Here in the U.S., we're settling into the Thanksgiving holiday. It's a welcome opportunity to put the stress and chaos of the modern world on hold, eat an obscene amount of carbs while avoiding political arguments with our families, and take inventory of everything good in our lives.
My fellow authors, we have a lot of blessings to count. So what am I thankful for as an indie author?
I'm thankful for opportunities.
Undeniably, self-publishing has opened doors that have long been barred to most authors. Today's indie authors have unfettered access to diverse audiences, to niche audiences, to audiences who eagerly consume the fiction and nonfiction and poetry and stories that would be deemed a poor fit by large, traditional publishers.
Yes, that transgressive paranormal dieselpunk romance second-person nonlinear narrative written entirely in iambic pentameter has an enthusiastic audience! A small, somewhat strange audience perhaps, but they're out there, waiting for your book.
Indie authors have the opportunity to find or even create the right audience for their work instead of trying to shape it to fit a particular market. That's given a voice to new talent and unique voices rarely heard before.
Best of all, Author Earning's May 2016 report revealed thousands of indie authors earning a respectable living from their writing, and hundreds — hundreds! — earning six- and seven-figure incomes on Amazon alone. That's a dream many of us are still chasing, but it's an increasingly achievable dream thanks to the self-publishing Renaissance.
I'm thankful for freedom of the indie author.
Writing can be done anywhere. I've wrestled with dialogue in my living room; I've pecked out action sequences on the keyboard of my phone while the tropical fish of Maui darted past my toes; I've dictated fiction on a Los Angeles bus. (Not recommended for writers of erotica or murder mysteries, although it does guarantee you a seat on even the most crowded bus.)
It can be mentally exhausting work, but the flexibility of being an indie author is unparalleled. Can you name another industry in which you can start a business on a shoestring, work in your pajamas, and potentially generate enough money to buy a new house?
I'm thankful for technology.
This week, I prepared a manuscript for publication.
I instructed an electrified box full of chips and wires to organize it for me. Without complaint, that box read through the manuscript in the blink of an eye, pointed out a mistake, helpfully suggested a correction, then hunted down and eliminated 14 instances of that error.
With a few more taps of my index finger, I attached beautiful artwork created by an artisan halfway around the world, asked another assembly of wires and chips to check my work, and then sent it to more people than there are grains of sand in an hourglass.
That's freaking magic, and we are all wizards.
I'm thankful for shared knowledge.
We are truly blessed to live in a world where the brilliance and hard-won experience of publishing experts is available at the click of a mouse. These experts don't just profit from their expertise, they share it freely with other authors in the spirit of cooperation that's the hallmark of indie authors.
A comprehensive list of these experts would be impossible to compile, but I would be remiss if I didn't highlight a few of the most generous members of the indie author community: ALLi founders Orna Ross and Philip Lynch, the masterful entrpreneur Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn), advertising guru Mark Dawson (Self-Publishing Formula), fellow watchdogs David Gaughran (Let's Get Digital) and Victoria Strauss (Writer Beware), international publisher Mark Williams (The International Indie Author), data analysts Hugh Howey and Data Guy (Author Earnings), indie author shepherds Valerie Douglas and D. Kai Wilson (Indie Author Group), the delightfully profane Chuck Wendig (Terrible Minds), metadata maven Karen Myers (Hollow Lands), book design pro Joel Friedman (The Book Designer), KDP magician Dave Chesson (Kindlepreneur.com), industry expert Jane Friedman (JaneFriedman.com), engaging podcaster Tim Lewis (Begin Self-Publishing), and word wrangler K.M. Weiland (Helping Writers Become Authors), to name just a few of the brighter stars in our indie constellations.
I'm thankful for you!
Indie authors in general form some of the most supportive groups you'll find, and I'm grateful to our members, staff, and readers for sustaining this wonderful community.
Whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving or just a routine Thursday, take a moment to reflect on what an amazing time it is to be an indie author. I'm thankful to be part of it, and to make this journey together with all of you.
OVER TO YOU
What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments below!