I have Mari Collier as my esteemed guest today.  I've asked her to do a guest blog here, to share how it feels to be an Indie Author.  Most of her explanations have gone beyond what I've expected and I'm so lucky to have her here!  So, without further ado, please welcome, Mari Collier!

Susan, thanks so much for inviting me to share my experience as an Indie author. It has taken five years to achieve some recognition for my works, but it hasn’t been all drudgery. I’ve met some wonderful people along the way. 

At any Reading Event that I have held or attended, three questions are always asked by the attending group.  

“How do you get your ideas?  How do you deal with writer’s block?”  With all the changes in the publishing world, what is it like to be an independent?

Since I’ve never really experienced writer’s block and I have no idea where my ideas come from, let’s examine the last one. 

Like every new time writer, I experienced a slew of rejections. One of my older brothers had published a novel though a small press publisher. The novel did experience a respectable sales level, but the publisher went broke prior to ever paying him anything. He then turned to a vanity publisher and encouraged me to do the same. It was one that did not charge for cover design, editing, or publishing. I really hesitated as I read the online comments about this publisher.  I made the error of following my brother’s suggestion.

Vanity companies do not provide marketing assistance and the price they charged for Gather The Children was and is outrageous.  I’m counting down the months to when the rights are mine again.  Gather The Children sold enough online and through my holding events around my small area, I did make money.  Not much, but I was delighted. The only bookstore in this area closed. 

People with stories in their head do not quit writing and two more novels were completed and rejection slips piled up. Some from agents would compliment on my strong “voice.” It was puzzling as both writer groups I belonged to loved my stories. One group consists of people with degrees; the other group had only one or two with degrees. 

Then I looked at publishing some of my short stories online. I found a publisher that was digital and did not charge unless you asked them to design the cover.  My grandson did the design and my daughter showed me how to put it together.  To date, 251 people have read one short story and several have paid for the other.  I decided to go digital with the next novel.  My grandson, however, felt he wasn’t good enough to design the cover I wanted.  I found a publisher that didn’t charge much and their distribution is wonderful. I’m close to recouping my investment.

I have found wonderful friends on the internet and in Writing Groups.  More amazing, I’ve learned to set up Author Pages, do blogging, and joined Twitter.  Most of you won’t think that amazing, but remember I’m decades older than most and grew up without electricity. 

The biggest hurdles have been publicity and marketing.  I’ve finally located someone who believes she can market and publicize my novels in the Los Angeles area.  If it happens, I’ll blog about that. Like all Indies, I’ve learned to blog, be on Facebook, belong to different writing groups both physical and online, and use Twitter.  Stop by and see me some time. You’ll find all my Links below.

The latest one to come online will be at Smashwords.com. It’s a very welcoming site for Indies.  My dream has always been to bundle my short stories into an anthology. It’s called Twisted Tales From The Desert. It contains a love story, a ghost town, a Fairy Godmother tale, a poltergeist, murders, and humor. 

The following is an excerpt from one of the short stories called Rest In Peace:  

Dad didn’t really grasp the concept of Rest In Peace when he passed. True, life around him was always disruptive, but since his demise, things became worse. Things like banging doors in the middle of the night are a real bummer when you’re trying to sleep away the wine buzz in your head. Those late night trips to the bathroom take on a whole new aspect when ramming your big toe into a piece of furniture that is supposed to be against the far wall—not in the middle of your direct path. In real life Dad would throw things whenever he was upset and yell; especially yell at the offender whether present or not.

At least he can’t yell anymore or if he is yelling, no one hears him.  But throwing things?  He didn’t stop.  A physical manifestation that is totally impossible according to the scientific world.  Science needs to revisit that issue.  You try sitting peacefully at the table enjoying your dinner and then glasses and plates start crashing in the kitchen. Consequently, I’ve switched to all plastic, but even those will shatter when thrown hard enough.

Thanks again, Susan. I hope you’ve had as much fun being an Indie as I have. Remember, stop by and visit at any time.

I'd like to extend my thanks to Mari, for taking the time to share her experiences with us.  Thank you so much, Mari!