When Terri Giuliano Long emailed me yesterday and asked if I would help promote the spirit of her post today on Huffington Post (not up yet so no link) about the stigma against Indie Authors, I immediately said yes. Her posts on Novel Publicity and IndieReader.com are always so eloquent and researched with like references to smart people and stuff. And then recently she ran a whole Indie Pride event on her blog and is doing all kinds of stuff for the community. So when she asked me, while my first answer was yes, my second thought was Good Lord, what does she want ME for?
Lets be honest kids. I don’t play well with others. I have strong opinions and I rarely remember that perhaps I shouldn’t share them. In someways that’s a good thing. My consulting clients with Novel Publicity always know I’ll tell them the truth and exactly what I think. They know they can trust me. And because they’re the client, if they tell me to bugger off I do! But when I’m the client, whoa nelly, watch out. Any designer or artist who has worked with me *cough*Mallory Rock*cough* can tell you that I am a difficult client. I like things a certain way and I know just enough to know what I want but not enough to always articulate it well. Plus, I get pissy when things aren’t perfect. Kind of makes me sound like an artist or something…
So how does that apply here? Well, it applies because I don’t like following the rules. Even little things, I take a certain pride in finding ways to skirt the “have to”s. In that way I embody a certain aspect of the Indie Spirit. I don’t want to tone down my language and I don’t want to pick one genre. And I don’t think I should have to.
When I first started working on Shadow on the Wall I talked to a few agents and publishers. Nothing went very far though because without even reading my work I was told I was going to have to “be careful” and “tread lightly.” Now that’s just not who I am. In Shadow the violence is an important part of the story. In fact, it’s really another character. I’m very honest and open about the fact that this is an adult book. There is a pretty explicit rape scene in the first 20% of the book which is essential to the plot and character development. And it’s written in this was on purpose. I have no interest in sanitizing my work because it might offend. If I offend you, fine, please tell me I at least got you thinking.
So, without making any headway or really even being interested in trying, I stopped looking for an agent or publisher. I hooked up with Jessica Swift at Swift Ink Editorial Services and with her help, along with some amazing friends who braved the dark recesses of my mind to help me shape the story, put together something I am extremely proud of.
Were I with a publisher, the book would be completely different. Maybe the sheltered and emotionally damaged Muslim boy and nice Jewish girl would have gotten married and dealt with cultural conflict. It would have probably been a good book. But it would be a very different book and I’m pretty damn happy with the one I’ve got.
So what’s the Indie Spirit? What’s my Indie Pride? Well, for me it’s doing whatever the fuck I want. I swear, deal with it. I write erotica, deal with it. I write love stories, deal with it. I’m Religious/Spiritual and I talk openly about my beliefs, deal with it. I write horror and love Twilight and will read anything with alien sex in it and I don’t think I should have to change any of those things just to sell a book. The sanitation of literature in the YA movement of the past few years has turned me off. I don’t want to write something tame and marketable. I want to write something that will move you. I want to poke at your conscience and pull at your emotions. I want my reviews to be filled with words like heartfail and lyrical and beautiful and disturbing.
Being Indie gives me the ability to be difficult, to not worry about sales margins or profitability analysis. I write what I feel, I write who I am. I write all about the fucked up, crazy ass, painful and sometimes beautiful things in my mind. I write about love and hope and dreams and more than anything I write about you. I write about readers and people and I want to connect. Don’t tell me to tone it down or try this not that. I don’t want to connect to agents. I want to connect to you.