Braving the Wilds of Publishing: A Review of Susan Kaye Quinn's Amazing INDIE AUTHOR SURVIVAL GUIDE
Why I liked it:This book is for every author who's thinking about indie publishing, or has already taken the leap, and wonders why no one told them about the sharks, the life-sucking social media quicksand, or the best way to avoid sales-checking, yellow-spotted fever. This is a guide for the heart as much as the head. And because I promised myself that I wouldn't write a book about how I made a gazillion dollars publishing ebooks, I would write about the fear: owning it, overcoming it, facing it. From a person who didn't pursue a creative life for a long time, and then discovered creativity can set you free.
Note: gazillion is a technical term, which in this case means something less than a million and more than the average income in my state.
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindajck Trilogy and Debt Collector serial and has been indie publishing since 2011. She’s not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: she’s one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. This book is a compilation of her four years of blogging through changes in the publishing industry—updated, revised, and supplemented to be relevant in 2013. It’s a guide to help her fellow writer-friends take their own leaps into the wild (and wonderful) world of indie publishing... and not only survive, but thrive.
Susan is nothing short of a genius. I have known this for a while now. But this book - well this book solidified EVERYTHING I already knew....she is amazing. The book covers the TRUTH about Indie publishing - both the rewards, and the grief. While Susan and I don't 100% agree all of the time, I have to say, everything she said...yep....SO DANG TRUE! And I read this at a time when I NEEDED to hear it again. And no doubt, I'll read this again when I need to hear it....again!
Whether you have Indie published, or plan to...like EVER....READ THIS BOOK! It is so right on in every conceivable way. Susan is inspiring and uplifting while being 100% honest about the ins-and-outs. I dare you not to totally LOVE this book and finish it with more inspiration than you have felt in a while, probably.
As a special treat with this review, I wanted to share a little Q&A from Susan herself:
CF: What inspired you to write this guide?SKQ: I resisted a long time in putting this together. I had this silly idea I was a fiction writer (which is also true), in spite of spending the last four years blogging consistently about the industry, and especially the changes wrought by indie publishing. It took the goading of several friends, over a period of time, before I realized that the blog was actually non-fiction writing (I can be excessively slow for Ph.D. engineer sometimes). The trigger for blogging the book - revising and updating old posts as well as organizing the content - was seeing writer friend after writer friend take the leap, often after reading something I had posted. And I realized there wasn't a book out there that addressed the fears as well as the nuts-and-bolts about going indie. I could have just left the Guide on my rinky-dink blog, but I knew the power of Amazon (and other retailers) to connect people to books, and I figured it would help more people this way.
CF: Do you think publishing favors the author? the Reader? Anyone?
SKQ: As Clay Shirky said in the long-ago days of 2012 about publishing: “That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done.” It’s not quite as simple as that, of course, but nearly so. So the question I think you’re asking is “Does publishing, as it exists in 2013, favor the author, the reader, anyone, no one? Buehler?” I could be paraphrasing there.J I think indie publishing actually works well for both the reader and the author – the reader gets lower priced ebooks and the author is able to keep enough of their earnings to make a living from their works. I think the larger publishing infrastructure works well for star-authors, the ones at the top of the author ecosystem, the mega-bestsellers. And it works to bring print books to readers, although I would say that print distribution is increasingly breaking down, with bookstore closing and less shelf space devoted to books within the bookstore. All of the print distribution system, including the publishers, favors the top 100 books of the year – and the authors who write them and the readers who read them. For authors who can leverage both systems (and there’s a wide variety of ways to do that), both can be beneficial. Traditional publishing has always been a very limited system, with a finite number of publishing slots – I don’t think that aspect actually benefits either authors or readers, because it limits the types of books that are available for readers. That is one of the greatest leaps forward in the digital revolution – the democratization of literature, such that writers are free to write what they want, and readers have a broader range of books to choose from.
CF: Where do you see the industry in 5-10 years?
SKQ: I have a whole essay on this in the book! But the upshot: I don’t think we’re even halfway through the changes that will be wrought by the digital disruption of the publishing industry. I think indie publishing will increasingly be the first choice for authors, and I see a system evolving that supports the development of author careers starting at that point: agents as “managers” of rising author stars, publishers focused (even more) on giving national exposure to the “stars” of the system, and a robust midlist of authors making a living with their works without necessarily becoming NYTimes list or becoming household names.
See why I can't say ENOUGH good things about her?! She is amazing! I so want to be like her when I grow up. LOL!
What do you guys think? Any Indie's out there?