Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Indie Tuesday—A Place for Writers to Explore Their Options with Excellence

As you may remember, a few weeks ago I shared the exciting news that I’m now blogging regularly at Guideposts.com. Accompanying that announcement, I also let you know I’d be cutting back on my blogging schedule here. Truthfully there’s only so many blog posts I can write without sacrificing quality.

Now comes the good news!

I have two amazing colleagues who have agreed to host a regular column here on The Write Conversation, Indie Tuesday. Jessica Keller & Charity Tinnin are forerunners in a movement called Indie Publishing. I reached out to them specifically because of the excellence they exhibit in every aspect of their writing endeavors. I could go on and on about how excited I am to have them here, but I’ll let you judge for yourselves.

Edie: Ladies, I’d first like to ask a question I get when I teach. This is a highly competitive industry. I mean, let’s face it there are only so many readers out there and already way more books than we can read. Why are you sharing info that will, in effect, train your competition?

Charity: I consider other young adult or new adult books as comparative reads not competition. Every reader has a genre/category he or she can't get enough of; so my books will rise or fall based not on what else is in the marketplace but on whether or not I've told the best and most unique story I can tell. If the State v. Seforé series grabs readers, I've done my job well. If not, that's on me. With this mindset and because I've had so many people pass on their own wisdom, why wouldn't I want to do the same? 

Jess: There are two amazing things about readers that make being a part of the writing industry much different than almost any other industry:
  1. Avid readers always want more books. We’re not selling vacuums or blenders where the customers say, “Nope, one’s enough.” True readers have a never ending appetite for good books. When I finish a book, I’m already scrounging for the next one to start that day. Because of that, encouraging another writer will only ever help the industry. I can’t write fast enough for some of my readers, and I want to know there are other great books and authors to point them toward. 
  2. Readers are looking for different types of books. For instance—I don’t write romantic suspense or books about aliens (I’m actually terrified of aliens *shivers*) but there are people out there looking for books in both these subjects. Just because I don’t write those books, doesn’t mean I can’t encourage an author who will write them. Those books need to be written, and I’m not going to do it, but I’ll happily help someone else fill that need.

Edie: Next, how did you meet and how does being part of the indie publishing community fuel your progress and success?

Jess: We met at a My Book Therapy session that took place before an ACFW conference and have been close ever since. Charity was instrumental in convincing me to go the indie route with my young adult novels, and she’s a great example of the indie community fueling progress/success.

Let it be known that I am not a perfectionist, and if not for the reminders from friends in the industry like Charity to produce publishing house quality indie books, I might have been tempted to cut corners to save money and time. I’m glad I didn’t because I have a product I can stand behind and be proud of.

Also, indies have the misfortune of sometimes feeling very alone in the industry, but going this route doesn’t need to be lonely. Every single indie author I met along the road (before my book even launched) has been nothing but encouraging and willing to offer advice/information. 

Charity: For the record, if I was instrumental in Jess' decision to go indie, it was only because I would not stop telling her how much the world needed Gabby and Michael (I love those two kids, I mean, characters). She is, however, absolutely right about how encouraging and available those in the indie author community are. 

Indie Publishing allows authors to adjust marketing or launch plans based on what's working or not, which is a great asset, but it's the transparency of established indie authors that really makes this flexibility a perk. If a part of my marketing plan flops, I can contact or visit the blogs of my established indie author friends to figure out how to modify for success, and this is invaluable.

Edie: Finally, what can we expect in upcoming columns?

Jess: I’m a hybrid author so something that’s very important to me is cheering on both the indie and the traditional publishing route. I champion for both sides (strange, but true—it can be done!). While we plan to focus on topics from an indie perspective, we’ll also be sharing general writing information and issues as well.

Charity: Ditto. I would add that it is our goal to be as transparent as possible and discuss all aspects of Indie Publishing (from drafting to editing, publishing to marketing). When we have contacts who are more informed than us, we'll invite them in to guest blog, so you get the benefit of their knowledge as well. 

We'd also love to field your questions, so what do you want to know about Indie Publishing? If we can't answer your questions in one of our posts, we'll find someone who can!

@EdieMelson introduces Indie Tuesday with contributors @AuthorKeller & @CharityTinnin #indiepub (Click to Tweet)

Have questions about self-publishing? Submit them to Indie Tuesday with @AuthorKeller & @CharityTinnin. #indiepub (Click to Tweet)

Jessica Keller holds degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She is multi-published in both Young Adult Fiction and Romance. Her latest release is Saving Yesterday. You can find her at www.JessicaKellerBooks.com, on Twitter @AuthorKeller, or on her Facebook Author Page.

Charity Tinnin’s fascination with dystopian lit began in high school with Brave New World, so it's no surprise that her debut novel, Haunted, would be a YA dystopian. Now, she mentors high school students, works as a freelance editor, and lives in the foothills of North Carolina. When she’s not editing for a client or working on the State v. Seforé series, she spends her time reading YA and discussing the merits of Captain America and Prince Charming online. Speaking of the Internet, Charity loves to talk about YA fiction, TV, and State v. Seforé. Find her on Twitter @CharityTinnin, Facebook, or her website to start the conversation.


  1. I just read Haunted, Charity, and really enjoyed it. Nice teaser at the end there, too. And I know both of you via the blogosphere. I'm unpubbed (except for magazines) and would prefer to be of the hybrid variety. I'm also intrigued by series writing. Essentially writing a Breaking Bad type of series, one episode at a time, over a period of years. My question is of the chicken and egg variety. Do you think an author should wait until he has a fan base before attempting the series, or is it a good way to build a fan base? GA (sorry, MBT habit).

  2. Hi Ron! So glad you enjoyed Haunted. Serialization is definitely something an indie/hybrid author should consider as it has really picked up steam in the indie world in the last year. (So much so that one traditional publisher in the UK adapted the model for one of their established authors this year.) However, whether or not it would be a good idea for a debut hybrid depends on a number of variables. Let us do some research on those pesky details (as Randy Ingermanson would say), and then we'll do a post on serialization!

  3. I'm with you Ron - I'm very intrigued by writing series as well and have been looking into it at lot! I tend to write fast-paced, compact, and dive deep into characters from the get-go which all lends itself to series writing. As for chicken vs. egg - we'll look into it more as we have friends in both indie and trade who are doing (successful!) serializations right now. I know he's not the norm - but if memory serves me right Hugh Howey has only ever done serials (even when he was a no name) and he's now a huge name because of it. :)

  4. Good interview, guys. I'm looking forward to the posts.

    I'm unpubbed in fiction, but I'll be releasing my first book later this year. I'd love to hear your take on marketing when you don't already have a publisher attached to you and another book.

    1. Sally,

      We actually have a full month of marketing posts headed your way. While Jess is a hybrid author, I'm currently an indie debut, so I know how overwhelming marketing "all by your lonesome" can be. Hopefully, we'll be able to shed some light for you before it's time for your launch!