Let's Be Independent Together

One of the joys of being an indie author is having the complete freedom to choose which of all of those magical projects wandering about in your head to work on next.

One of the issues with being an indie author is having no authoritative guidance when choosing which of those millions of projects wandering about in your head to work on next.

Merriam Webster defines independent* as: not subject to control of others; self-governing. Independence equals freedom. And with freedom comes responsibility. (How many times did I hear that growing up, and how many times have I said it as a parent?) If independence = freedom --> responsibility, then to whom are independent authors responsible?

I would argue that all authors are responsible to their artistic vision, their readers, and their careers. I suppose it's up to the authors themselves, individually, to choose the order of those factors, but if we're aiming for being happy and successful (and who isn't), then all three of these need to be important. Unfortunately, there are times when those factors seem opposed to each other. None of those times are more frustrating for me than deciding what to write next.

I've heard traditional authors speak about their publishers putting the kibosh on a proposed book project. This idea is usually met with a sort of artistic horror amongst writers, because the main (only?) reason a publisher would do that, especially with an established author, is the desire to go with a perceived sure thing - if there ever is such a thing.

Independent authors don't have anyone telling them what that sure thing might be. Honestly, I don't think an independent author stands a chance trying to second-guess the market like traditional publishing does - with their years of experience and their statisticians on staff to check minute trends in the marketplace. We have to use intuition, as much market savvy as we can muster (blech), and failing everything else, our best guess.

Soooo... if I don't have my next WIP chosen by the time Good For You goes to the copy editor, my decision may involve a dart board.

*Pointless aside: Whenever I hear this word, it makes me think of Hermey the Elf.