I dreamed of being a traditionally published author since I was 11 years old. I wanted to hold a printed book in my hands and say, “Look, this great publishing house believed in me! They published my book!”
My dream propelled me, year after year, without fail. I wrote books diligently (and they were crap). But I wrote them. Then I re-wrote them. Then I edited them. Then other people edited them. Until 2010, at age 25, I settled upon a story that I was certain was good. It was called Ramble and Roar: A 1920’s novel. I loved this novel and was ready to have it published.
With hopes held high, I sent my first book proposal to a literary agent. And by golly, she liked it. I became her newest client and was certain that within the year, I’d have a publishing contract. That year passed with a series of rejection letters. In 2011, I entered the novel into a Christian writer’s contest. The judges didn’t like the honesty and grit in my story. I was told that my book wasn’t Christian enough and gasp–I said the word brassiere! Needless to say, I did NOT win that contest. The third year came, and we finally had an interested publisher. The only problem–they wanted me to edit out the POV of my Irish mobster, who was a main character woven through the entire book! Apparently, his storyline was too MUCH for a Christian audience. Though I felt like I was dying inside, I changed the whole novel because I so badly wanted to be published traditionally. After two months of hard work, we sent the new manuscript to the publisher. And wouldn’t you know it, they said they didn’t think the novel suited their audience after all. I think I shouted Bastards at that moment.
In the beginning of 2014, my contract with my literary agent ended when they cut the fiction department. Though it sucked at the time, it was a blessing in disguise. I needed them to cut me loose because I was in the wrong market.
Just because I identified as a Christ-follower didn’t mean I had to write “Christian fiction.” By writing for a mainstream audience, I was able to be myself, explore the hards issues, have real dialogue, and allow for creativity. More importantly, I released the lie that I was “walking away from my faith by writing secular fiction”. That mentality is absolute crap. God loves me. He is worshipped in my craft. The stories I write about brokenness and finding hope–I know this pleases God. The honesty in my books, pleases God. The fact that I am using the talent He gave me, pleases God. I don’t have to be pigeonholed in a market to please God.
In 2017, I said screw it, I’m starting my own publishing imprint. And I did. I bought the license for Flywheel Books and became an Indie Author. The first book I published was a children’s Christmas book (which I also illustrated) called The Magic Snow Globe. In 2018, I published Ramble and Roar: A 1920’s Novel, complete with all the characters and all its grit and glory! I also published another children’s book called Superhero Levi. In 2019, I published my 1920’s sequel, Marvel and Mayhem as well as my non-fiction book called Standing Lost: my journals through miscarriage. Now, I’m working on a new Historical mysteries series, which I hope to release later this year.
Being an Indie Author is hard work, all the responsibilities and marketing rests on my shoulders, but it’s worth it. I finally have the freedom to release my stories. It took 22 years for that dream became reality.
My dear fellow writers, if you have a dream to be published, maybe it’s time to quick putting your eggs into a traditional basket and go Indie.