I published my first work in December of 2011 and haven’t taken more than the occasional glimpse in the rearview mirror since then. Seventeen additional works have followed, including anthologies and special editions. That’s not a bad amount of work in five years, especially in the light of my rather sporadic work ethic when it comes to writing.
The future? Many more works. I truly believe I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. The amount of potential stories in my head are practically infinite; more than time will allow, I’m sure. I’m in the business of building not just worlds, but universes, star by star, until you pull back and are able to see entire galaxies. (*Ego alert*)
Point is, I’m in it for the long run.
And that’s why I chose to go the indie route. Years ago I made the conscious decision to pursue a course that made me ultimately responsible for my successes and failures. I never considered myself a control freak, but it appears there was one inside waiting to burst out of my chest like a baby xenomorph. (Okay, that’s gross, but you get the picture.)
Part of it was also my frustration with the antiquated processes of traditional publishing. The long waiting periods were the worst part, worse even than the impersonal rejection letters. The tendency was to chase the latest trend, to play it safe, to not buck the system. Agents and publishers were locked into to what they wanted to pursue, and anything that differed was destined for slush pile purgatory, if not trashed outright.
I felt that although my writing was good enough, I just didn’t fit the mold.
So I took control of my own destiny. I’d heard about the successes of bestselling indie authors, and was naive at first to believe I’d end up on the same path to fame and financial freedom. It took only a short amount of time based on experience and research to realize that the chances of scoring a runaway bestseller were slim at best. The gates were wide open, and the flood of indie novels overflowing. A lot of it, admittedly, was and still is pretty awful. A lot of writers haven’t the foggiest notion of what it takes to craft a solid novel. And all that flotsam makes it very hard for a professional to find time in the spotlight. The odds are staggeringly against the indie author, with the numbers game becoming increasingly stacked for failure.
I did it anyway. And I have no regrets.
I love to write. I get high off of language, intoxicated by written words. I’m addicted to taking the static in my mind and creating entire worlds from it. That’s why I write, and I publish because I want to share that. I want to contribute stories to that hallucinogenic, swirling mass of creativity that entertains and challenges the mind. I don’t feel the need for anyone to tell me what yarns to spin or tales to tell. I pull the strings, I make the puppets dance, I entertain the crowd.
Yes, indie publishing is damned hard. Yes, it demands more attention, more business savvy, more understanding of the craft and sometimes more financial investment. But the tools are relatively easy, and the support is readily available if one knows the difference between a resource and a scam. (Beware, the waters are rough for the uninitiated.) Amazon changed the game with its Kindle Direct program, and others have followed suit in different ways. It’s a matter of choice now. Authors have options that weren’t even around a decade ago. We can now independently provide quality work that rivals and sometimes surpasses those offered by traditional publishers. And that in itself is a marvel.
I’m not a bestselling author. I haven’t quit my day job. I’m not one of those stories that go viral online, telling you how easy it is to get rich selling books. It’s not easy. It takes work, grit, determination, ego, and a bit of luck to gain a solid, regular audience. I’m working on it. Day by day, week by week, month by month. I don’t have to look behind and wonder or second guess my decision.
It’s the future that catches my gaze.
What’s your journey been like? Hit me up in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
My name is Bard Constantine, and if you’re reading this you already know that Bard Writes Books.