Ah, the glamorous life of an independent author.
Unlike traditional authors – who have publishers and publicists and proofreaders, oh my! – indie authors do all of it themselves. Or they find someone who can.
Last summer, I attended a Romance Writers of America meeting and having just moved my website from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, I was hungry, some might say desperate, for IT advice from these experienced authors. One of them crinkled her little button nose up at me, narrowed her eyes and said, “I have no idea if my website is on wordpress.org or wordpress.com. I wouldn’t know the difference.” Oh, to be so naive.
Because as an indie author, I do know the difference. Oh, yes. Earlier this year, I chose to join the ranks of writers who publish their work themselves. I’ll never write another query letter again. The days of going to conferences in hopes of meeting an agent or an editor who sees a glimmer of value in my work are over. Done. Kaput.
Oh, sure. Some days I fantasize about getting “the call.” The phone rings. It’s an editor from HighBrow Publishing. She’s calling to offer me oodles of cash if only I’ll sign a contract and allow them the divine privilege of publishing my novel. Thousands of dollars can be mine with the swipe of a pen. I can kiss the lean days goodbye. Quit my day job. Buy a box of bon-bons. I’ve moving into a house on Easy Street.
And with that phone call, I no longer need worry about typos in my books or cover art that doesn’t look quite right. Nope. All of those mundane tasks will be done for me by people way smarter than me who live in New York City.
You can tell I’ve spent time thinking about this, can’t you?
But the problem is, I don’t write books that HighBrow editors want to publish. When I queried my debut novel, Celebration House, to Kensington Publishing, the editor wrote back and said the idea had promise but I needed to get rid of the ghosts. Okay. I queried a publisher with my picture-book, The Carwash Dragon. Again, I was told the idea had merit if only I would rinse out the carwash element.
And I’m okay with my slightly off-kilter storylines. For example, I want to write a Civil War romance with a hero who is an amputee. Think HighBrow Publishing would touch that one? Yeah. Me neither.
Okay. So if my choice to be an indie author requires me to learn how to navigate social-media sites like Pinterest and MailChimp and use software I can’t even pronounce, I’m going to need help. Enter fiverr.com.
This website, as the name implies, lists artists and folks of all backgrounds from all over the world who complete tasks for $5. When I needed a logo for my small press, Baskethound Books, I hired an artist from this website.
Recently, I wanted to add a Christmas touch to my logo, so I went back to fiverr.com and asked the artist for a Christmas version. While I was there, I perused the different skills offered. I saw an artist, Jolie from Hawaii, who would illustrate children’s books. I reached out to her and asked if she would work with me on bringing The Carwash Dragon to fruition. She said yes. Here are two of her first sketches:
When I mentioned that I was using fiverr.com, I received a warning from a fellow writer. He said some authors use fiverr.com to pay for book reviews or to add fake Facebook followers. I’ll steer clear of that. But if I need help with WordPress.org again, I have my fiverr connection – Jacob from the UK. Likewise, when I launch my first MailChimp newsletter on Monday, Nov. 24th, you’ll see the work of Paul from Canada. All hired via fiverr.com.
Hands and arms inside the cart. Next: why I love Thanksgiving Day.