Indie Pride: I’ve never played well with others #indierocks

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.

11 Comments

  1. “I write all about the fucked up, crazy ass, painful and sometimes beautiful things in my mind.”

    I love this – because, really, if you can’t do that, are you a writer or a desk clerk?

    Great article – I love the #indierocks idea. It’s a choice, not a last chance.

    • Pavarti K Tyler

      May 16, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Thanks Donna, I sometimes refer to writing as a form of exorcism :) I was never meant to be a desk clerk, that’s for sure! I love this initiative. Thanks for your help putting it together.
      Pav

  2. 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.

    This could be me, were I more literate and published.
    I am obliged to warn for all the content in my stories, and do so; in fact I would do it simply to weed out those who might read and then feel they have the right to flame me for the subject matter.
    I will not self-censor.
    I do have readers who will come through the door, and I find them to be intelligent, deep-thinkers with a great deal of empathy. Those are the people I write for.

    Thank-you for this.

    • Pavarti K Tyler

      May 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Thanks Siân! I too try to be open about the content of my materials. Some are 13+ some are 18+ but they all have a certain je ne sai quais if you will :) I have an erotic horror short out that I’m always telling people, if you don’t want to read it, that’s fine, no offense at all. I’m proud of it and it’s good, but it’s not for everyone.
      Pav

  3. Thank you so much for your kind words, Pav! Your support means a lot to me – and I’m touched by your generosity!

    Yours is an intelligent, powerful voice. Your courage, that you’re unwilling to bend, inspires me. Like you, I believe writing is about dialogue and connection. If we achieve this, we succeed as writers.

    You are the face of indie publishing today. Thank you so much for this gorgeous, inspiring post!

  4. “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.”

    Exactly. Adult books shouldn’t contain censored language or content. Isn’t that why we’re reading material meant for grown-ups and not YA?

    No offense to the YA crowd. I’m just saying: if you picked up a book for adults, don’t be surprised if there’s some cussing. Or maybe a fuckload of it. There is, after all, an art to coming up with terms like “douche canoe” and “postal worker fatback” (which, actually, wasn’t meant as an insult, but does sound like a good one).

  5. Awesome post, Pavarti. Even though I write MG/YA literature (for now!), I agree with the level of creative control and ability to do things how I want to do them. I can’t imagine how drastically different my Toonopolis world would be if it passed through the hands of a traditional publisher.

    “Let’s not call it the Black Light District and what’s with the woman who clearly runs a brothel.”

    “No, cause that’s part of Toonopolis.”

    “But it’s not for kids.”

    “I know, that’s why Jimbob the Talking Eggplant doesn’t want to take Gemini there. But it is important to the story. It’s a joke above the kid’s level for adults, the same way that happens in numerous cartoons and animated movies.”

    “But…It’s not for kids.”

    “Sure it is. You’re lucky I didn’t write in Hentaitown as a sub-section of Animetown like I originally planned. Leave me alone and give me my book back.”

    Yeah, I’m happy with my path. :)

  6. And I get to talk about loving your enemies as a solution for bullying. The mainstream will probably call it naive etc etc. It’s a sad society when you have to have courage to talk about love in a profound way, but the YA stuff coming out now is pretty heavy, no place for anything remotely like my writing in any of them. That’s why ‘Give me a Break’ has to be Indie.

  7. Hi Pavarti,

    Thank you for such an open and honest account of your experience as an Indie author. It’s inspiring and liberating.
    We could have written a similar story about how Cecilia and I got where we are. The more I look at it, the happier I am with the final results we achieved. And it *is* an achievement. Being indie means not only a lot of hard work but that you need to have a lot of determination and persistence. In the end, the work you release to the world is *your* work. Not a Frankenstein’d version of the story you dreamed of, not an boxed-up, written-with-the-market-in-mind story that fits nicely into a slot somewhere on a publishers shelf. It’s your tale to tell and yeah, it might not reach Amanda Hocking’s success or sales level, but to us, each public review or comments made in private telling us how much the reader enjoyed our story has been a wonderful compensation for the work we put in. Have we spent more than what we earned? Definitely! Have we had fun along the way? Definitely! It’s a rough and bumpy road but we are enjoying every second on it. One of our great friends and avid reader shared Terri’s article on Facebook with the following heading: “Two of my good friends have self published and I think their book is better than a lot of books published by big name publishers.” Her comment fills me with Indie Pride.

    Cheers!

    Chris

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