It is easy for an Indie author to become discouraged by the challenges that come from various sources. It’s a tough gig sometimes, especially for someone who is new to the world of self-publishing.
So how do we develop and maintain a thriving and motivated Indie author community that we all want to be part of?
These are the key behaviours we need to adopt and make regular habits:
Encourage each otherRead each other’s work
Give honest, constructive feedbackHelp each other achieve excellence
Share each other’s work and social media posts
Be professional about every phase of the writing, editing, publishing and marketing process.
Be free and liberal with sharing insights, experience and knowledge that will help those who are new to our community.
How do I know these things work?
The more time you spend in the community, the clearer the divide between those who do them and those who don’t.
Those Indies who already do these things consistently demonstrate that they are are the most engaged, motivated and productive authors. They are positive and proactive.
Most significantly, they express joy in doing these things. You can’t fake or manufacture that.
Those who don’t support others are more likely to express jealousy and resentment in response to the success of others. They are more likely to be critical and competitive.
And those who adopt the “success at any cost” will be far more likely to turn to less ethical avenues of advancement. It is from this small, murky pool that those willing to cheat the system will emerge.
All in all, that doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me. I want my books to sell because they are good, not because I am pretending to be something I am not.
Further to yesterday’s post about illegal book sharing sites, I thought it a good idea to state plainly where my books should— and should not—be found.
My books are all available on reputable ebook sites: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Google Play, and the like.
They are not legally available anywhere for free.
As I have openly stated previously, I do not believe in making my books available for free, nor do I accept books for free, because I strongly feel that authors should be paid for their work just like everyone else.
Creating something excellent takes time, energy, and commitment. When a creator asserts their copyright and other creative rights over their intellectual property, it is their legal prerogative to place a purchase value on that work.
If a work of art, a book, a song or a movie are worth enjoying and owning, they are worth paying for.
Indeed, I find the concept of someone claiming to be a lover of books, yet avoiding paying for a single one, hypocritical to say the least.
To prosper by catering to those people? Despicable.
You’d be surprised the number of times I get asked that question. As in at least five times a day. I get asked lots of questions every day as it pertains to books and audiobooks. So, I decided to put together this handy guide for those individuals who are ‘uncertain’ if they’re on a legitimate book site or not.
Q: How can I tell if I’m on a book pirating site?
A: You might be on an illegal ebook downloading site (AKA book pirating site) if all the books are free. That is your first give away. No legitimate book vendor has 100% free books. The only exception is your local library’s website. Other than that, if every book is FREE then you’re not in the right place. You’re in the wrong place. As in ‘you’re on an…
There has been quite some consternation among Indie authors over past months in various ways that dishonourable people have found to scam the system and get quite rich selling books that are not what they should be, particularly on Amazon, or who steal others’ books and make them available on pirate websites, or plagiarise and “rebrand” them as their own work..
Understandably, those who put a lot of effort into writing and publishing excellent books find such situations discouraging. It’s hard to be upbeat about what we do when others seem to “win” with shortcuts that are plain wrong.
It’s up to us to keep on creating fantastic stories and poetry for the readers out there who crave excellent books.
It’s up to us to hold our heads high, proclaim “I write every word of my books!” and then show the world what we’ve got.
In short, it’s up to us to show the cheaters and scammers how it should be done.
Nobody but honest and hard-working authors can restore the faith of readers in Indoe and self publishing. The only way to do that is to maintain a premium of quality in the books on the shelves in stores, libraries and homes all over the world.
We may have to work harder, smarter and cleaner than ever before. Still, we’ve had to do that in order to give traditional publishing a good shake, and we’ve certainly achieved that.
We Indies have so much to offer. We have each other for support and an entire future that is yet to be shaped ahead of each of us.
I refuse to quit. I refuse to let the scammers win. Who’s with me?
Phoenix Project is a new and very exciting series of community events coming to my home town of Cobden, Victoria.
Phoenix Project really is the perfect name. Almost a year ago, Cobden, Camperdown, Terang, and much of the surrounding area was either destroyed or threatened by bushfires. Homes and livestock were lost – but miraculously, no lives. Our town, and those others nearby, emerged covered in soot and smelling of smoke, but determined to recover and keep on going as we always have done before.
That’s something I’ve had to do in my own life, too. I’ve been through some pretty tough seasons when it felt like my life was burning down around me. Yet I’ve emerged, covered in soot, and smelling of smoke and… you get the idea. As I observed last night, I’m a bit of a phoenix myself.
There’s no doubt the fires were an absolutely awful experience for everyone involved. But we got through it.
And those hard times in my life – I’ve come out braver and stronger than I’ve ever been. Well – mentally and emotionally, at least. My spine would tell you a different story.
I was very privileged to be one of the featured artists on the opening night of The Phoenix Project, alongside outstanding blues musician Alister Turril and Josh and Yas, spoken word artists from lowercase poetry in Geelong.
I shared some of the poems from ‘Smoke and Shadows’ that I wrote during and after the St Patrick’s Day fires, followed by some of my fantasy style poems because I didn’t want my bracket to be too heavy or confronting for a largely local audience.
The poems I shared all focused one way or another on the idea of resilience, and getting through the trials of life stronger and wiser than on the way in.
It was a great night. The music was cool, the poetry was powerful and thought-provoking, and the tone of the evening was 100% positive.
Phoenix Project continues this weekend with a great lineup of musicians and artists to feed the soul of everyone who comes along.
I want to acknowledge my people: the ones who always encourage, who support me in everything I do, who get excited about my victories and achievements and commiseratewith me in my disappointments.
It’s more than simply liking me, or my work, or thinking I am good at what I do: they believe in me. That is a peculiar kind of magic that cannot be worked by the insincere or the doubters.
These people are incredibly rare, yet I am blessed enough to have more than a handful of them in my life: my husband, my best friends, my Indie Fabs author posse and a select few other friends and fellow authors.
Some may think it is only natural that my husband would support me, but it’s a luxury that not all creatives enjoy. The same goes for friends and families. As I mentioned in my post the other day, some people just don’t like it when you do something out of the ordinary.
In fact, it’s the apparent apathy or disdain of the many that makes the support and encouragement of the few so powerful.
It’s important to me that I am openly and honestly thankful to each member of my tribe. I would likely have given up long ago without them. An integral part of who I am would be lying dormant, and life would be less colourful and interesting. Just the thought of that is awful.
So, to each one of those magical people: thank you. I value and appreciate you. I love you. And I believe in you, too.
I love tulips. They are lovely and graceful, and so colourful!
My goodness, though, they’re delicate. It doesn’t take much to make a tulip wilt and bend its head to the ground. One might be tempted to think that a flower that needs to have its bulb frozen during winter in order to bloom might be a little more resilient… but apparently not.
I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the people in my circles— not all, but a hefty percentage of them— are like tulips. As long as the environment suits them, they are fine, but when they are unhappy for some reason, they just don’t cope. It doesn’t take much to upset the balance: just do something they find confronting. The more brave and nonconformist the act, the stronger the effect.
Don’t get me wrong: I do like most of the people in my circles.
What I don’t like is having to kowtow to their apparent discomfort about certain things that matter to me, when they demonstrate zero tolerance to who and what I am.
I am weary of having to live with the perpetual awareness that many people I know don’t mind me being an author as long as I never mention it. Some wouldn’t mind my multiple ear piercings either if I grew my hair longer to cover them. Others don’t mind my tattoos as long as my clothes hide them. They feign politeness when I talk about the theatre company I’m in or the musicals I direct at school, but very few of them have ever bought a ticket and come to see a show. And let’s not even start on how they feel about my political views.
And yes. Those very different things get exactly the same reaction from a lot of people.
It’s ridiculous, and I’m over it.
I am not less than them. I do not matter less than they do. My feelings, thoughts, passions and pursuits matter just as much as theirs do. I am as worthy of their interest and respect as they are of mine.
And I am very proud of my poetry and my stories… and of my shows. I’m rather fond of my tattoos and piercings too, for that matter.
What I write happens to be pretty darned good: all those reviews my books receive from strangers are proof of that. Why should I hide my work under a cloak of secrecy when they can freely discuss being a builder, a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker?
Nobody looks at them with thinly veiled suspicion. Nobody questions if what they build or make is any good. Nobody asks how much money they make per job. Nobody asks if their kids are real, or if they are any good. They are all quite free and welcome to talk about their kids in front of me even though I don’t have any, and I certainly don’t respond as though they are trying to sell me a child.
So, no more tiptoeing around. I won’t be shoving a book in their face at every opportunity — that’s not me — but I’m not going to allow others to pretend they don’t exist, either. They don’t have to read my work, but they will know that I expect their respect and acknowledgment.
I will not allow other people to treat me as less than I am.
I will not allow them to suppress my thoughts and feelings. I will call people out on double standards. I will refuse to be made to feel small. I will be as diplomatic and gentle as I can, but I will assert myself.
And if they insist, I will know they are not really my people, and were never really in my circle.
As a teacher of senior high school English and Humanities, the ONE thing I impart to my students every time I assign a task is that they must do their own work. They all know what plagiarism is, and why it is wrong. They understand that, both at school and beyond, it is an act that has serious consequences.
If high school students can grasp this concept and comply, it beggars belief that an author – who also claims to be a lawyer, no less – thought they could get away with stealing the work of other authors, mashing it together, and claiming it as their own.
This week, the revelation has been made — and proven — that one person has done exactly that.
It didn’t take long for the Twitterverse to light up with the scandal, and the flames of shock and indignation soon spread to other social media. The fires are still burning, and it seems there is plenty of fuel.
I am not going to recount the whole story here – for all the sordid details, you can google #CopyPasteCris or search for that tag on Twitter.
It is sufficient to say that upon being discovered and accused, #CopyPasteCris promptly defended her integrity and blamed the whole fiasco on the ghostwriters she hired on Fiverr.
Seriously? Even if the plagiarism was done by someone else, the books were published in her name, she agreed to the publishing terms of service as the creator and owner of the work, and she received the royalties of every copy sold. I am confident that I am not alone in thinking that this is on her and nobody else.
Here’s the thing.
Even if one hires ghost writers, why on earth would she not still read the finished book before publishing it?
Upon reading it, how on earth would she not realise that there were inconsistencies of style and plot… and fix them?
How did her editor not catch it?
Or… did she not bother with an editor?
And if she doesn’t have an editor, what quality control does she have in place for her books?
What makes her think she is smart enough to get away with repeated, blatant plagiarism when her readers also read the authors that have been plagiarized?
Was she never taught right from wrong? Did she ever actually think about the consequences of her actions?
Perhaps the biggest question, though, is how did it take so long for this to be discovered?
As an Indie author who does, in fact, write all her own material, , the entire situation leaves me furious. This one person has thrown the integrity of every honest, hard-working and worthy-of-being-read Indie author into question.
This behavior is the kind of thing that justifies in the minds of the traditional-publishing-snobs the various stigmas that good quality Indie authors have been working so hard to overcome: sloppy writing, books riddled with errors, and people playing at being legitimate authors when they are not.
As a reader, I am offended and outraged. Just how stupid do people like this think their readers are?
Although I fear it is not, I hope this is an isolated case.
And I hope every author who was plagiarized lawyers up and sues #CopyPasteCris for every penny they deserve.
Joanne is an Australian writer of horror, poetry, and occasionally fantasy stories. Her tag line is ‘Poetry with soul. Horror with none.”
She lives near Warrnambool in regional Victoria, Australia, with her husband and two furbabies. She spends four days a week teaching senior high school English, History and Drama/Production. She is an active member and performer in Camperdown Theatre Company. Her hobbies include reading, music, travel and photography.
Joanne loves travelling, and has visited many places in Australia as well as holidaying in New Zealand, Fiji, the USA and Canada at different times. Other than Australia, eastern Canada is her favourite place in the world, and she’s proud to have been adopted as an ‘honorary Canadian’.
Joanne is the author of thought-provoking and profound poetry, horror and short stories. She has won a number of awards for her books ‘New Horizons’, ‘Nova’ and ‘The Silver Feather’.
Joanne writes horror with a strong element of poetic justice, especially those stories that focus on Friday, a magical black cat with a devilishly strong sense of right and wrong. Other stories explore various types of horror – fright, the unexplained, fear of the unknown, and the macabre.
The Silver Feather
A graveyard. A talisman. A confrontation with evil personified.
When Phil loses the girl he loves, life as he knows it comes to a screeching halt. Little does he realise that there is so much more yet to be lost.
A haunting, macabre tale that will please all lovers of horror and dark fiction.
Reader Review: ” A delightful tale that begins in the prosaic world of unrequited high school romance, only to suddenly veer into a shadowed realm of loss, violence and evil. Van Leerdam’s writing is crisp and insightful, her protagonist achingly real, and I guarantee you will devour this dark confection in a single sitting. Highly recommended.” on Amazon
Lac du Mort and Other Stories
From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.
These macabre tales that will make you look over your shoulder at moments you never expected to.
Reader Review: “Well written, fresh horror grabbing at the reader from a the first story. A few tales stab at the mind, some tear away at blood and bone. We get one visit to hell. I am a fan.” on Amazon
Stories about a magical black cat, superstition and strange events. Friday is a black cat with a lucky habit of being present when curious things take place.He’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and devilishly handsome.
Curious Things delivers thirteen stories of people encountering justice for their wrongdoings, all as Friday watches on. Is he responsible? Or is it just lucky coincidence that he is present when these strange events take place?
If you’ve ever wished for karma to move a little faster, indulged in uncharitable thoughts about certain annoying people, or suspected that having a black cat cross your path was not quite as unlucky as people seem to think, this book is for you.
Reader Review: “Vengeance may be sweet—but, meting out justice vigilante-style just isn’t practical. Then along comes Friday, a black cat whose intelligence and curiosity gets the better of those who deserve their just desserts. Obvious or implied, Friday shows up where the wrath of Biblical justice is called for. And, it’s so gratifying to watch the gruesome details unfold!” on Amazon
Sylvermoon Chronicles is an annual short story anthology created by The Confederacy of the Quill, an international writers’ cooperative. I am very proud to have one of my stories, Contaminus, included in the 2019 issue of this highly regarded anthology series.
While the book releases on Valentines Day, it should not be mistaken for a romance collection.
Rather, I like to think of it as a gift for those who, like me, would sooner read genres other than lovey-dovey romance, and a welcome distraction from all the kissy-face sentimentality often associated with February 14th. The Sylvermoon Chronicles series features stories in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Adventure.
It is an honor to be published in a series which I have very much enjoyed as a reader, alongside a number of authors whose work I have previously read, reviewed and fangirled over. I was both excited and slightly surprised when my story was accepted, especially given the inspiration behind the writing of Contaminus.
New worlds await you in the newest Sylvermoon Chronicles collection, which hit the shelves today. The ebook is widely available now, and the paperback will be available soon.