Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

The Advantages of the Indie Press, Infomercial Style

.1Is your book getting rejected because it’s not mainstream enough? Are agents and editors telling you there is no market for it? Is your spouse giving you flack because your scribblings have yet to make money? Well, I have the solution for you.

No longer will you have to use your rejected manuscript to wipe away your tears after using those thousands of rejection slips to wallpaper your room, because it’s in desperate need of re-decorating, and you can neither afford paint nor wallpaper. No longer will you have to flush your money down the toilet because you have no idea what to do with the dang thing, and can’t even get yourself to buy your own book on Amazon. And, of course, you will no longer have to wake up in the morning with a stranger in your bed, wondering what the heck just happened, when, really, you had too much to drink last night and decided to go to a bar….for some reason. I mean, you have almost as much liquor in your house as you do rejection slips.

But it is called the indie press, and it is here to save you–and your starving pets because you have had to eat their food since you can’t afford human food. I mean, you work a freaking 9-5 job! But you’re too busy printing out your rejection slips, wasting all your money on paper and ink, to afford much else. Also, you’ll occasionally browse the internet for vices to ease your heartache, only for your computer to catch a million viruses; then you have to hire someone to operate on your computer, which sinks you into thousands of dollars in medical expenses that you have tried to take out loans for, but your credit sucks. So then you’re eating your starving pets’ food, working a 9-5 job, living underneath your desk in an alley, while looking for the perfect opportunity to write and print your rejection slips so some hobo doesn’t come along and steal your computer for the illegal practice of computer trafficking, all the while papering the walls of your alley with your rejection slips that then send you into a bar, where you wind up sharing your battered computer chair with a stranger. Oh, I didn’t tell you? You don’t actually have your own room. Or live in a house. Or have your own bed.      

So what can an indie press do for you? (An indie press allows niche books to become published into reality, or books whose genres are waning, like dystopian.)

It will make your grandma smile, although you probably don’t want her reading your book because she’s the antagonist, and you kiuntitled (13)ll her off for not buying that pack of Pokémon cards you wanted for your sixth birthday. Also, I don’t think you want anyone in your family buying it, because you kill them off George-RR-Martin style for allowing you to live in an alley in the first place instead of letting you live safely in a cozy house, even though you work a 9-5 job as a secretary who sets appointments for an aging man who constantly forgets who you are, then fires you, then hires you again when you fill out a job application–AGAIN–while going through the same interview–AGAIN.

An indie press will allow people outside of the circle of your friends and family to buy your book. Finally that hobo trying to steal your computer will have your blood, sweat, and tears in his hands. And he will be enjoying it–with a plum! Uh…aplomb! Why does a hobo have your book? Because instead of filling his life with booze like you do, he likes to go to the local library and enjoy a good read. Plus, he lives in a golden cardboard box.

Your contract will give you a certain amount of print books you don’t have to buy (well, you don’t have to do this at a big house, either, but with self-publishing you do)! Now you can sling these books at all your high school enemies in the hopes of severing their heads for ever doubting your writing prowess. And when you need more books to sever more heads, you’ll get a discount! A great discount! You have an infinite arsenal of books at your hands.

Do you know what else you can do with those print books? GOODREADS! Now all of those strangers who have ended up in your computer chair can enter to win your book–as well as all those other people who like to read.

AND EXPOSURE! EXPOSURE! EXPOSURE! THAT’S WHAT THESE FREE PRINT BOOKS ARE FOR! So it might be a good idea to hold off on severing the heads of your enemies for the time being.

GREAT ROYALTIES! There may be no advance, but who cares, not when you’re getting 50% or more. Now you and your hobo can go out on a date to Red Lobster, while the hobo gushes about how much he loves your book, while you sit back eating your filet mignon, wondering why you ever resorted to dog food to begin with. Oh, and you can afford to make your pets not starve. And now you’re in a home, writing your next book without sobbing over the thousands of rejection slips that once filled your alley wall, and wasting so much ink and paper and paying for subscriptions on sites your mother would flay you for. You’re no Stephen King. You’re not even a mid-list author. But your book is in the hands of strangers, people who could potentially be serial killers and wall street bankers.

And marketing! It’s not the budget of a big house, but now you can use your royalties to buy chainsaws, and in your spare time, you can lob off the heads of your enemies and save your paperbacks for the good of mankind. Also, you can re-establish your relationship with your brother, whom you stabbed in the eye with a pen when you were seven because he said your writing sucked. You can also concentrate on writing, while pulling the muscles in your fingers because you now have too much time to write, which then lands you in the hospital with some strange finger disease, wracking up doctor’s bill that you can finally afford–well, at least to pay for the splints the doctor had to put on your fingers.

INTERVIEWS! Now you can let everyone know that you didn’t start potty training until you were ten years old. You can also let the world know that your dad would disappear for days, each time coming back with a new woman you had to call mom. That can be your platform! “See, I have survived the neglect of parents, and you can, too!”

ARCs, ones you didn’t have to format yourself, or pay someone to format, or have to send out yourself, meticulously crawling through sites that leave viruses on your computer, hoping to find that one person who will give your book a five-star rating. You can now just sit your pretty butt back (you used your royalties to buy some nice undies at Victoria’s Secret), and watch the ratings roll in. Oh, sure, you might have a momentary blip in sales, but those reviews will pay off in the end, and you can buy more expensive panties!

QUALITY CONTROL! With the right house, you know your book is receiving the best breast milk possible so it can grow up into an amazing person who gets a degree at Harvard that will earn it–and you–millions! You will never have to wonder if the editor you paid for actually sucks, and is simply giving you suggestions because she wants to use your money to buy those Twilight blu-rays she’s been wanting for months. You’ll know your book is in the hands of experts who know what the crap they’re doing, because these people actually give a monkey’s hiney about your book! They love it, and they want it, and you, to be freaking awesome!

FRIGGIN’ COVER ART! You actually get to team up with your publisher and cover artist to create a cover all parties are satisfied with. So now your dream cover of an old man singing in a tree outside of your bedroom when you were a kid can become a reality. With a big press, they could slap author Ryan Attard on the cover with tentacles coming out of his mouth, and you would have no say! Your book doesn’t even have anything to do with Ryan or octopi, but apparently there’s a market for it!

TRANSPARECNY! You get to know everything, from your sales, to the amount of money you’re making, to where the sales of your books are coming from, to your publisher’s plans to better the house, to the marketing plan, to how many people your publisher’s brother killed to land him in jail, to how many times his wife has cheated on him, to his kids’ abysmal grades because he’s too busying being awesome, and to everything! EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! Even that one time he tried to kill his best friend for stealing his cookies, and then planted his almost-murder on his kindergarten sweetheart, landing her in timeout. Luckily for you, she became pregnant in the third grade from your cookie-stealing best friend, and both of them had to drop out of school and live in a cardboard box to support their pathetic child family of three.

COMMUNITY! You can become best friends with all the authors of that house, exchange phone numbers, stay up all night giggling about boys–including Ryan–and have slumber parties where, instead of pillows, you beat each other’s heads with your books. But, really, you guys can support each other because the house isn’t too large that you don’t even know what author wrote that dinosaur erotica, because at this house, you will know. Oh, you will know. So you can increase exposure by supporting one another, whether it be helping you kidnap that hobo who doesn’t want anything to do with you anymore because you no longer live in his alley, or helping Ryan shave hisimages (2) dad’s hairy back, because it’s thicker than the gases surrounding Jupiter! (But, seriously, the community at a small press is great, because they can potentially stop you from entering child beauty pageants you’re too old for.)

Overall, an indie press can pick up a book that it believes in that a big press has no idea what to do with! There is a market for everything, but, really, no one knows anything about marketing, not even marketing experts. I mean, after all, publishers had no clue that dinosaur erotica could make thousands of dollars!

So get one indie house for the price of three months of waiting! And wait! There’s more. You can get another indie house for the price of waiting one month. Oh, and there’s more! You can’t forget the all-important third offer. Get two indie houses, and you can see two books out in one year, quality and all!

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4 comments on “The Advantages of the Indie Press, Infomercial Style

  1. gregorylambpdxauthor
    January 17, 2014

    Clapping two hands together for this latest most encouraging post! By the way, I love the imbedded photo. What you shared is one of the reasons I focus my reading on the work of “Indies.” There is GOLD in their work. A rejection from a mainstream mag or publishing house should be received as an invite to throw it all back at them in Spades!

    Nice post Amber – keep em coming and keep up that novel writing you’re so good at. Eventually our target audience will find us.

    • amberskyef
      January 17, 2014

      It was really Ray’s idea, but I had to do more with it, just make it beyond hilarious to the point of being encouraging as well.

  2. enkousama
    January 21, 2014

    Amber . . . There is ALWAYS a market for Ryan and tentacles. Always

    • amberskyef
      January 21, 2014

      It’s your platform. “See? I have survived the infestation of tentacles, and so can you!”

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