3 Gripes From a Frustrated Indie Author

Speedwriting

I signed up for the good, the bad, and the ugly in becoming an indie author. The good? Absolute creative control. The bad? As with any writer: writer’s block, nasty reviews, and disappointing book sales always hover, like bloodthirsty mosquitoes. The ugly? I’m about to get into that. There are some annoyances that are unique to indie authors. I have since learned not to take any of these things personally, and to push back, if I even get a whiff of disdain. So, here are the not-so-nice things I hear while on my independent writing journey, and my brilliant rebuttals.

Indie authors are lower-quality writers because they don’t have agents. Some readers assume that you’re an indie author because no agent would take you. That might be true to some extent, but as I stated before, you possess absolute control over your writing projects when you’re an indie author. Go with an agent, or publishing house, and they will often ask you to change certain lines in your books, or decide which covers the books will have. They sometimes even change book titles. I once had a short story, changed so much by a publisher, that hardly any of my original words remained. Yikes. As anyone in the creative field knows, your projects are your babies. And we indie authors can dress our babies however we like. If you want publishers to publish your book, you have to submit to their soul-killing demands. I love that I can release my own words, well, in my own words, design the cover artwork, set my own deadlines, and choose how the book will be marketed.

If people don’t want to read something you wrote because it’s not in a genre they like, fine. But to put a cigarette out on an author’s head because he or she is sans a literary agent is book snobbery. And frankly, it really frosts my cookie. Some superb classics were self-published books: Eragon, The Joy of Cooking, Peter Rabbit, What Color is Your Parachute?, and many more. And some books published by big publishing houses (sorry, not sorry) are garbage.

How about a freebie? Anyone who knows me knows that I’m generous, but this is business. You wouldn’t ask a clothing designer for a free evening gown. And in the writing community, you wouldn’t dare ask Terry McMillan for one of her books for free, so why do people feel it’s fine to ask self-publishers for free copies of their books? It’s very baffling. Sometimes, it’s overt. “I don’t have a Kindle, could you send me a paperback?” Sometimes, it’s covert. “I would love to be a beta reader for that book. Let me know if you need one.” Please stop asking indie authors to gift you with free copies of their books. They usually do giveaways, anyhow, so there are plenty of chances to win one. Or we like to give them as gifts. Either way, wait until we offer a free copy for your enjoyment, or for feedback. Please don’t ask.

Hold my hand. This builds on my preceding gripe. It’s okay to ask fellow indie authors for advice, if you’re attempting your own writing journey, too, but compensate them for their time if it’s a huge favor. I once had a fellow self-publisher message me, asking if I would be his tech support, while he set up his book on the publishing website. I was at work at the time, so I was annoyed. I politely replied that he needed to contact the site’s help line to walk him through each screen. They get paid for that service; not me. Then there are the fellow writers who ask you to edit or beta-read their manuscripts for free. I totally understand that writers are starving people, but at least offer to barter; a free, signed copy of your book, buying dinner, a gift card, posting about their books on your blog, etc. We all win in the indie writing community when we support each other –  and feed each other.

So fellow self-publishers, what challenges have you noticed or faced in your lone wolf writing journey? I open the floor to you.

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

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Natural Selection

I know natural hair is not for every sister, so the following chronicle is not meant as a slap in the face to sisters who choose to straighten their hair. I hope you enjoy listening to my natural hair journey. Here we go…

Like many black girls, I was raised to fear and hate my natural hair. It was an ordeal that you and your mother embarked on every Saturday morning to straighten with tense hot-combing sessions in the kitchen. All these decades later, I can still feel the heat on the back of my neck and around my ears; can still hear the menacing hisssss of the hot comb raking through my strands. The smell of singed hair is an odor that’s filed away in my memory bank with other scents that just won’t shake loose: Chanel No. 5 and fresh-cut wood.

Our mothers had their work cut out for them. And, oh, pity the fathers who got left with their daughters, and needed to do the hair thing. This happened to me on said occasion:

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Coupled with those battles of the bush, there were VERY distasteful names to describe our kinky curls:

  • Nappy
  • Bad Hair
  • Sheep’s Behind (As hurtful as it is, I found some humor in this one.)

My hair was controlled with chemicals, aka relaxers or perms, when I got older. There were rules: You couldn’t scratch your scalp before the application, lest you wanted it burned like Hades. Due to the high acid content, it was also important for the applier to watch how long it was left on. The after effects: painful scalp sores…all for permanently straightened hair. And to add insult to injury, relaxers smelled like a combination of Drano, hatred, and sulfur. I suffered, feeding into the notion that my natural hair was scary and unfeminine.

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Even though my relaxed hair was conventionally “pretty,” I felt like it was a critical patient who needed constant attention, and I was its ragged nurse. Perms made the hair very delicate; thus, using even minimal heat cooked it to the point of damage. The chlorine in pool water was rough on it, too, turning it red and frizzy. Humid days made it swell up like a sponge. Touching up the roots every six weeks was costly, the in-between stage was unsightly. It sent me into “hair hiding” with up-dos and hats, counting down the hours until I could get to the hairdresser’s for her to fix “the problem.” They call relaxers “creamy crack” for a reason.

After all these decades, I started seeing more sisters embracing their natural hair, and it looked gorgeous: fluffy, playful, and downright fantastic; like a marvelous halo. Why not me, I thought? I toyed with the idea of going natural and got my chance when I had to have foot surgery last year, and couldn’t drive. Going to the salon was out. I told my husband it was now, or never.  He shaved off my relaxed locks in our bathroom with clippers, like I was joining the army. Naturals call this “the big chop.” I never felt so naked and free. I’m a girlie-girl, and never realized how much I used my hair as a security blanket.

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Spring, 2015

I was bald and limping, but with each new inch I attained, I fell in love my curls.

It has been a journey of trying new things, like twist-outs and braid-outs, and numerous hair products. But I am having fun, gaining a bevy of hair accessories to rest in my nest of curls, and have no plans to go back to relaxing my hair. Although, I may straighten it with heat on occasion.

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Summer, 2015

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Summer, 2016

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Spring, 2017

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Flat-ironed

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Spring, 2019

Natural Hair Glossary

Big chop – Cutting off ALL your relaxed hair.

Transitioning – Slowly letting the relaxed hair grow and eventually cutting it off.

Co-wash – Washing your hair with shampoo, infused with conditioner

Pre-poo – Prepping your hair before you wash it with warm or hot oil treatments or conditioning masks.

Twist-out – The style of twisting the hair in little twists all over the head while it’s damp to define natural curls.

Braid-out – The style of braiding the hair in little braids all over the head while it’s damp to define natural curls. It’s a little more defined than a twist-out.

Pineapple – A high ponytail in the top of the head, that favors a pineapple’s top leaves.

Protective styles – A style like braids or some other low-maintenance style that allows natural hair to rest and grow.

Has there been a “mane” event in your life? If so, please share!

Sean C. Wright is the author of 7 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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Send me your typo images! Snap pictures and email them to msseanc@aol.com. They must be real pictures and not images in online links, as those might be doctored. I’m looking for The Real McCoy. Conceal the company’s identity if possible. No sweat if you can’t. I’ll hide the name before I post it. We’re not looking to embarrass, but to educate.