Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

Lessons of an Independent Author--The Power of Patience

Reality check!!!

The chances of one book becoming an overnight sensation (especially when published by a small independent publisher and there isn't the funding for a huge publicity campaign) is astronomically tiny.

Most books fizzle out soon after launch.

Depressing thoughts for a newbie author who really believes in her work.

When I reached a low point recently . . . as I felt like everything had stalled and it was all hopeless, Cameron D. Garriepy --new friend, talented author and publisher--sent me these words of wisdom:
"What you have to hold onto is that you are playing a long game, especially when you're on a budget as an indie author. Keep doing what you do, make noise, write books. They aren't going out of print any time soon."
Perhaps one of the biggest, and most difficult, lessons in all this is learning to be patient and distract yourself with other projects.  Because the reality is that,  if I want to be in this "long game" for a long time, I will have to learn patience.

The process of writing itself requires patience--at least it does for me. While I can crank out things quickly once the ideas have nested in my brain, sometimes those ideas need time to grow first.

When you send the manuscript to beta readers or editors, you  have to have patience, because yours is probably not the only project they are working on.

When you submit books to agents and publishers you have to have patience because response times can be tremendous . . . and then sometimes you never get a response.

When you have an actual book and people  are reading it, that's when the impatience sets in. You desperately want reviews because that is what will help (or hurt). I am an avid reader who reads quickly, so I can (and will) often have reviews up a few days after getting a book. I have to remember that my speed is probably unusual. Other people take more time, and besides--MY BOOK IS NOT THE CENTER OF THEIR UNIVERSE!  In other words, I have to learn patience. I have to wait for people to read the book. I have to wait for them to find the words for their reviews. I have to wait find the time to post the reviews. I have to wait for word to spread.

When you reach out to independent book stores to see if they will stock your book, you have to be patient. Some of them may want to read the book before they make a decision.

When you reach out to schools to start with author workshops and visits you have to be patient. My daughter's ELA teacher is trying to arrange to have me do some workshops across grades at the middle school. She wrote:
"Thank you for your patience and understanding-the educational wheels move rather slowly!"
The patience doesn't stop there. Perhaps the book is submitted for an award or two. The deadlines for things like that come months before any announcement will ever be made.


However, there is power in patience. I am slowly discovering that the way to wait patiently is not to sit around twiddling my thumbs.

[caption id="attachment_8516" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Twiddling patiently. Twiddling patiently.[/caption]

I have to fill my time and my mind with other projects. Things that I am working on at the moment include:
  • several works in progress (YA supernatural mystery; adult literary fiction; non-fiction)
  • selecting a play that I will direct in the fall (suggestions welcome)
  • creating educational material for P.O.W.ER
  • trying to figure out how I could possibly do a book tour in Australia, where my friend wants me to come (suggestions welcome)
  • creatively turning our house into a home with a series of makeover projects on a limited budget. I come up with the plan, Nathan makes it happen, and then I reorganize.
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I still have a lot to learn about patience. It is still a struggle as my desire to see P.O.W.ER do well competes with reality. However, patience is beginning to pay off. Today I received the first review of my blog tour--the first five-star review written by someone who only knows me through the words of this book:
"Read this book for yourself and see the beauty that it holds." --Shanae, Quirky Book Reviews
I've also been in touch with a couple of book stores, and have a signing scheduled for a local Barnes & Noble. I may not be on the road to instant bestseller . . . but I am definitely on the long and patient road to achieving my dreams.

There is power in patience.