Indie Week: Chelsea M. Cameron on Why She Went Indie

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Why did I go Indie? That is the question. Here’s my really long and slightly rambling answer.

I never wanted to be a writer growing up, but I always loved books. I’m an only child and we live in a rural area without a lot of friends around. I was also a really weird kid. Looking back, if the internet would have been around, my childhood might have been different. I would have found my “tribe” earlier instead of in my 20’s.

So I grew up loving books, but hating to write. I’m not sure when that changed exactly, but I had several teacher that encouraged my writing and told me I had talent. I always loved words, the way they tasted and sounded. I always imagined stories in my head, but I never thought of it as writing. I wasn’t putting words down on paper, so it wasn’t writing. Now that I look back on it, I’ve always been a writer. Fast forward to changing majors for college and I went with journalism because it sounded more credible than English.

Somewhere along my junior year I realized I wanted to write fiction instead of news articles, so I started writing. I had a story idea about a girl who was allergic to other people’s touch, and a boy with uncontrollable rages that took me four years to write. This was going to be my Twilight. I was going to send it to an agent and hit the big time. I edited and re-wrote and tried out query letters and stalked agent web sites. I had only ever heard of “vanity publishing” and that was for suckers.

Fast forward to 2009. During an Amazon search, I came upon the book My Blood Approves, by Amanda Hocking. You’ve all heard of Amanda, right? Well, I thought the cover was weird, so I looked her up and realized she was self published. I did some more research and found J.L. Bryan and Victorine Lieske and Karen McQuestion and Joe Konrath. These people were writing books and selling them without any help from a publisher. Well, that was a revelation to me. I did a massive amount of Googling and blog stalking. I was still working on a query letter, but decided to try a new story. Maybe I could publish under a pen name and make some money and get some feedback before I tried querying. I tried writing a contemporary YA romance and failed miserably.

I saw that Amanda had published a vampire book and it was selling like hotcakes. Well, I had an idea a few years before that about vampire-like creatures that I hadn’t written because I knew no agent would touch it. So I sat down and wrote it. That was in 2011. I wrote a 3 book series about ghosts in March, April and May, and then wrote the second in my vampire series, and the first in a dystopian during NaNoWriMo. Making the decision to Indie publish was the best thing I ever did for productivity. It took me four years to write my first book to completion. Nocturnal was the second book I “completed” and it took me about a year off and on to complete. Nightmare, the second book I published took around 4 months. Whisper, my fourth book and third published took me 2 and a half weeks to write, and a month to edit. I’m getting faster.

This is partially due to the pressure to publish. I stay up late at night thinking how I can get more books out, faster. This doesn’t mean I want to be a book-writing machine. I have three books out this year, with my plan to have out four more. Two of those are already at first draft stage. I don’t outline, so the other two will probably be written in a creative frenzy like my others.

I know this has been said before, but I love the freedom of Indie publishing. I love doing my own covers. Crazy, I know. I’ve discovered this new passion for graphic design that I never thought I would. I love looking at my Amazon stats and watching the line graphs and counting how many books I’ve sold. No, I haven’t made enough money to quit my day job at a bank. Not even close. I’m still trying to recoup my initial investments. But that’s okay. I’ll get there. The only way to fail at this is to stop trying. I have dozens of stories that are waiting their turn to be told. I just can’t wait to share them with people.

The other thing I love about being Indie is the community. Seriously. they are some of the most gracious, amazing people. Also book bloggers. They are the shiz. I’ve “met” so many people that have encouraged me and lifted me up and cheered for my successes, however small. I found this whole group of people who understand what it’s like to live this crazy writing life. For me, that’s worth more money than I could ever put a price on. I adore my fellowIndies.

I’ve only been publishing since February of this year, which is less than six months, but what I’ve learned so far could fill several volumes. I’ll leave you with a few bits of advice I’ve gleaned along the way:

  • It’s never too early to start marketing. I hesitate to say marketing, because I think it freaks people out. I think if it more as connecting with people. It’s never to early to have a blog, Twitter, Facebook, whatever. Connect with other authors and readers and bloggers. Let them get to know you.
  • Go on the Kindleboards. That place is filled with people who have been doing this longer and know more than you do, and are willing to share their experience. They’re also really funny.
  • Don’t skimp on editing. There are affordable editors out there, you just have to find them. I get a professional line edit for under $250. It can be done.
  • Learn formatting BEFORE you want to upload your book. Seriously. Study and practice ahead of time. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches later.
  • Be nice. Be classy. Don’t put other people down. Don’t start flame wars. You’ll just look like an ass, and the internet is FOREVER. You can’t erase that crap.

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About the Author:

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA writer from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

The first two books in the Noctalis Chronicles, Nocturnal and Nightmare and Whisper, the first book in the Whisper Trilogy are now available. The third and fourth books in the Noctalis Chronicles will be out in August and winter of 2012.

Find Chelsea in the following places:

Her books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

7 responses to “Indie Week: Chelsea M. Cameron on Why She Went Indie

  1. Pingback: Indie Week Starts In A Few Hours & Here’s A Schedule | A Life Among The Pages

  2. Pingback: Social Butterfly…I am Not: I Survived my 1st Book Event | A Life Among The Pages

  3. Pingback: #NewRelease: Behind Your Back, by @chel_c_cam | A Life Among The Pages

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