Saturday, August 27, 2011

Taking my novels directly to readers was the best decision of my life

Rys Rising: Book I is my newest fantasy novel. Download it for free.
From a young age, I was one of those people who dreamed of seeing her novels on the bookstore shelf. I've poured many years of my life into that dream. I'm still not on bookstore shelves, but I am reaching readers around the world everyday.

I'm cultivating a readership with digital publishing. Packaging my fantasy fiction as ebooks allows me to have lower price points than print products and worldwide online distribution. I was selling ebooks before there were any Kindles, Nooks, or Ipads out there. I stumbled into ebook selling when I published my fiction in late 2005. I was determined to get my novels out to the reading public. Unanimous rejection from agents and publishers of fantasy fiction was not a good enough reason to stop trying. When there are billions of people on the planet, why would I accept the opinion of a handful of people that likely never read my work as they reached for their photocopied rejection letters?

I have never regretted publishing my own novels. What was utterly intolerable was accepting rejection and keeping my novels as boxes of paper in a closet. With the act of self publishing I also discovered that I was pursuing my dearest dream of creating a business out of something I love. And some readers love my novels too. Of course not everyone likes my work. No novel is appreciated by everyone, but the rise of independent writers like me has expanded the options for readers. No longer is their reading entertainment restricted to the profit-driven opinion of an agent or editor. I understand fully that someone in the publishing business has to look at everything and ask "Will this make money?" Readers however assess fiction with the question "Am I liking this?" I can often get past that question, and that's why I am finding growing success as a fiction writer.

I'm so happy that digital reading is allowing more authors than ever before to reach readers. As part of the indie writer scene, I've had the pleasure of reading many wonderful novels that will probably never appear on bookstore shelves. For example, Jak Phoenix by Canadian author Matt D. Williams was a delightful space opera that made me laugh out loud chapter after chapter. Somehow Williams makes every cliché in the space adventure handbook fun again. I've also discovered the talented South African T.C. Southwell, author of 31 novels. Her one-book deal with a South African publisher fizzled, but now she is getting 5-star ratings at online retailers. Her novel Demon Lord was an astonishingly good read full of complex emotions, and its sequel Dark God is next on my reading list.

Like Williams and Southwell and thousands of other indie writers, I get to have my chance with readers because I took a chance on publishing myself. I no longer dream of being on bookstore shelves. I understand now that my dream comes true every time someone reads my novels, whatever the format. And when the occasional reader is kind enough to contact me and say how enjoyable my novels were to read, I truly know success.

All my novels are available in multiple formats including print at