The Secret Life Of An Indie Publisher – Why I Create

My Desk Where The Magic Sometimes Happens

Alt World Studios Writing, Production, Marketing, Accounts & Art Department

Welcome the Secret Life Of An Indie Publisher, I hope to peel back the glamorous party life of indie creating and publishing in a series of blogs, and give you look on how being an indie works for me, some of my challenges, production times and staying motivated in the face of apathy.

This Is How It Is

Like many Indie Creator’s out there I am holding down a full-time job (I am a Web Designer for a construction equipment company) and working on my creations in the little free time I have after work or can spare at weekends. Very few us can do this as full-time profession, there is simply no money in it and it is a huge commitment to make when you have a family, or just want to survive. Yes, some of us break through and move onto amazing things, but the reality is you spend dollars to make pennies.

A harsh reality, eh?

So why do I put myself through this? Let’s explore this by looking how I got started down this road.

The Tether by Nick DavisHow It All Started 

For me it all started six years ago, I wrote my first novel for NaNoWriMo called The Tether and I was eager to bring it to the world, convinced I had the next big thing in paranormal action adventure. I sent it out to every publishing house I could find and got roundly rejected by them all (and rightly so it is a terrible novel). Still convinced the world should see my work I learned all about the art of self-publishing, helped by the fact my formal training was in Graphic Design I pushed The Tether onto the world via Createspace. It’s still up there on Amazon, still being roundly (and rightly) ignored by all.

Still convinced that the Tether was an undiscovered masterpiece and the next big thing I wrote a sequel called Accept One, I went through Createspace and pushed it out via Smashwords, learning how to format for eReaders opened a whole new audience to be ignored by… But, at least now I had the freedom to write and publish my stories.

The Experiment – Fabula Zero Exposition

Fabula Zero: Superhero Comic Not About SuperheroesThis was my first attempt at a high concept… I wanted to write a story about Superheroes, but not have it about Superheroes, while at the same time nod towards my comic book influences such as 2000AD, Battle, Star Lord and the Beano. This how Fabula Zero Exposition was born (Story Zero – idea explanation) about a Comic Book writer with writer’s block and who’s Superhero characters were coming to life around him trying to help him finish the story. The concept of the idea was simple. When he interacts with the Superhero characters the book is a comic, when he is in the real world the book is narrative prose. Thought I would revolutionize the comic book world with its release… Yeah… The sound of silence when I brought it to convention were deafening… Sigh…

The book production was costly, as I had to pay an artist to work on the pages, but the journey was an education and Fabula Zero is a genuine fun to read comic book and my love letter to Superhero comics…

My First Success… The Wonder Tales

The Wonder TalesA lot of people know me from my work on The Teddy Bear Tales, but did you know my first real self-publishing success was a series of original fairy tales called The Wonder Tales? These stories were my first real self-publishing success. It started when I wrote a single story in a Tolkienesque style for the birthday of JRR Tolkien called the Archer, the Horse and the Princess. I put it up as a short on Smashwords and people brought it, I followed it up with a dozen original fairy tales including the Daughter Of Frost a fairy tale I wrote just for my Daughter.

The stories got collected into two volumes one about the Archer and one about the Princess Archer and seem to sell in fits and bursts… I will be reintroducing these books to the convention circuit next year and writing some new stories of this long neglected line. After all it is pretty cool writing a story beginning with Once Upon A Time…

Then Came The Teddy Bear Tales…

Tristan the Teddy Bear and The Cuddly Defenders ComicI am not going to re-tell how the Teddy Bear Tales started, as I have already done that here. I’ve been writing stories about this Tristan the Teddy Bear and his Friends the Cuddly Defenders since early 2011. I have discovered that getting illustrated and comic book stories published is much harder, and much more expensive to produce (artists expect to get paid too). The discovery of Kickstarter helped fill the funding gap, but also created some unique issues of its own (which I will cover in a future blog).

The Teddy Bear Tales though really pushed me to up my game, it was not enough to just publish a book and move on, now I had to learn how to market, to present a professional face, to pitch and sell my work, how to raise funds and how to present my work. All of which are skills I am still learning and improving upon.

From the Teddy Bear Tales books came the Cuddly Defender Comics, my attempt at cartooning with Unconditional Hugs and my new journey writing and drawing Hero Ted… All challenges and all giving me the ability to grow.

So Why Do I Do This?

This is a question I have often asked myself. This isn’t a journey I would recommend for everyone, you will get soundly ignored, face some bitter disappointments and in some cases get openly mocked. For that all I can say is you will learn how to grow a thick skin.

What I have found is I enjoy the story telling experience and the freedom self-publishing gives me to express myself and my stories. I can so easily change gears and try new things, new ways of story telling. new characters and there is a genuine buzz when you meet a fan of your work.

I create to tell my stories… Thank you all for reading them 😉

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About Nick

Just an Englishman lost in the USA who happens to write now and again... Anyone got a cup of tea?
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