Shh, don’t think too loud

Indie authors, here’s a cardboard cutout mask for your face. It’s okay, it comes with the rule book for how to be an indie author. Just shut up and put it on. This mask will stop you from being seen to be anything but perfect. Plus it will make us all look the same.

Shh, don’t think too loud. If you have an opinion that enough people don’t agree with then you’ll get on a list. ‘What list? Whose list?’ I don’t know, but there are lists and if you’re on one then you’ll be ‘trolled’.

Stop questioning those rules. Yes, I know people keep changing them. Yes, I know the rules are made by people who often have never published a book. Yes, I know the rules contradict each other. Yes, I know that for all the people saying how sexy a romance is between a man and his step-daughter that there are an equal number saying they’d never read it and they’d rather choke on an ice cube. Yes, I know that the dragons and realms can seem horrible to those who want to read about bikers who treat women like property. Shh, don’t say it too loud though.

According to the rules you can’t have an opinion because you’re an indie author. No, you can’t be upset about a bad review in your own reader group. No, you can’t publish a book without an editor. No, you can’t befriend cover models. No, you can’t write in a different genre now that you started in one. No, you can’t have your own writing style. No, you can’t have an unsatisfying non – HEA ending even if you don’t write romance.

What? You thought you were the author? You thought you were in charge of your own books and your own life and could make your own decisions about how you behave, what you write, and how you present your work?

Wait a minute. You can.  If you want to write hybrid fiction, spend money on covers, have a friend edit and bitch about politics on your page, you can. If you want to write in multiple perspectives, use the words ‘penis’ and ‘moist’ on every second page, you can. If you want to write a character who is annoyed with blogs and sheep and secret back-stabber groups, and frustrated with the indie scene, you can. (In fact, I did.)

Focus. Write what you want to write the way you want to write it. If you’re aiming to please the masses, do it. If you’re aiming to shock, do it. If you’re aiming to be unique or educational or controversial or to be heard or whatever your motivation, do it.

Take off the mask, use the ever-changing rule book as kindling, and smile. You’re an indie author. Make it your own and own it.

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