Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Indie Innovators (Indie Life)

Because being indie doesn't mean going it alone.

"Hey now, you're an All Star, get your game on, go play,
Hey now, you're a Rock Star, get the show on, get paid,
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mold."
-All Star, Smash Mouth

Sometimes I think I was made for indie publishing: it's writing and wild creativity mixed with massive amounts of rule breaking. And indies don't just break rules. We blow them up, reducing them to subatomic particle sized pieces.
Here's your Rule. You're welcome.

Yesterday, I signed an innovative, revenue-share contract to translate my novel Open Minds into German. No publishers involved - this is an agreement between an indie writer and a translator - but it's much more than that. It's a partnership between two indie authors, an ocean apart, each willing to invest time, money, and marketing savvy in a literary work we both believe in. And hopefully will profit from.

Open Minds = Öffnen Köpfen? Aufmachen Verstand? {I can't even translate my title!}

Fellow Indelible Rashelle Workman started writing serials back when even yours truly thought it was crazy (or more accurately that I couldn't possibly write and publish that fast). Her Vampire Snow White serial was so wildly successful, she's writing another serial (The Cindy Chronicles, a Cinderella Twisted Fairy Tale). And she's got other works out too - girl cranks out words faster than I can keep track. She prices them low, too, and makes an absolute killing doing so. #shesmyhero

Indie Rockstar Hugh Howey breaks all kinds of rules, not least with his print-only contract with Simon and Schuster. But he's emerging as a thought-leader in this indie revolution as well.

"Does any bookstore or library have a twice-yearly Book Release Party where community authors come together to toast their accomplishments and swap copies of their books? Why not?" - Hugh Howey

"Indie authors are maniacally focused on the reader, almost to the exclusion of anything else. Low prices, fun and interesting genres and styles, a direct relationship, frequent output, you name it. Indie authors are doing well because they know it’s all about the reader." - Hugh Howey


Indies have that close contact with their readers, their sales reports, their rankings, their bank deposits... and the freedom to try anything, write anything, publish anything. That's a heady mix. Indies have their finger on the pulse of the market.

You're free! So try something new.

Use Your Freedom
I had an idea for a novella-sized story last night. I sketched up the outline (because the dang thing wouldn't let me sleep otherwise). I'll write it in a couple weeks, as soon as my current edits are done. I'd publish it right away, but it's a Christmas story, so I'll hold off until we're near the holidays. I'll price the ebook low, but I'm also going to put out a slim, pretty paper copy that will be just right for stuffing this heart-warming Christmas story into stockings. (Rashelle gave me the idea for the little print book!)

I've never written a Christmas story.
It's going to be a contemporary adult tale - never wrote one of those either.
I've never made one of these tiny, cute chap-book sized paper copies.
I have no idea if a Christmas novella will sell, in ebook or paper.

I don't care. It's fun, and I want to give it a whirl.

Man, I love being indie.

p.s. I'm double dipping on Indie Life (such a rule breaker)! Over on my blog, I'm talking about Book Discovery in the Digital Age.

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA SF Mindjack series. Her more grown-up, future-noir Debt Collector was a sexy fling that proved she could write a serial after all. Now that Season One is complete, she's finishing up her steampunk fantasy romance, so her readers don't come after her with a steam-powered pitchfork. It would probably help if she didn't play on Facebook quite so much. Susan has a lot of degrees in engineering, which come in handy when dreaming up dangerous mind powers, future dystopias, and slightly plausible steampunk inventions. Mostly she sits around in her pajamas in awe that she gets make stuff up full-time.

Thanks for joining us for Indie Life!


  1. Wow, a German version of Open Minds? So cool! And thanks for inspiring the rest of us to try be innovative too :-)

    1. Thanks Rachel! I'm excited about the German translation - I just wish I could read it!

  2. I love how exuberant you are Sue, you get me more excited about doing what I already enjoy. Thank you!

    1. It's hard for me to contain myself sometimes. #embarassing

  3. Indie is exciting, I revealed my cover today and I'm enjoying just going around to the different blogs helping me share it. Can't wait for December when I publish it. Definitely go for it with your Christmas Story, indie writing is a wonderful thing. Also I agree that indie writers go for readers first, too many traditional publishers try to use trends and double talk.

  4. Oh and I've been considering doing a Chinese version of Sacrifice Her because of the number living in Jamaica and our relationship with their embassy. So going with a translator for a German version of Open Minds.

    1. How interesting that there's a strong Chinese influence in Jamaica! Good luck with all your books!

  5. Using your freedom as an Indie is HUGE. We're allowed to take chances and market in ways traditional publishing isn't, which should be viewed as an advantage, not a disadvantage. :)

  6. I find it hard to believe that I started serializing Shadow Spinner well over a year ago. Way before serializing was becoming a thing again.

  7. Awww, Sue. Thanks for mentioning me. Your serial rocks and I can't wait to talk about it with you at UtopYA next year. =)

  8. Just reading this post is getting me all fired up! Thanks for the inspirational post.