I hate being an indie author.
I know that’s a flat out contradiction, but it’s also true. Why do I have such conflicting emotional
responses to the indie author phenomenon into which I have so fully and willingly immersed myself?
Mostly, I think, because I have come to believe that most of the things that are truly great about self-
publishing are also all the things that are the worst.
Like many writers, I’ve spent years writing, editing and submitting to publishers and agents
of all types. And like many writers, I’ve been rejected nicely, rejected rudely and just plain ignored,
which is, of course, just another way of being rejected. I greeted with unbridled joy the rise of sites
like Smashwords, a place where any writer could publish her work for the entire world to read, without
struggling to overcome the impossible-to-jump-through hoops and meet the increasingly unobtainable
standards of the traditional publishing world. All I had to do was register and upload, and voila! There
was my pride and joy, with a cover, a title and my pen name in big, bold letters. Suddenly, after years
of growing frustration, despair, and even anger at beating my head fruitlessly against the walls of the
publishing world, I was a published author.
Just the site of my first creation listed for sale on my very own author’s page inspired me to
finally complete other works that I’d long let go fallow. Suddenly, editing seemed worthwhile, instead of
an exercise in futility. I found renewed enthusiasm in the knowledge that, after all the soul-wrenching
work I had put into my latest story, I no longer had to sweat out the perfect query and compose the
most succinct synopsis, on top of a well-crafted outline and a persuasive blurb about the story, all in
the vain hope that someone would just look at my story. No more torturing myself in front of a blank
screen at ungodly hours, unable to find just the exact phrasing to justify to a complete stranger in some
faraway city why I, a writer wannabe who had never been published, would dare to submit my writing
to this certain publisher or that particular agent. Sites like Smashwords meant no more begging at the
gates for entry into their privileged world. Who needed the front gate? I had gained entrance through a
side door that traditional publishing apparently had no idea existed and therefore had never thought to
lock. Oh, hallelujah, my writing career could finally begin.
However, with power and freedom comes responsibility. By that, I mean that we, the indie
authors, are the people who are solely responsible for the quality of our work before it goes out to
the reading public. We are the writers, like every other non-indie author who’s been published in the
traditional manner, but we’re also the editors, the agents, the publishers and the marketers-- basically
the everything. It’s sometimes daunting and I have to admit, there are times when I truly have no idea
what I’m doing. Nothing is more embarrassing than finding typos in a book already listed for sale on
several sites. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing sales numbers just sitting there, not moving, not
even twinging just a tiny little bit, largely because very few readers even know your work exists. And
nothing is more disheartening than having a blogger read your pride and joy, only to write a review
that feels like more like a punch in the stomach than an objective opinion concerning the quality of
your story. Self-publishing is hard, both mentally and emotionally, even for those authors who have
somehow made it over these hurdles to a successful career-- and by that I mean financially successful--
So, now that the whining is out of the way, why, a reader might ask, would anyone keep
slogging away as an indie author? The only answer I can give for myself is, I love writing. Almost as
much, I love for my writing to be read. Yes, I sometimes feel overwhelmed and frustrated; if my cats
could speak English, they could tell the tale of a few rants to an empty house about some comment
made by a blogger about my writing. However, I also feel exhilarated when a reader enjoys what I’ve
written and is generous enough to say so in writing. The readers truly make it all worth it.
So, thank you, readers. Now, go make an indie author’s day and read a self-published book.
Then, if you enjoyed it, really make that author’s day and tell the world all about it. Good karma will
follow, I promise.
About the Author
McCarty Griffin lives in the Pacific Northwest, at the foot of the Cascades, with her husband, two
children and several nonhuman family members. She is a transplanted hillbilly, born in Texas, but raised
in the hollows and hills of West Virginia, where most of her works are set. She does not limit her creative
efforts to any particular genre, although she does have a special love for horror, which she traces back
to a childhood of Saturday nights eating Chef Boyardee pizza and watching Chiller Theatre with her
mother. Before beginning her second life with her current husband, and settling in to raise her daughter
and son, she served in the United States Army, went home to earn her undergraduate and law degrees,
and then practiced criminal defense law for more than ten years. After half a lifetime spent doing
everything but what she truly wanted to do, she finally just sat down and started writing, and she hasn’t
Website is http://www.
About The Tribe (to be released April 2011):
The tribe has been alone on the farm for many seasons, struggling to survive by their wits and will, unaided by the humans who abandoned them there years ago. Few members of the tribe outside of Tia, the eldest, and her fiercely loyal companion Bella, remember a time when two-legs--the cats' name for humans--lived in the farmhouse. Suddenly, the tribe's territory is invaded by a young two-legs couple, and the frightened cats ask themselves why have two-legs come to live there after so many seasons and what will happen to the tribe at the hands of these often cruel creatures?
From the wonderful kindness of McCarty Griffin, you can download two of her books at Smashwords for free. What I love about Smashwords is being able to get the book in any number of formats. So if you haven't tried it out please do and try out McCarty Griffin's books below and share some good karma :)
Smashwords link to Monster Story is http://www.smashwords.com/
and the coupon code for a giveaway is BL94T, which
expires May 22, 2011.
Smashwords link to Half-Inch is http://www.smashwords.com/
and the coupon code for a giveaway is RC73L, which
expires May 22, 2011.
Her books are also listed on Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and Barnes & Noble.