How about a fiction escape during these non-fiction times?

I had a different topic picked for today but when I found out about #IndieApril this morning to help self-published, independent authors, I knew this had to be today’s topic. I had no idea this is a thing! So what is #IndieApril? This entire month you’ll find independent authors blogging, tweeting, posting, etc…, their work. Poetry, short stories, non-fiction, fiction, and all genres, out there for the world to see and hopefully, read. Before you wrinkle your nose at the idea of reading an indie author’s work, please humor me and read on.

I get it, as an indie author myself, I get all kind of responses from people when they find out that little tidbit. I didn’t plan to be an indie author. In fact, I sent my book Facade out to many of the traditional publishing houses. I spent almost three-years researching, sending out queries, uploading sample chapters to submittable.com. I didn’t have an agent so there were very few that accepted these. I read in Stephen King’s A Memoir of the Craft, On Writing, you don’t hire an agent until you’re published. Of course I’m going to follow the advice of one of the world’s most successful (and my favorite) writers. I would hire an agent once I was published. I had no plans to self-publish.

When I received my first rejection letter (see photo), I was so nervous when I opened the envelope, but then, I smiled. What a nice letter! After a few more similar letters, and then waiting over 18-months from my submittable.com queries to move from ‘in process’, I decided to go it alone; September 1, 2019, that was my deadline. I wanted to be sure everything was just right so I read books, Googled the process, etc… and then released on December 31, 2019.

I knew from doing my research, not all indie authors go to these lengths, but there are quite few who have. I’ve read many that were littered with grammar and punctuation errors (mine at first was too until I hired a professional editor), obvious DIY covers, and formatting that screamed, ‘I have no idea how to format a book‘. You’ve probably seen some of them as well and that’s why you wrinkled your nose.

I’m asking you now, to try again. Why? Here’s a list of the Best Seller self-published authors you probably didn’t know that’s how they started:

  • Christopher Paolini – Inheritance Cycle YA-fantasy series
  • Andy Weir – The Martian (yes, that one they made a movie about staring Matt Damon
  • Lisa Genova – Still Alice (New York Times Bestseller)
  • E L James – Fifty Shades of Grey (Kid you not!)
  • Amanda Hocking – My Blood Approves
  • Jennifer Wilson – The New World Series

I’m sure you recognize one or two on that list. So see, there are some gems out there. Don’t you want to be one of the first to read tomorrow’s next Best Seller? The next Fifty Shades? During these hard times, how good will you feel knowing you helped an independent author reach that status?

So here’s what I suggest… First, search the #IndieApril hashtag. If you have a specific genre you like to read, add that hashtag to your search (list below of most widely used ones.). I know you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but you know you’re going to be looking over quite a few books, and it will be the cover that most likely will make you stop and read the blurb. Another reason why indie authors, you need to have a professional cover made.

Most authors will make a sample available for you to read on the major distributors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc…). Download it, what do you have to lose? You’ll know right away if (1) you like the writing style, and (2) if it’s been professionally edited. Any self-published author, who truly believes in their product, will invest as much as they possibly can in their work. Professional editing is expensive, (mine cost over $3,300.00) and I myself am guilty of missing this very important step and it cost me, big time. It wasn’t so much the savings as it was the well-meaning friends and family who insisted they could edit and proof read for me. Well-meaning friends and family… STOP IT! If you want to help, pool your resources so they can get a professional edit.

If you’re still with me, I hope that means you’re considering giving a self-published, indie author a chance. With most of us home, it’s a great time to find a great read. It’s a great time to help your new favorite indie author reach that coveted Best Seller status. Heck, it’s time to find your favorite indie author. #IndieApril… let’s make it trend.

Book Genre Hashtags

  • #romance
  • #crime
  • #fiction
  • #histfic and #histnovel (historical fiction)
  • #kidlit (children’s literature)
  • #litfic (literary fiction)
  • #nonfiction
  • #scifi
  • #womensfiction
  • #suspense
  • #paranormal
  • #poetry
  • #erotica
  • #shortreads

Melody Saleh’s debut novel Facade, Things Aren’t Always as the Appear, is available at all major book distributors. ebook and paperback

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