I’m going to start this by saying I’m not a big author. I’m a small, indie author who loves to pour my heart and soul into my books.
Years ago, I got the idea to write a book. It was after my first child was born and I said I wanted to write a children’s book. I never did. Then my second child was born and I fell back in love with reading, especially romance. But I never imagined my love of reading would put me on the path to being an author and publishing books.
The indie world wasn’t new to me, but the author side was scary in the beginning.
Who am I kidding? It’s still scary.
With a great support system, it’s possible to move beyond that fear and put your work out there. I was very fortunate when I started writing to have amazing friends who had already published independently and who helped me every step of the way. I will forever be grateful for their support and guidance.
Every time I publish a book, I get very anxious. Even after publishing 10 novels and novellas, nerves still wrack me every release day. But with all those nerves comes the great feeling of putting a new book out there. A book that I can only hope someone reads and loves.
Being in Control of Your Books
As an indie author, I’m in control of everything and that’s the biggest perk for me. I control who edits, proofreads, designs my covers—I get to have a say in it all. On top of that, all royalties come directly to me. Those are huge factors for me.
As an indie author, you have a lot open to you. You can have your audiobooks published through ACX. You can sign contracts for foreign translations—or not sign them. The possibilities are endless.
It does come with its own frustrations. There’s a lot of trial and error. Does this promotion work? Will I sell well in this genre? Am I wasting money if I change things up? Will it be beneficial to use this site to promote a sale of one of my backlist titles? I’m constantly learning and researching. I’m a sponge and absorb as much as I can to better myself.
Another aspect I love about being an indie author is that I’m in control of what I write. The only guidelines I have are the ones I set for myself. I’m a firm believer that there are no rules for writing romance. Others disagree and that’s fine. It’s what makes us individuals. I love writing books that are different than others out there. Ones that don’t follow the rules and buck the trend. I write for me. If I don’t love it, how can expect anyone else to?
Write for Yourself…and for Your Audience
I write romance. Everything from new adult to fantasy. My first book was a contemporary romantic suspense. I was thrilled when people bought and read it. No, not everyone loved it, and I had to develop a thick skin, but I think this is something every author has to deal with. You’ll get bad reviews. People will hate your books. And you know what? That’s okay. For every person that hates it, someone else loves it.
Writing in different genres and subgenres excites me. I love variety. My fantasy series, the Iridescent Realm, allows me to expand and create even more. The freedom in fantasy is what I enjoy most. I can make up creatures; my realm can appear however I wish. My only boundaries are in my mind.
When I decided to write fantasy, I was worried about my current readers being turned off, since I was stepping out of what I had written prior. I had only published contemporary, new adult, and erotica up to that point. Fantasy was a whole new beast. Would my readers follow? Would they give my fantasy book a chance?
Guess what? They did! Readers who never read fantasy tried my book and loved it. I eased them into it with Book One, The Azure Kingdom. It’s a mix of contemporary and fantasy. The reader isn’t completely immersed in the fantasy world off the bat. Book Two, The Pine Forest, is different. The contemporary elements are no longer there. It’s set in my realm and it’s pure fantasy. Well, that and a heavy dose of romance. That’s my plan for the rest of the series as well.
One thing remains consistent in every book I write: romance. I enjoy writing about characters who are in search of love and find it. Ones who are broken and fight to be whole. Characters who are tested and must battle for what they want. When I write a character that starts at the bottom, miserable with their life, and have them find their true love, it makes me sigh blissfully and smile wide. I love getting them to their happily ever after.
Emotion is another factor in a lot of my books. If I can pour my heart into a book and infuse it with real emotions that the reader can feel through my words, that’s my biggest reward. My new adult books are heavy on emotion. Where I End, Daylight Follows, and Floating all deal with real-world subjects and are infused with romance. When my readers message me or post reviews stating my books brought tears to their eyes and left them clutching their e-readers, I know I did something right.
Take Risks with Your Writing
I take risks when I write. I turn the tables on my characters. I make a female the alpha. I make a male the abuse victim. I do things differently.
That’s not to say I don’t write alpha men and women who deal with serious issues. In fact, most of my men are alphas, but they aren’t the kind you want to throat punch for being the biggest dicks in the world. Okay, maybe some start out that way, but I’ll have you loving them by the last page. And my women are all strong in their own ways.
I’ve been on this author journey for three years now. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. With the highs come the lows. With the joyous moments come others when I doubt myself and what I’m writing. Self-doubt is something I battle all the time. I also deal with severe anxiety and depression and have for years. I have panic attacks daily and they get worse when I’m stressed. There are days when writing is a struggle and others where the words pour out and flow through my fingers to the keyboard. I use writing as an outlet to help me cope with my anxiety. It’s a great tool for me.
Being an author is something I love with my whole heart. Sure, there are days I want to rip out my hair and scream, but that tells me that I’m passionate about what I’m doing. I want to write well and write often. I go to sleep with my characters holding full conversations in my head and wake up remembering the dreams I had with clarity. I take little bits of life and give it to my characters.
I write because I love it. I also do it to sate the voices in my head and share my stories with the world. If I had to give a new author advice, it would be to write from your heart and always go with your gut. Write for you. Take chances. You won’t know how something will go until you try.
I, for one, am thrilled I decided to write and publish my work.
Want to check out Michelle’s work? You can pick up Persuading Him (The Heiress #1) for free for a limited time (through Sept. 9, 2017):
For more inspiration on your author journey, read on!
- What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing
- My Journey from Traditional Publishing to Self Publishing on Kindle
- How to Become a Professional Writer or Author: 6 Things Pros Do That Separate Them from the Pack
Latest posts by Michelle Dare (see all)
- Write from the Heart and Take Some Risks: My Path to Indie Publishing - September 6, 2017