Taking RisksSee full issue for 2015 09-07
The ReviewerRenee Miller‘s website.
This week, I want to use Miller Time to pat you all on the back. You’re out there, carving new paths, burning bridges, and inspiring others to do the same. Once upon a time, I was too afraid to publish myself. I felt shame at the very idea of it. And the risk involved? *shudder* I stayed away from the unknown, because the unknown is unpredictable and terrifying. But after traveling this road for a few years, I realize I should be proud of what I’ve done, and so should you.
No matter how many books you’ve sold, or how many negative reviews you’ve collected, be proud that you took a leap. Indie authors are risk takers. We are entrepreneurs. We’re bold. Sassy even. We jump into the deep end without learning to swim, because we believe our survival instinct will always keep our heads above water. Look at our bad selves. We’re fabulous.
Writers all talk about being introverts. Many of us are. I mean, I hate the outside. It’s full of people who want me to say things to them. Ick. But while we might be socially awkward, we actually love people. We love entertaining them, scaring them, arousing them, inspiring them. We need people. Some folks outside our bubbles think we’re cowards. After all, we hide away with our computers, tapping away at the keyboard, living through our characters instead of stepping outside and doing it for real.
Those people are assholes, because we all you can’t write shit without living it first. Pfft. Cowards my ass. It takes balls to publish books. Every word you write is a gamble. Is it the right one? Is there a better one? Will the reader see what you want her to see? Will she love it? Will she hate it? Just going to leave it there. Hope for the best.
Not only are we brave when choosing our words, but sharing the story itself with anyone is a bold move. Whether the story is deep and meaningful, or silly and shallow, a piece of our soul goes into those pages, and we’ll never get it back. Plus, there’s nothing new out there in fiction land. It’s all been done before in many ways. In order to keep readers reading, we have to invent new stories or reinvent old ones so they feel new.
The risk of rejection is high. Even if you’re not querying agents, it’s still a constant threat. Yes, you’ve decided to forego the traditional merry-go-round, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. When that book is out in the world, readers can reject it in hundreds of ways, and we feel every thrust of their hateful swords. Book reviews are terrifying things. We risk being told we’re hacks. We’re talentless. We’re awful at this thing we love doing.
It takes courage to do something you know might crush your dreams. You spent weeks, months, years even, writing that damn book. In a few keystrokes, a single reviewer can shatter your soul.
And yet, we keep writing.
The road to success is long, and it’s hard, and it’s dark and scary. It’s bumpy. Full of holes. And fire. Don’t forget the fire. There’s an abyss along the way too. If we fall in it… oh, let’s not even think about that. Sometimes there’s no end in sight. No end at all. It just keeps going and going…
Still, we keep writing, because we’re risk takers and we love it.
The path of the indie author isn’t an easy one. We’ve given up on or were never interested in the traditional process (which is also a bold path to travel), but we haven’t taken the easy way out. In some ways, the indie path is harder and fewer rewards wait for us at the end.
All of you take risks to put your writing out into the world. You’ve gone through the barriers and rushed forward, despite the grim horizon, so good for you. Thank you for inspiring me to keep going even when I hate the whole lot of you. (winky face)
If you’re sitting there right now, considering the indie route, but you don’t like risks, this is the wrong game for you. Get out. Take your lifejacket and your helmet with you. Ain’t no room for pussies in here.
If you’ve already jumped, I applaud your courage. Keep on doing what you do.
Renee Miller‘s website.