Jodi Gibson ~
Hi, I’m Jodi and I’m the indie author of The Memories We Hide, a contemporary drama that explores friendship, memory, and the consequences of split-second decisions.
I used to be embarrassed to say I was an indie author. In fact, early on in my writing journey I was embarrassed to even call myself a writer! Then, when I made the decision to self-publish, the feeling reared its ugly head again. But now, I’m shouting it from the rooftops for all to hear!
Before I chose the indie path for The Memories We Hide, I undertook a lot of research into self-publishing – it wasn’t a decision made on a whim. In fact, it was close to two years from when I began to look into it, to making a clear decision. And after the initial trepidation and fear, I can now say I’m excited for what lies ahead. I have so many stories in my head, and I want to get them out onto the page and as an indie author, I can.
So why the indie path?
The publishing industry is tough. There’s only so much money out there, and so many spots for authors. It’s a business. There are gatekeepers who make decisions on who will be published, and those decisions take various factors into consideration. Of course, the story and the writing are primary considerations, but also things such as what’s selling at the moment, what similar books are on their list, what space they have for a new, unknown author, and marketing budgets. There’s only a chosen few who go on to receive traditional publishing deals. The rest are left to lick their wounds, pick up their pride and try again.
And I did. The Memories We Hide was rejected a few times, but I also got great feedback. Two publishers asked to see the full manuscript, which is like winning the golden ticket. Both gave me positive feedback that the story was good, and the writing was strong. However, for whatever reasons, neither picked it up.
It was then I became frustrated. As I mentioned, I have all these stories in my head. I wanted to get them out. I wanted people to read them. Questions started to pop into my mind. What if I never got published? What would happen to all these stories, all these characters? It was then I began researching the independent publishing option. All the time I kept writing and rewriting, working with my editor to make The Memories We Hide the best it could be.
It took almost two years of research for me to decide that indie publishing was for me. And once I decided, that was it. I went for it.
What does it take to be an indie author?
Some people say it’s the ‘easy’ way out, or the only option left for ‘rejected authors’. Neither of those statements are true. For me, self-publishing has become my first choice. But it’s not for everyone.
Being an indie author means you are the author and the publisher. You have to work with editors to make your book is as good as it can be. You need to work with proofreaders and formatters and of course cover designers. And that’s all before it’s published. Once you’ve released it into the world (or even before) you need to market and promote your book – all while continuing to write your next one! It’s by no means an easy road.
3 things an indie author needs to be:
A control freak
Most indie authors are control freaks. If you like to be in control, if you like structure, order and schedules, love working to a deadline, have excellent time-management skills and value professionalism, you’ll be perfectly suited to a career as an indie author. And the best part? You are in complete control of your creativity.
Indie authors need to approach their careers with an entrepreneurial mindset. On the one hand you are the creative, but on the other you need to think with a business model. You’ll need to manage your social media, mailing lists, and your brand. You’ll need to be confident in putting yourself out there with promotion and marketing, and you need to be able to analyse your sales and return on investments. You need to approach the process as a publisher would – as a business. If any part of that leaves you shaking in your boots, then indie publishing may not be for you.
If you love setting self-imposed deadlines, you’ll kill it as an indie author. You need to work to deadlines, set writing and publishing goals, and juggle your creativity with your business mindset. Procrastination is your biggest enemy. And believe me, she still drops by every now and then, but you need to tell her to step aside and get back to work.
What to expect as an indie author
There will be a steep learning curve, and you may want to give up at times. There’ll be disappointments with sales figures, and one- and two-star reviews that will cut deep. But there will also be highs. Your first sale, your first hundred sales, and some wonderful four- and five-star reviews!
There is still a prestige that comes with being offered a traditional book deal and being published. But as with everything, there are no guarantees that your book will sell, or that you will be offered another book deal. Unfortunately, that success is limited to a very small percentage. Yet there are so many talented authors out there with books that deserve to be read.
Much the same can be said for independently publishing. There’s no guarantee your books will get traction and attention. There’s no guarantee that you will sell your first book, or that any of your subsequent books will sell.
The way I see it is that at least by publishing independently my books will be out there. Available. Along with millions of others, yes, but out there, nonetheless.
I know the harder I work, the more chance I have of seeing success. As long as my stories are appealing to readers in their genre, as long as they are professionally edited, designed and formatted, and as long as I put in the hard yards of marketing and promotion, I have a chance. And that’s why I’m a proud indie author!
— Jodi Gibson
Jodi Gibson is an Australian women’s fiction author of both contemporary dramas, and light-hearted romantic comedy. She lives on a mini-farm with her husband, daughters, two golden retrievers, one horse, eight chickens, and a cat who rules over them all.
Jodi has been writing in one way or another since she was young. Whether it was stories about ghosts or horses, or filling her journal full of teenage angst, Jodi can’t remember a time where she wasn’t writing. However, it wasn’t until recent years and after wearing many career hats, that the desire to write won her over.
When she’s not writing, you’ll find her with her nose in a book, or in the kitchen baking and dreaming of her next travelling adventure.
The Memories We Hide can be purchased here.
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