“So are you going to self-pub?” I asked a friend who has spent years polishing her manuscript, collecting rejection slips and looking out for that long awaited email which asks for the entire novel. “I don’t know, how do you know when you should, and what happens if I were to do so only to have an agent interested in my work?” To go Indie or not, that is the question. A hotly debated issue which has kept many a writer—with a burning need to be read—up many nights. My take: If Indie movies are accepted, why not Indie books? Rob Kroese, author of the self-published, bestselling Mercury Falls and its sequel, Mercury Rises has a great analogy: he likens the league of published authors to an elite night club, with gatekeepers, who decide who gets in and who does not. It struck a chord with me. So I have put together my own quiz, to help you determine whether you should give Indie Publishing a go or not. Please answer “yes” or “no” to each of the following questions.
1. Are you waiting to be discovered or somewhere along the way have you discovered yourself?
2. Do you write to be read?
3. Is your novel unclassifiable? It spans so many genres that you know you will have lost traditional agents within the first line of the pitch, for your writing and you cannot be pigeon-holed. My book The Destiny of Shaitan is YA epic fantasy inspired by Indian mythology, for example
4. Are you an entrepreneur, at heart? Do you normally jump in and think of the consequences later. Are you pragmatic about failure—enough to pick yourself up and move on swiftly to the next?
5. Do you like to experiment, and cannot resist a challenge? Do you thrive under pressure, and when the odds are stacked against you?
6. Are you impatient, probably a control freak? In fact, you want to control your own destiny, so keep checking in with the stars to find out what’s going to happen in your life, so you can steer it along the way you want.
7. Are you a technophile? Do you secretly indulge your inner geek? On a practical level are you at least on Facebook and twitter?
8. Are you social and love debating with tweet-friends around the world? Really, you adore your virtual home and obsess over getting your gravatar just right!
9. Do you have the courage of conviction, the doggedness of determination? Is the power of persistence strong within you?
10. Perhaps, like me you had a near death experience, and realized that life is too short. You just have to get your voice out there for tomorrow you may be too late.
If you said yes to at least eight of the above ten, then I believe the force is strong in you. You may be among the fortunate few able to take a punt on yourself. But wait! Before you press that enter button and send the words skimming out over the electronic waves, pause. Have you been true to yourself in your text—really? If you are still standing upright, then there is more to tell. Go back, revisit, revise, rewrite, until hand on heart, you can say you have stripped yourself bare. When you have died a few deaths getting the novel to that place where exhaustion weeps in the arms of elation, then, you know you have nothing more to say. Now you have one last thing to do. Make sure your baby is perfect—every infinitesimal millimetre brushed to its Sunday best—for once it is out there you will be reborn, as your Author Avatar. People will actually read you. Many will love your prose; some will hate it and tell you so. Can you deal with that too? If the answer is still yes, then what are you waiting for?
Laxmi Hariharan is the author of Kindle bestseller The Destiny of Shaitan, Bombay Chronicles #1, and the creator of Bombay Shorts - The Ruby Iyer series