Q & A with a Indie – Joe Vasicek
Welcome to Q & A with a Indie – a new feature here at scifinerdsare.us, where I interview a indie author about their journey to become published.
Let me introduce Joe Vasicek, author of Desert Stars.
He was the sole heir to the Najmi camp, a young man raised by tribesmen after falling to the desert from his home among the stars. She was the sheikh’s most beautiful daughter, promised his hand in marriage–if she can convince him to stay.
Together, they must travel to a land where glass covers the sky and men traverse the stars as easily as tribesmen cross the desert. Here, at the ancient temple dedicated to the memory of Earth, they hope to find the answers that will show them the way home.
But when love and honor clash, how can they face their destiny when it threatens to tear them apart?
A 100,000 word novel of Gaia Nova.[blurb supplied by author]
Joe, tell us a little about your journey to becoming a indie author. Did you always see yourself as becoming a indie author?
They say it takes ten years to be an overnight success, and I guess I’m on year five. I’ve been writing stories since I was a little kid, but it wasn’t until 2007 that I decided that this was what I wanted to do professionally. I finished (and trunked) my first novel in 2008, got my first short story published in 2009, and haven’t looked back since.
Indie publishing wasn’t really a viable career path until 2011, so when I first started out, I focused all my efforts on getting a traditional novel contract. I kept a running list of agents and editors I’d submitted to, attended the major conventions like Worldcon and World Fantasy, and worked hard to learn the business side of things. It was always very slow, though, and my particular brand of science fiction (space opera / science fantasy) was never really “”hot.”” I never gave up hope, though, and kept plugging along.
My novel GENESIS EARTH got a few requests for partials and fulls, and in 2011 it was a quarter-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Around that time, I discovered indie publishing. My first real exposure to it was through Joe Konrath’s “”You Should Self Publish”” blog post, which ran completely counter to everything I’d ever learned about publishing, and yet made surprisingly good sense. I soon discovered Kris Rusch’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s blogs, which convinced me that this was the best path to take. I indie published GENESIS EARTH as my first novel, then followed it up later that year with BRINGING STELLA HOME and DESERT STARS.
My main overarching goal is to make a living telling stories that I love. I’m not against traditional publishing, but more and more it’s looking like the indie route is the better path to take, at least for novels. It also fits well with my personal temperament: I love being in control of my own work, and would much rather take responsibility for my career than leave it in the hands of some corporation.
Even with eBooks the cover of a book is so important. Did you create the cover yourself or use a designer? Tell us a little about the design.
Science fiction has a rich tradition of high quality art, and from the beginning I wanted my books to be a part of that. I looked through a number of artists on Deviant Art before finding one whose artwork really clicked, and fortunately he was willing to take me on at a very reasonable rate. You should definitely check him out: his name is Hideyoshi, and he has some fantastic art!
What’s the best thing about being a indie author, that you’ve found so far?
The best thing about indie publishing is how it forces you to take responsibility for your career. There’s a myth in our culture that writers need to be pampered–that we’re these highly temperamental, eccentric people who need to be taken care of in order to produce good art. Frankly, that’s a load of crap.
When the fate of your career depends on decisions made by other people, though (editors, publishers, etc), it’s easy to lose sight and feel like things are out of your control. But once you’ve made the paradigm shift and become an indie author, you start to think like a small business owner–which is a honestly a lot closer to what writers really are. It might be a little daunting at first, but it’s also fantastically liberating.
Professionally, indie publishing is the best thing that has happened to me. It gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to start thinking about my writing career in real and measurable terms, not just as a future eventuality. It’s not easier than traditional publishing–it will probably still be a while before I’m making a full-time living–but I have no regrets about going indie.