own expense. :: 100% of the proceeds from EVERY item sold here will go directly for the featured charity, cause, or mission stated in its description. So when you adopt one of these memories, not only will you be continuing a legacy, but you will also be supporting a moment in the lives of others.”

I don’t fancy myself a solicitor but I’m a proud contributor to Least of These and think Lunar Breeze A.D. is a beautiful thing.

If unique, exotic, beautiful jewelry is your thing and you feel even better (like me) splurging on yourself for a worthy cause, check them out!

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