Hop on the slow boat to overnight success
March 29, 2012
One of the characteristics of indie authors, myself included, is impatience.
Typically it is the young whipper snapper that one would expect to possess this trait, a person who hasn’t struggled long enough in life to realize that it takes time to build something substantial.
I haven’t studied the demographics of indie writers, and don’t know if anyone has collected the data, but my guess is that the scales tip towards youth, young writers who are starting out in the business, just learning their craft.
But, I know for sure that there are a lot of indie writers in their forties, fifties, sixties and seventies. I can’t remember my forties and will kiss my fifties goodby in about three weeks. So you can see where I stand on the age spectrum.
So, why are indies so impatient?
If they are young, they expect things to happen overnight. They write books and want to see them take off and soar into the stratosphere, no dues, little sweat.
If they are somewhat older, they bring other things to the table. Many indie writers, John Locke is a good example, came to writing later in life after successful careers in other fields. They have learned through the school of hard knocks how to build a business, what it takes to see a slab become a skyscraper.
For those of us in that boat, it is hard to grasp the notion that we may be rookies again. Most rookies are young and don’t mind spending a few years in the bush leagues. But indie writers who come late to the game don’t have ten years to flail around hoping to get drafted into the “bigs.” They burned those “extra” years raising their children, sleeping in cheap hotels on long sales trips, going “all in” in business investments that may or may not have panned out for them. They have buried parents after years of caring for them, paid off their homes, or maybe had to take out a second mortgage to send their kids to college. Many also still now work at least two jobs, one to bring home the bacon, the other writing late into the night.
They are the blue collar workers of the writing world, not elite, ivory tower types.
So, they are impatient. The candle is burning toward the middle, about to expend itself.
But the melding of these two groups, the young lions and the old heads is truly a thing of beauty in the new world of indie writing. There is a cross-generational camaraderie among indies.
It is this energy, the energy drawn from the synergy of youth and experience, that will lead the way for us.
Those of us who have piled up some years should use them to imbue our writing with the things we have learned, the mistakes we have made along the way.
If we do, maybe the slow boat to overnight success will get off idle. If it doesn’t, we will do what we have always done. We will get up early, work like dogs and keep our fingers crossed.