One of the reasons I love RomCon is because the organizers are published in all sorts of ways: traditional, indie, small press. I’ve never once felt unwelcome or out of place. The only distinction they make is between reader and author. Authors wear red lanyards and readers wear black, so you can tell who’s who at a glance.
At last week’s book signing, I handed chocolate bars to everyone who got near me. I do this every year, and it gets some people to stop and take a second look at me and my books. One woman, wearing a black lanyard, stopped and asked me to autograph her program. As I bent to sign my name, she laid her hand on a pile of my books and asked, “Are these serious or are they indie?”
I kept my eyes down so she wouldn’t see the flash of indignation that undoubtedly crossed my face. How did she expect me to answer that?
Am I serious? I’ve been writing since the third grade, before I knew how to spell. I self-published my first book four years ago after I’d lost my job. I signed with a small press a year later when I realized I couldn’t do it all on my own.
Am I serious? In the last four years, I’ve sold and given away 100,000 copies of my books. I have ebooks available with all the major booksellers, audio books, and French translations that made me an international bestseller. During a major promotion and sale, my erotica title knocked Fifty Shades out of first place for a few hours. I adopted a child, went back to my day job, and released two more books, bringing my total to ten. I’m currently writing not one but two books for release next year.
Am I serious? Yes. I am. Because I write. Not because I’m published or how. Every author, indie published or traditional, is serious about their craft. Does it matter how my words reach readers? Not to me. Does it matter that I can only write a few hours a day (if I’m lucky) because I have an energetic kid and a full-time office job? No. I carry a note book and pen everywhere I go. I have a Word app on my tablet so I can write on my lunch break. I have a voice recorder on my phone so I can save ideas during my commute. When I’m not writing a book, I’m writing in my journal. I seriously write something, somehow, every chance I get.
“They’re serious.” Then I wrote my name on her program. Amelia Ser…. Oops. I laughed and told her I’d signed it Amelia Serious. She laughed with me while I corrected it and handed the program back to her. She moved on. And now I am too. I have two books to write.