During the 19th century, an era boasting some of the greatest writers in history, one had to create stories on a regular basis in order to remain popular. These were the days before social media and Amazon.com, thus word of mouth, reputation, and an established publisher were necessary to further a writer's career.
Yet one man took control of his destiny without the convenience of entities such as Kindle Direct or Ingram Spark. A few successes followed by a couple of failed works, financial strains, and family responsibilities made the perfect recipe for writer's block. Despite these challenges, Charles Dickens managed to pen a tale that would transcend generations. Undoubtedly his most famous work, A Christmas Carol was written in only six weeks, selling 6,000 copies within a few days of its release. Incredibly, the book was self-published.
Copy of original manuscript, A Christmas Carol
Today, indie authors are often overlooked, deemed unworthy of consideration because they don't brandish a fancy publishing logo. As evidenced by Dickens, self-publishing doesn't indicate a lack of talent but a need to share a story. A writer's creativity percolates in prose as imaginary worlds struggle to be given life. Indie doesn't signify inadequacy, but the aspiration to share one's artistry without compromising the integrity of the work.
Preface of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Like many authors, I'd been writing for years but never fully committed to publication. In a leap of faith, I submitted my first manuscript, Truer Words, to Tate Publishing in 2011. Much to my surprise, it was accepted within a few weeks. And thus my writing career had officially been launched. My editors, cover designer, and publicist were amazing, transforming a rough manuscript into a polished gem. Don't misunderstand, I spent many late nights proofing and editing, but the efforts were worth the time, and eventually the book was born. My second novel was much like the first with a strenuous, but satisfying, result. It seemed as if Tate and I would be together for years. However, things fell apart for the third novel. A few days before its release date, the book succumbed to Tate's mismanagement. They'd closed their doors in shame, taking the money, resources, and dreams of several authors with them. I have no animosity or regrets for my time with Tate. On the contrary, I'm thankful for their willingness to take a chance on an unknown, fledgling author. They refined my writing and helped me create something I was happy to share. But their deception in the end squandered my ability to trust another publisher.
Truer Words, first novel by Kim Poovey, originally published by Tate Publishing, now under the imprint of Dickens' Ghost
Through Button Eyes, second novel by Kim Poovey published by Tate Publishing
Several of my writing friends had successfully self-published leading me to do the same. I quickly discovered it was not an undertaking for the faint of heart. Indie publishing requires long hours of editing, designing, and marketing which takes a great deal of time from the task of writing. Sadly, many readers still seek the phrase 'best seller' alongside an author's name, a tinsel award stamped in the corner of the cover, or a famous publishing house emblem on the spine before making a purchase.
Kim Poovey signing copies of her first novel, Truer Words
After a few unsuccessful ventures, Dickens self-published his most famous work. What if readers hadn't given him another chance or scorned him for self publishing? What would Christmas celebrations be like without one of the most beloved tales of our time? Supporting an Indie author could reveal the next J.K. Rowling or Jane Austen. This holiday give a gift to a struggling author by purchasing his/her book. For every best seller you purchase this season, consider buying the work of an Indie author as well. It's not about fame, it's about sharing a great story.
Dickens' Mice, by Kim Poovey, published under her imprint, Dickens' Ghost