Monday, October 10, 2011

The Independent Writer

Are you a writer? Frustrated with the agent/publisher quest, the endless advice about query letters and all that? Become an indie writer. You won't get an advance, but it gives you a shot. After all, that's what you want--a fair shot. Even if you got that bricks and mortar contract, you'd still have to do the things indie writers do to sell their books. I know, because I've done it both ways. Now I'm an indie writer. I write thrillers.

The good of indie publishing is that writers have control over the entire process, start to finish. The bad is that the learning curve is steep to get a professional result. The ugly is that many indie books aren't very good. It's easy to tell, though. Most of the time when a book appears you have some kind of "look inside" feature. That allows you to decide if it's a buy or good material for the landfill. Agents and editors can tell at a glance if a book is any good. Or maybe not.

Having an agent doesn't guarantee publication. I had an agent for White Jade and a pass through from a senior editor at a major company called (REDACTED) who liked the book. He turned it down because I wasn't former CIA or NSA. No credibility. Tell that to Steve Berry, who as far as I know is a lawyer, not a scret agent. Of course I couldn't tell the editor the truth because then I would have had to kill him. And anyway, White Jade isn't about spies. It's about problem solvers. Solving problems sometimes leads to noisy explosions and vicious firefights, but hey, problems need solutions.

Everybody has advice for independent writers. It's big business, with hundreds of ebooks being promoted that tell you how to promote ebooks.  

From time to time I'll post something here that might help if you are one of those folks who just has to write. By now I've figured some of it out. So here's the first tip:


And when you've done that, put it away for a month. Reread it. Revise again. It helps to remember what the Dalai Lama said: "Never give up. No matter what, never give up."


  1. I like the Dalai Lama's advice about never giving up--and I like yours. I read a book on writing the thriller recently that suggested some books may need as many as 6 drafts.

    I wanted to say, Ha! I'll take your 6 drafts and raise you 13.

    Revise till everyone who reads it glows.

    Then your indie audience or your agent will glow, too.

    Nice blog!

  2. Great advice, Alex. And a nice readable blog too. Good job.


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