Ladies and gentleman, I’m proud to host the following piece by my good friend, and fellow author, Mr. Claude Bouchard.
Not quite three years ago, I pulled up the first of three manuscripts I’d written in the mid to late 90s. I’d thought they were good back then and with the advent of POD suppliers, I just had an urge to see one of my books in print. I started reading what I’d written some fourteen years prior and was pleased to see that, though biased as I was to judge the work, it was still pretty damned good.
From that day onward, I spent hours every day, reading, revising, nipping and tucking until I had self-published not just one but all three books and started writing another. Receiving my novels in print was a joy and handing out a bunch of signed copies at a family gathering was quite the rush. I was a published author, even if the publisher was, well, me. Then something incredible happened… A total stranger in Pittsburgh bought my first book! Someone paid money for my writing.
Skimming through the months which followed, I continued to write all while diving into the social media game to get my name out there. EBooks joined my printed formats which helped increase sales and word of mouth slowly pushed things forward. Then came December 2009…
I was approached by someone I’d met on Twitter who informed me she was becoming a literary agent under the watchful eye of a close friend who was already a highly successful agent. Would I be interested in representation? You bet your tuckus I was! Having started from nothing, I was now on my way to a publishing contract with marketing support, printing facilities, distribution networks! I had really made it!
Months went by but nothing happened. In fact, eighteen months went by before something did happen. The problem was, what happened sucked. My agent, who also represented some twenty writers, either self-imploded or spontaneously combusted. We never found out exactly which but the bottom line was, we no longer had representation.
However, the cool thing was, my books were already out there and my sales were consistent to modestly increasing. While losing my agent was initially a slap in the head, the sting was pretty much gone by the next morning as I got up to start another day of what I was already doing; writing and selling my novels. And I’ve kept going and progressing since.
At the time of the agent meltdown, I had five books out there. Just over half a year later, I have seven, my latest, Discreet Activities, having been released just yesterday. I’m making all the decisions. I write what I want, I’m not pressed with deadlines, I set my prices, design my covers, offer specials when I decide, all of this with nobody to report to or convince but me. Sales are improving as well. In December, I sold as many books as I had in my first twenty months in the literary industry. My January sales were 13% over December’s.
The traditional publishing world has always been a difficult one to crack and that hasn’t changed. What has changed is the literary industry where POD, eBooks and publication ease has opened major avenues for indies. Yes, there is some bad stuff out there but there is also some incredible work which none of us might have ever seen without this indie revolution. I certainly know I wouldn’t have sold the thousands of books I have to date, nor would I have fans, yes, fans, asking me when the next one is coming. So, until something major happens to sway me, I’m 100% pure-blooded indie.
Website of crime thriller author Claude Bouchard
Great post. I love being an Indie Author exactly for the reasons you stated!
Thanks, Diane! It’s a lot of work but extremely satisfying. 🙂
Yes! Thanks for reminding us that it takes time to build a following. It’s encouraging to see that your sales continue to climb.
It does take time and requires time investment. I’m at it seven days per week. Hopefully, I’ll get to take a day off, someday. 🙂
Thanks for bringing Claude over to yor blog, Al.
I loved this post, Claude. Never give up– that’s one of the keys. Keep writing and get as many good books out there as you can. The more you write the more you are noticed. You’re a success as an indie and that gives many of us that spark of hope we need.
Thank you for sharing!
My pleasure, Dannie. Mr. Bouchard is an inspiration to all of us, and I’m proud to host his piece here on my blog.
Thanks, Dannie, I don’t plan to stop as long as I have stories to tell. It’s a tough business but the but being told how much some enjoyed any of my books makes all the effort worth it.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Claude. Great inspiration for those of us at an earlier stage in the process. I decided to self-publish in the middle of the query letter process. Reading literary agents websites, I began to realize how unlikely it was that I would succeed in my goal to get published. I went on to the CreateSpace website and suddenly I was in control of my own destiny. Like you, just handling a book was a great experience and so was sharing with family and friends. Now, I’m writing a sequel to the first novel and already planning further ahead.
Thanks again. Good stuff.
Hi, Stuart! I initially did the query thing back in 1996 with Vigilante and that was with snail mail and SASEs… Tried it again with emails in 2009 when I got back into this game, though I had already self-pubbed before seeking representation. In the end, being in the driver’s seat isn’t a bad place to be, as long as you’re willing to “drive”. 🙂
You are so right-there is some ‘incredible work which none of us might have ever seen without this indie revolution.’ I have gained a few new favorite authors in the past few months, all indie. Funny, you’re on that list. 🙂
Awww, Kelly… I bet you say that to all your favourite authors. 😉
Thanks for sharing your story!
My pleasure, Hutch! Thanks for taking the time to read it. 🙂
Claude, mon ami, comment allez vous? Great post, and very timely. Indies who are good writers have nothing to fear. They can sell their books and be very proud to be indie.
It is a great time to be a writer.
Bonjour, Eden! Très bien, merci, et toi? thanks for your visit and your lovely comment. Yes, indies are making their place in the world indeed. 🙂
Nice to see another Canadian Indie author having a little success 🙂
Thank you. Let’s keep in mind that the key word here is “little”. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂
Thanks-a-mundo for the article.Really thanks! Awesome.