My Favorite Resources for Indie Authors
March marks ten years since my first book - Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives a Damn - was published. It took years to get to that point, a lot longer than I imagined when I first had the idea for the book in the spring of 2006. That was understandable, though, because I knew absolutely nothing about publishing and almost nothing about writing. I was beyond fortunate that at my first writing conference in January, 2011, I stumbled into a makeshift group of other writers at a similar stage. They remain among my closest friends and confidants. Along the way, I’ve wasted time and money as we all have, but not nearly as much as I could have had I not been so lucky that weekend.
So, today I thought I’d share some of the resources that have helped me the most, in the hopes that writers reading this can also benefit.
White Writers: Sharing Memes is Not Enough
There have been countless discussions - in person, online, on TV - about how white people can be effective allies for people of color. These are not always easy conversations.
Last fall, I attended a one-day conference on race in the HIV community. At least 85% of the attendees and speakers were black; I was conspicuously in the minority. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the discussions made me a little uncomfortable at times, even a bit defensive once or twice. That’s okay. I don’t believe these should be comfortable conversations.
Aside from the #PublishingPaidMe thread on Twitter (which has been eye-opening but not surprising), what other ways can white writers be effective allies...
Still Connected, Even if Not Physically
Last week I was in New York, for what would turn out to be a five-day visit instead of a three-week trip to four cities. I’d been there less than 48 hours when the emails started popping up: cancellations and rescheduling. The one event that wasn’t cancelled was drastically downsized. My hotel was emptying quickly, crowds were disappearing. Everyone was scared. What would have been a busy and lucrative month was now a financial disaster. Fear of the unknown - and so much is unknown about COVID-19 - overwhelmed every other consideration.
Still, I remained oddly calm. All...
Writer's Block...or is it?
I didn’t write a blog post last week.
Writer’s block is something that most - if not all - writers experience at some time. Even non-writers recall the panic of sitting down to write a term paper and having no idea where to begin.
A writer friend of mine described her situation as scraping the bottom of the barrel. I’ve read her scrapings. We should all be so lucky to write scrapings like hers.
What if it’s not writer’s block? What if it’s something else?
It may be news to some, but writers are human beings. Their lives are filled with the usual things: relationships, bills, traffic, grocery shopping, doctor appointments. Sometimes those things run smoothly. Sometimes they...
The Right Writing Conference for Me
First, obviously, it was for indie authors. At other writing conferences, anyone who self-publishes is usually looked down on or ignored. The assumption is that you’re only doing ‘that’ (self-publishing) because you’re not good enough for a traditional deal or you’re hoping to attract a ‘real’ publisher. There’s a hierarchy, both implied and spoken.
So the atmosphere was very different at IndieLab. It was a much smaller conference than the mammoth WDC weekend. The size was a terrific advantage: no long...
Writing vs. Marketing
I’ve been self-employed most of my adult life. I’ve worked at home with bulky word processors and fax machines, from 800 numbers to social media accounts. Writing, to me, has always been a business: not necessarily very lucrative, but a business nonetheless.
Recently I attended Writer’s Digest Conference in New York. WDC was my first writing conference in 2011 and I go back every year. Because of the constant changes in publishing, there is always a lot to learn. I take notes on my netbook during every session. If something is discussed that I need to apply to my own writing or business practices, I type it in boldface. Those are assembled into a new, intimidating to-do...
The Last Blog Post of 2017
Like many of you, I’m a bit over-committed these days: presents to wrap (assuming they’re already bought), cards to mail, travel arrangements to finalize.
I started writing this blog post last week. It included a bunch of year-end helpful hints. And then I decided I wasn’t going to do that. Social media is full of year-end helpful hints. What I really needed to do was, well, look back.
Last December I was in rehab for my broken writing hand. I was still doing things with my left hand only: not just personal care but decorating the Christmas tree. Yes, I put on the ornaments and tinsel without breaking anything else, which was kind of a miracle....
Indie Authors, Libraries and Discoverability
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
Some people will say it’s the writing itself. Others insist it’s the editing process. But most will agree that the hardest part is figuring out how to be discovered by eager readers.
The challenge – no matter how they publish – is for their book to rise above the ever-increasing numbers of titles published each year. For those of us who are indie authors, it is daunting.
Bowker, the company that issues ISBN numbers to authors in the US, just released their report on 2015. Last year 625,327 indie titles were issued ISBN numbers in the US. That’s over 1,700 each and every day, weekends and holidays included.
Now consider the fact...
Mark Your Calendar for Indie Author Day
Authors want to see their books in public libraries: actual, physical books. But too often, indie authors are shut out. The reasons are, well, reasonable. The sheer number of indie authors is growing every day. The number of librarians is much smaller. They simply don’t have the time to meet and greet every author who walks in to sell their books.
Purchasing requirements vary from library system to library system. When you’re on your own...
Nonfiction Book Proposals for Indie Authors?
A few years ago I wrote a nonfiction book proposal to submit to agents. That when I assumed I would go the traditional route. That didn't happen.
Now that I've self-published six books (the Friend Grief series), I'm hard at work on the research for a bigger, more complicated book. Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community examines the contributions they made around the world for the past 35 years.
I’m assuming that this will be self-published as well. I have an ongoing crowdfunding campaign through the New York Foundation for the Arts which grants tax-deductions for all contributions. There’s a lot of expense related to the...
Making the Most of Conferences: #BEA16 Edition
Luck. Because of the change in venue, a number of people I usually meet up with were not in attendance. The number of attendees, as well as the square-footage...