Friday, March 1, 2013


Indie authors are under a lot of pressure to release books fast. Our release dates aren't scheduled a year or two in advance like with most traditional publishers. We run on our own time schedule, and it gives us the freedom to publish as much as we want as quickly as we want.

That plan sounds great in theory, but the problem is publishing quickly means you have to write quickly. And if you're a tortoise--like me--that speed thing just doesn't happen.

I envy the authors who can crank out books in a month or two. They are the hares of the book world and I envy their speed and efficiency.

"Slow and steady wins the race." Aesop's lesson of his fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, is a good one for many situations, but most days I feel like that shouldn't be applied to the indie book market if an author wants to be successful. Tortoises like me see all the hares releasing multiple books a year and we're tempted to retreat into our shell and just give up on the race entirely.

But we don't. Because even as tortoises, we have stories to tell too. We're just slower at getting them out into the world.

There's a continuation of the tortoise and hare's story that floats around businesses and self-improvement circles. The summarized version is that the hare was upset when he lost the original race, so he challenged the tortoise to a second race. The tortoise agreed and the second time, the hare stayed focused, kept up his speed, and beat the tortoise by a landslide.

The tortoise was upset by his loss. He educated himself about the race route and learned where he could have done better, so he offered to race the hare a third time. That time the tortoise strolled to the river he originally tried walking around to reach the finish line, but this time he swam across the river and reached the finish line long before the hare.

Upset by another loss, the hare and tortoise agreed to race again, but this time they decided to work together. The hare quickly carried the tortoise to the riverbank, then the hare rode on the tortoise's back as they crossed the river, and together they crossed the finished line. They were both winners because they combined their strengths and skills to achieve a much more satisfying outcome for both, instead of the other races where only one individual was deemed the winner.

The Indelibles are a group of tortoises and hares. We try to combine our skills and help with each others weaknesses.  It makes this whirlwind of a race called publishing much more manageable and enjoyable. I'm not ashamed to be a tortoise. I can relate to other tortoises. But I also appreciate the hares. We drink lemonade together at the finish line and celebrate our big and small victories--collectively and as individuals.

Writing is a lonely business, but with a great support system it's not nearly as lonely as it could be. Besides the Indelibles, I have a close circle of writing friends who I also treasure dearly. Again, we're a fantastic combination of tortoises and hares, and we support and encourage each other every step of the race.

Every writer needs a good supportive team.
Well, maybe some don't, but in my humble opinion it makes the race much more fun and rewarding.

Are you a tortoise or a hare? 

Karen Hooper writes young adult paranormal and fantasy, and is the author of TANGLED TIDES and GRASPING AT ETERNITY. She is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. Some of her addictions include coffee, chocolate and complicated happily-ever-afters.
You can find her at or on Twitter at @Karen_Hooper.


  1. Everyone needs a team--some just haven't figured that out yet.


  2. Wonderful post, Karen. It unintentionally piggybacked on a post I did this week on a similar theme: The dilemma of planning for your next project as an author. I think it's much more important now than in the past--for Indies and trads--and for Indies, we're really the only ones with any control.

    So basically, your career direction is up to you, and that creates some pressure. The pace in which you write plays a big part in that decision making process, naturally.

    Completely agree that there isn't a right or wrong way. Just having a plan or goal in mind for what you're trying to accomplish (for both you and readers to follow) is probably what matters most, regardless of your timeframes.

  3. Love this post. You are so right on about writing at your own pace. I know many small press and independent authors that only produce a book a year - if that. But have found ways to renew the books they have out and sell that product in different ways.

  4. Great post!
    "we're tempted to retreat into our shell and just give up on the race entirely." << I feel like this all the time!
    I guess I'm in between a tortoise and a hare - it also depends a lot on what project I'm working on. Some just fly out of my fingers, some require more researching, some are intense issues and that affects my mood, especially my writing mood.

  5. Great post! There is room for both tortoises and hares in this business, and you're right that the race is much more fun when we all support each other, no matter what our individual speed is. :) I'm somewhat of a hare at times, though I have to remind myself to slow down and not rush things just to get them out. I can learn a lot from the tortoises. :D

  6. It is so great to see this subject addressed. I'm a tortoise too and I can put a lot of pressuring on myself over it. If I could only write as fast as my thoughts form.

  7. Words of wisdom! Finding the right pace is an important part of the process. I sometime book my production schedule like I'm a Hare, when I'm not. It causes me stress and I know I have to pull back. I'm a little faster than a Tortoise, though. I guess I'm a TARE. :)

  8. I am the tortoise. I think I've learnt a lot from trying to be a hare:) LOL.

  9. Call me a tortoise! I'm working on my 3rd novel. The last two are shelved and only made it to chapters 4 and 5. :(

    I'm getting there! lol

  10. I'm a bit of both. On one hand I write fast, but it takes me a while to edit and polish to perfection.