A decade ago, “self-published author” was considered an insult in the ranks of authors. Not any longer.
Even the most traditional of publishing gatekeepers — that is, libraries — have come to terms with the reality that the community of selfpublished, or indie, authors is a force to be reckoned with.
On Saturday, Oct. 14, Camp Verde Community Library will put its support behind indie authors, participating in the second annual Indie Author Day celebration. The event is free and open to the public.
“Last year, nearly 300 libraries hosted thousands of authors across the U.S. and Canada,” CVCL’s Carson Ralston said. “This year, high participation is expected again. This is an opportunity for the indie community to come together in the library to help local selfpublished and independent authors get discovered and for readers to find new books written by fellow community members.”
Indie authors publish in all genres, use traditional and non-traditional production methods and market themselves feverishly. Increasingly often, they outsell their traditionally published peers, now and then landing lucrative traditional contracts with major New York publishing houses.
Camp Verde author Melissa Bowersock experienced somewhat the opposite of this phenomenon, landing two book deals in the 1980s before switching genres — a move she said effectively stalled her momentum in the industry. Her next four books were published by small presses, which according to Bowersock acted as a kind of midway point between traditional and indie publishing.
Once she switched to indie publishing in the new millennium, however, Bowersock said she “never looked back.” Now, in addition to recently publishing her 21st book, Bowersock teaches three “always full” self-publishing courses per year at Yavapai College’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, encouraging others to live their dream of seeing a manuscript completed and turned into a book.
Bowersock exemplifies what can be done with a little dedication: “I don’t know if it’s the water here or what, but I wrote four books last year and seven this year,” she said, adding that her last book took a total of 12 days. “I’ve never written that fast.”
As an indie author, Bowersock is responsible for every aspect of her final product, including marketing.
“Promotion is the big bugaboo because it’s never-ending,” Bowersock said. “I do a lot of social media and I have a newsletter I send out. I do ads on Amazon and Facebook, and that aspect of it changes constantly .... You have to keep adjusting.”
The good news for Bowersock is that, after 35 years as an author, she is finally able to draw upon a platform: People have now become fans of her writing and want more, contacting her to ask when the next book in a series will be out. According to Bowersock, it is excellent motivation to keep going, building a network of people who will recommend her books to others.
“I really depend a lot on word of mouth,” she said.
To learn more about Indie Author Day, visit indieauthorday.com. Indie authors who want to participate in the event should contact CVCL prior to Sept. 28 at 554-8391.