Help me help others.

CJP29uLUkAA8GLy

I love buying indie books.

When I hold them in my hands, it’s almost as if I can feel a piece of the author’s strength.

Writing a book is hard. Publishing a book, well, that takes a particular sort of strength.

It’s more than hard work. It’s taking your raw soul and sticking it out on the front porch, where passerby might point and laugh at it.

There’s always that risk. And here’s the thing: we are aware of that risk before we hit the publish button.

We do it anyway.

We do it because for the 99 people who might point and laugh, there is one who doesn’t.

For that one reader, we might build a connection. That connection is worth it. It’s worth it to me.

It’s worth it for so many other indie and small press authors I know.

I love weird art. I love attending craft fairs and coming across some tiny booth with a nervous artist who isn’t sure of themselves. They’ve toiled for months over their idea, struggling, failing, trying again.

They’ve loved their weird little idea so much, they’ve stayed up past midnight, long after the kids are in bed, knowing they’ve got to be up early for work. They’ve sacrificed money and valuable time and brought their art to a craft show or Ren Faire or Farmer’s Market, and they stand there, shifting around, hoping someone will stop by and notice their pieces.

These are the people I try to support. If I’ve got a choice between supporting Wally World and their cheap, mass-produced items or purchasing a creation born of love and independent spirit, I’m going to choose the struggling artist every time.

I rather desperately want a yarn bowl. I know a girl taking classes, learning to make vases and cups. Her skill set isn’t yet at a place where she can make me what I want, so I will wait. It might be another year or two. I would rather purchase a unique yarn bowl from someone I know.

I love imperfect art. When one edge is a little lopsided, that’s the one I choose. And I love to get to know other artists and have the opportunity to watch their art improve over time, to watch that spark of joy in their eyes when they’ve almost made their vision into reality.

I work so hard to help support other artists because I understand that feeling of having this great idea inside and desperately itching to make that idea into something tangible. When an artist finds their perfect niche, it’s an amazing thing to watch. The focus, the sacrifice, an artist is willing to make to see their idea come to fruition.

When I make a profit selling my books, I try always to take a portion (sometimes it’s a very small portion) and feed that back into the indie community. Because I love to read and write, I very often use that money to buy indie and small press books. By supporting indie and small press authors, I’m also helping to support their editors, cover artists, and formatters. It helps all of these people get the opportunity to make more art.

Or I might buy a single from a new indie band. (FYI, check out Deadman Fall.) Or a crooked piece of jewelry from a new crafter.

Sometimes, I pay my bills and take care of my household and there is no extra money to do this. But I still want to be supportive. So I write reviews for indie and small press books and post them on multiple sites. I share those reviews on Twitter and Facebook. I add books to my Pinterest book boards. I shout on social media about indie books and indie music that I love. I share artist’s pages and websites. These things cost me nothing but time, and I’m willing to stay up a little later, or get up a little early, to make the time to do it.

Most of my readers have followed me for a little while now, and if you’ve read much of anything on this blog before, you know I’m the parent of children who live with chronic illness. Medical appointments are frequent, the hospital is a long drive, and insurance doesn’t always cover the cost of medication. If you’ve followed me anytime within the last year or so, you probably also know that I was injured at the last job I had. Combined, these circumstances make it difficult for me to work at a “regular” job.

I write. A lot. I’m trying to get my work out there. I need help to do that.

I don’t have a big name, or extra money to spend on promotion. I have this little blog, and social media, and the wonderful people who take the time to purchase my work and read and review it.

I have you. I can’t fully express how grateful I am for the people who take the time to read this little unfancy blog in its tiny corner of the Internet. You follow me on social media and share my work. Thank you. You add me on Goodreads. Thank you. You tell your friends about my books.

THANK YOU.

Because of you, my lights are still on and there is watermelon in my fridge. Because of you, the dogs’ kibble dish is full and my kids aren’t going hungry. Because of you, I have gas in my tank to get to doctor appointments.

Some of you guys I don’t even know, but you keep showing me support. You rock.

I can’t afford big giveaways or promotional stunts. Money around here is tight and my wallet has eleven cents in it.

I can’t pay people to shout about my work.

What I’ve got is one indie book and one book I signed with a small press to publish.

What I’ve got is a sincere desire to help support other indie artists.

What I need is help.

When you choose to help support me and my writing, you are helping more than just me. You are helping my family. You are helping the editors, cover artists, and formatters.

You are helping me help support other artists.

As long as I am making money on my books, I will take a portion and use it to support some form of art.

If you follow me on social media, you will often see me take pictures of myself holding up indie and small press books I’ve bought. Authors don’t ask me to do this. I do it because I believe in supporting creative people who are brave enough to put their work out there. (Incidentally, I LOVE when people post pictures of themselves holding up one of my books and tag  me. It makes me smile the entire day. Thank you.)

I promise to continue putting my money back into the indie community.

Will you help me help others? Will you check out my books, and buy them if you are able? If not, will you share my writing on social media? Will you help me keep making art, and supporting others who do?

I would so appreciate it if you would.

Thanks. You guys rock.

Advertisements

11 responses to “Help me help others.

  1. Sure will! Give me a call or stop by. We are still in the same place. Bring some product w/you – and kids if you wish and they agree.
    ksb

    • Oh man, I know. The struggle is real, my friend! Sometimes if another crafter is willing, bartering is an option. (My last Ren Faire, I traded two of my books for a hand carved cedar walking staff.)

  2. Hello Valerie! I, too, want to help others. To this end I’ve begun adding Indy authors to my website for free, and am campaigning to build an independent authors website where Indy authors works will likewise be posted. Check out what we’re (it’s a collaborative effort) doing at http://www.tjosephbrowder.com and message me via the site if you’d like your titles added.

  3. Great share, I am inspired by your words and by you putting your all out there. I too want to get my words out there and it’s reading posts like these that says keep going keep working hard keep trying thank you xo!

    • Thanks, Ksenia. I’ve really been whittling down my social media places over the last year. I was starting to feel kind of panicked, like I needed to be everywhere at once, and so I have deleted sites down to just the few I really enjoy. I have thought about ello. If I get to a point where I feel like I can handle another site, that is where I will go. Thanks so much for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s