Letter To Indie Authors / by Kenneth Buff

All authors feel pressure at some point. I think most people do in general, but authors may be more susceptible to this. By pressure I mean that feeling you get in your gut that you're not doing enough, you're not "succeeding" enough. These thoughts are of course arbitrary. They're something you've concocted in your mind off of fantasies of what you think success is. In reality, success is whatever you want it to be. You decide what the benchmarks in your career should be. If you're being fair, you'll make these benchmarks realistic. That means you're not shooting to be the next Stephen King, or even some lesser known best seller. You're working to work, writing stories because you enjoy it, and you realize any eyes that end up on letters forming words that you wrote is just a bonus. This is the mindset you need to have if you're an indie author. It's a good mindset to have in any creative field, but it's especially useful if you're an independent author. This is because now anyone can be a published author. This doesn't mean anyone can write (or rather, will write) a story worth reading, it only means that the market is flooded with fiction, and your book is one among many. That being said, your book being one of the many is in itself a huge accomplishment. You put in the work, taking the time to hone your craft, trimming the fat off your story, and adding the necessary beats and developments that were needed. Bravo. This is success. Take a moment, soak in the benchmark. Now do it again. Because you're a writer dammit, and that's what you do.

Now, if you're looking to do this to find an audience to speak to, to share your brilliance on the page, then this may not be the thing for you. There's no guarantee that any of your stories will be read outside of your circle of loved ones. This is the reality of the modern publishing industry. When the doors are open to everyone, production will inevitably exceed demand. This is both a benefit and a detriment, as all of us now can publish our works, but they may or may not find much of an audience. This is why if you're going to commit yourself to writing down those ideas clawing away at your brain, you need to do it because it's what you love to do, and for no other reason, as nothing outside of publication (which come on, is huge) is guaranteed. So, fellow indie authors, keep plugging away at those stories of heroes, assholes, and characters in between, knowing that for the first time in history your stories have the opportunity to be read by anyone in the world, and that you have the opportunity to be paid for them. But also, these opportunities are not guarantees. Keep those things in mind, and you'll do fine. Art is a battle, just like anything else. You can give up on it when it gets tough, when your doubts creep in, or you can keep going, wading through it all hoping that you somehow come out on the other side clean. The truth is that if you do come out clean, it's not because you somehow didn't get shit all over yourself crawling through that broken sewage pipe, it's because you stopped along the way and changed your clothes.