By Samantha Stroh Bailey
I have always wanted to be a writer. So, when I was ten years old, I scribbled a story and proudly sent it off to a children’s publisher with the gentle help of my mom, who was an author publicist. Well, the rejection I got never deterred me, and I was unbelievably excited when my first novel landed me a New York City agent. In the four years I was represented, I wrote four novels.
But, as any chick lit writer knows, traditional publishing houses have pretty much stopped buying chick lit from debut authors (Red Dress Ink even stopped publishing altogether) unless it hints of the supernatural or is “high concept” enough to stand out on a very crowded women’s fiction shelf . I have never been quite sure what “high concept” meant, but it was clear to me that "Finding Lucas" was never going to find a home unless I made one myself.
Luckily, I decided to do it myself when self-publishing became a viable and more respected option. And I was astounded by the community of talented and determined chick lit authors who had also published their own clever, funny, poignant and relatable stories. Not only a writer, I am a voracious, and I’d like to think, discerning reader. Since joining the indie author world, I have discovered self-published writers who have made me laugh out loud, cry and stay up far too late devouring their books.
One of these amazing, self-published authors is Dina Silver, whose award-winning debut novel, "One Pink Line" is a favorite of mine, and she has certainly been an inspiration to me. Perusing her blog last week, I noticed an article she had posted and brilliantly commented on. As I read Sue Grafton’s opinion of self-publishing, I was deeply upset.
When did indie become synonymous with lazy? That boggles my mind. I have two kids and my own business, and I have never worked as hard as I have self-publishing and promoting "Finding Lucas." And every indie author knows exactly what I mean. We are both author and publicist and have to navigate social media on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis while tamping down our insecurities and fears to contact reviewers and bloggers.
When I was invited into this warm, welcoming and supportive community, I not only found friends who understand exactly what I’m going through but also discovered incredibly talented authors who believe in their art as passionately as I do.
We vent about our struggles, lament sales and celebrate each other’s successes. We promote each other on our blogs and tell our friends about each other’s books. Many of us have had agents, some have been traditionally published, and we all have the same dream and drive to make it real. And the books we have self-published are rarely our first. In fact, few of us, if any, slap together a book and assume we are going to get instant success. None of us is that naïve because we have been at this for far too long.
Indie authors have courage. We spend months re-writing, editing and planning exactly how our books should look. We might not be backed by a major corporation, but you can be sure that we have given our blood, sweat, tears and bank accounts to realize a lifelong dream. So, I thank the indie authors and reviewers, bloggers and readers who have taken a chance on those of us who found a place for our works of art by doing it all on our own.
Perfect Pen Communications, she not only gets to write novels, but also writes and edits for magazines, websites, businesses, students and other writers. Samantha also has a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children and has just recently self-published her debut novel, "Finding Lucas." (Which is currently $2.99 for Kindle.) You can find her on Facebook and Twitter, as well as her blog.