Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One Reason I Chose to Go Indie with My Book

by Charity Tinnin

“I just can’t imagine self-publishing.” Those were my words, or some approximation of them, in early 2010. I had friends who were doing well in the indie world and support on both sides of the divide. However, my problems were these: I respected (read: had a professional crush on) several agents and editors in the ECPA, longed to work with them, and wanted to see my book on a shelf at Barnes & Noble.

Then I came down with the flu and never got better. By the end of 2011, the doctors confirmed my suspicion: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). My case is milder than many, a fact for which I am grateful. However, working full-time became impossible. I didn’t have the energy to work forty hours a week, let alone enough to add writing or a social life to the mix. I had to leave my job. I moved back in with my parents. I saw numerous doctors. One step forward, two steps back.

In the midst of this season, my writing continued in fits and spurts around my freelance editorial work. I’d have a month of good energy and work like a fiend. Then four months would pass without me even opening the file. Go to a conference. Sleep for a week. Get an agent. Lose a whole summer. I began to take a long hard look at my expectations.

As gracious as my family had been, I needed to go back to work full-time and live on my own again. Managing the CFS helped improve my energy reserves some, but it was clear I could work full-time or I could write. Doing both was not an option. If my energy was going to be limited for the rest of my life, I needed to make what I had count. For me and for the Kingdom. So I began praying and developing strategies.

I started seriously looking at self-publishing (or indie publishing, as those within the group refer to it). I grieved working with those awesome ECPA editors and the possibility of seeing my book on a shelf somewhere, but if indie worked, at least I would still be writing. I prayed more. Researched more. Planned more. (I may be a bit of an over-thinker). And in September of last year, I decided to take the plunge.

I acknowledge it’s a risk but a calculated one. I don’t expect to make millions of dollars—only a very little. If I do, I get to continue doing something I feel God has gifted me for. I’ll be able to set deadlines that fit my abilities. Commit to marketing that I can handle. Write the stories of my heart.

And as it turns out? Ending your release day at #1 on Amazon's Christian Futuristic Fiction list is every bit as satisfying as I imagine finding your book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble might be. 

Now, I hand the virtual mic to you. How have you hung onto your dreams in the midst of hardship? I'd love to hear about your journey.

Have you considered Indie Publishing? @CharityTinnin shares her reasons on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

One reason @CharityTinnin chose to go indie with her book - inspiration on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Charity Tinnin’s fascination with dystopian lit began with Brave New World, so it’s no surprise that her debut novel, Haunted, would be a YA dystopian. In addition to authoring the State v. Seforé series, she’s a freelance editor and semi-professional fangirl. Join her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.


  1. Thank you for your post Charity. It really resonates with me! I got diagnosed with CFS 20 years ago and since doctors didn't believe in it, neither did I. Until now...I have multiple diagnoses and am leaning to navigate a new illness. Self-publishing has always been on my radar because I don't have the strength or energy to work with a publishing house. Your post has given me hope to keep pushing through my middle grade novel. Thanks again so much!

    1. Chronic illness can be incredibly isolating, so I'm glad my two cents was encouraging to you. I'm also grateful self-publishing has gained legitimacy in the last five years, so those of us who couldn't keep up with a traditional production schedule have an option. (I can't even imagine trying to work under that kind of pressure, can you?)

      I'd love to hear about your middle grade. I write YA/NA, but I read a good bit of MG myself. What's it about?

  2. Hi Charity,Thanks for being candid on your struggles. Writing is something a struggle will always tempt us to lay aside. I think we all have our own. Mine lately has been weakness in my eyes (a problem I've never had before) making reading and computer use difficult. I try to remember that this is here to remind me to depend on God, not myself to reach His goals (not mine.) Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thanks Gina! As a recovering perfectionist, I've learned that I'm not nearly as much good to others if I'm not authentic. :)

      I'm so sorry to hear about your eye problem; that has to be incredibly frustrating as a writer. I've just finished Priscilla Shirer's Gideon study, and one thing God kept driving home was that our weakness is a gift to display His strength. I hope you'll find that true in your own life as well.

  3. Charity, your post brought tears to my eyes because you "get" my new life. You understand what
    most women goes through after battling breast cancer. I am alive and kicking, but I have HORRIBLE side-effects from chemo and radiation.I used to zip around and clean house in a few hours, now the same chores take days. In 2008 my life changed forever, but God NEVER left my side. Our bodies are made to fail us, but that doesn't mean we still can't have joy.

    1. Not being able to keep up with those daily tasks can be so frustrating, right? Sometimes I count a day as successful if I make my bed, shower, and have some time in the Word. But Jesus has been very gracious, and I'm much more thankful for the days I can be productive now.