Guest Post: India Drummond’s Take On Virgins (Aspiring Authors)

Hey Folks!

I have a great guest post today by author India Drummond. Excellent take on aspiring authors and their place in today’s crazy world of publishing. Have a read and be sure to check out all of India’s info and her new novel, Ordinary Angels, which is available today on Amazon US, Amazon UKBarnes & Noble!


India knew from age nine that writing would be her passion. Since then she’s discovered many more, but none quite so fulfilling as creating a world, a character, or a moment and watching them evolve into something complex and compelling. She has lived in three countries and four American states, is a dual British and American citizen, and currently lives at the base of the Scottish Highlands in a village so small its main attraction is a red phone box. In other words: paradise.

The supernatural and paranormal have always fascinated India. In addition to being an avid sci-fi and fantasy reader, she also enjoys mysteries, thrillers, and romance. This probably explains why her novels have elements of adventure, ghosts (or elves, fairies, angels, aliens, and whatever else she can dream up), and spicy love stories.

Author website and blog:
Facebook Fan Page:

From India:

“Aspiring Authors are Like Virgins”

A friend of mine told me about a book launch party she went to recently. The conversation at the party turned to the publishing industry and from there on to indie publishing. Every single person in the room was, according to my friend, very disparaging about anyone who would consider self-publishing.

Think that attitude is uncommon? What nowadays? In the days of Amanda Hocking and Joe Konrath and a hundred other successful indies? Even after Jake posted in March, flat-out telling everyone to cut the crap and stop drawing lines in the sand about indies v. big publishers?


I’ve even had so-called aspiring authors unfollow my blog because I said I was going indie for future books.

Am I offended? Nope.

Why? Because aspiring authors are like virgins.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about how much harder life was after that initial publishing acceptance than I expected. It took more work, more planning, more organisation, more time. This led me into a metaphor about marriage—another thing that is often harder than people expect it to be.

Aspiring authors, like virgins, often daydream about Mr Right/Agent—how he’ll swoop in on his white horse, slay the dragon of obscurity (and insecurity), and take them off to live in a land of charity balls and photo-shoots. We older and wiser folks shake our heads and say, no, life isn’t like that…especially not publishing life. Even if you find Mr Right/Agent, it doesn’t work like that.

I suppose if we want to extend the metaphor, traditionally published authors are like the old married folks who tell said virgins they really should wait for Mr Right. So we indies are like divorcees or confirmed bachelors, free to fuck whomever we want to, any time we want to. Somewhere around here the metaphor falls apart, but I’m sure you get the point.

Unlike Jake, however, I think the argument is an important one and I’m cheering for it to rage on. Not because one side will win while the other will crawl off to lick its wounds. I think the publishing industry will survive, with or without indies. But the debate will bring about change. The time for change has come.

And the changes aren’t just within companies, but within individuals. A year or so ago Joe Konrath thought that only previously published folks should try self-publishing. Now he says nothing should stop anyone from going ahead. A year ago literary agent Mary Kole said she believed “most self-published books, unless professionally edited beforehand, will read like my slush pile, not like the New American Literature.” Then just last month she said, “Between June 30th, 2010, and now, I’ve evolved from my scathing, short-sighted take on self-publishing.”

Why the change? Partly because new technology has given life to digital publishing. And I also believe the change is occurring because the debate is happening. Without Joe and Amanda speaking up about their real numbers and real experiences with self-publishing, none of us might have heard of them, and many of us wouldn’t have used them as inspiration to give it a go ourselves. The more serious, professional authors who take up indie publishing will mean the lower the percentage of stuff out there that’s not worthy of a reader’s time. (I never really bought into that ‘most indie stuff is crap’ argument, considering that you can get sample chapters of any Kindle book—I can always tell on the first page if a book is well-written.)

But I don’t say to aspiring authors “stop aspiring and start publishing.” I’ll let my success speak for me. And if they want to unfollow me in the meantime, that’s OK. After another year of rejection letters, plus 18 months of waiting and editing and making changes they don’t agree with to their manuscripts, only to earn 8% and have their books disappear from shelves in a couple of weeks… well, I think they’ll come around.

Besides, they’re virgins. It’s best to be gentle.

From Jake:

Love this post! I totally agree with everything except for where she disagrees with me. That’s just crazy talk.🙂 Seriously, though, I think the debate should keep going on about “indie” and “traditional” publishing. Healthy debate is, well, healthy. What isn’t healthy is a war. No one ever wins that way. Keep the debate going, but keep the line drawing out of it. Everyone is new to today’s publishing world so everyone needs to be open and flexible. Don’t cut yourself off from something or burn any bridges when no one knows what the “something” is or where the “bridges” are.

Great post!


Posted on April 5, 2011, in What's Up.... and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Great post. I don’t think it’s a debate so much as a choice…I have experience in both so I know where to place my bets. But people who only see “millionaire author” forget all the working-class possibilities of simply being able to do what you love for a living, a system that spreads the wealth instead of sending it rolling into the vaults of a few.

    Oh, and I’d rather eat thumb tacks than do a photo shoot–it’s hard for me to believe anyone would actually want to be a celebrity…

    Scott Nicholson

    • Hey Scott!
      I agree, it is totally about choice. Everyone’s life is different and their careers are different. Each writer has to make their own choices and I support them in whatever they want to do. Each avenue has it’s pros/cons and we will each find out what those are as we move along in our careers. Can’t wait to see what mine are! pros, preferably.🙂
      After all, it’s about what’s written, not how it’s published!


    • LOL! Great comment, Scott. And yes, I totally agree. I’ve had to do a photo shoot one time in my life, and it was one of the worst experiences I can remember. So yes, Ugh. Why anyone would want to be a celebrity is beyond me!

  2. “Everyone is new to today’s publishing world”

    This, exactly. The people who will lick their wounds and go home are the ones who aren’t getting this.

    Great stuff!

    • The key is to not give up. I gave up on writing just after high school because the process back then (write story, mail story, wait, wait, wait, wait…) didn’t work for my personality. Then came the internet! I was able to submit stories via email and get rejections in a a matter of days! Then I found podcasting and away my life went. I just had to wait for my time to come and, once it did, just keep pushing forward.


    • I thought that was a great comment too, Maria! Jake’s right. I love the debate, but I’m not saying ‘never’ to anything at this point.

  3. Really really appreciate this post. I’m quickly becoming an India Drummond fan – is there a fan club? As an ‘aspiring author’ who is seriously considering her options re publishing, I’ve been exposed to all sorts of theories. One which troubled me was that if you travel through the indie tunnel, you’ll come out the other end spoiled in some way for consideration by traditional publishers. Then I read about a best selling author turning his back on trad for indie. And we all know of Amanda – the sell out indie author barely out of her teens. It’s all a pile of confusing he said she said and I’m tired of ‘the discussion’ right now. What’s the deal? What’s the best deal for the author? Thats all any of us ‘virgins’ want to know really. This tells all I need to know. ;D Shah. X

    • Like Scott said, it’s all about choice. Every author, aspiring or experienced, is learning it as they go. None of us know what’s around the corner! It’s scary for us all, and good or bad, it’s going to be an interesting ride!


    • Oooh! My first fan!

      What helped me make the decision, Shah, was I wrote out a business plan. In it I wrote my goals, and then mapped out two potential paths… one traditional, one indie. It became clear that for me, the only possible way to meet my goals was to go indie. Your goals and methods may be different, but that’s OK! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. =)

  4. Great post India! I know how to answer that question now – if anyone asks me if I’m published yet I’ll say, no I’m an indie virgin! That ought to go over well at parties. Better than, so when’s your book coming out?

  5. I agree it’s about choice – that often depends on character, lifestyles etc of the author – which is the best route? – both need the same amount of commitment, research and hard work. Do not forget some great writers of the past actualy went the vanity press route paying for their books to see light of day – they were great writers of course and printing was so different a hundred years ago!! Writers want others to read and enjoy their tales – some writers want fame and fortune – whichever follow your own path I say.

    • You’re so right, Alberta. I think it’s important that people realise that indie is NOT a shortcut! It’s a lot of hard work, and if anything goes wrong, there’s only one person who is responsible to take care of it. You!

      Not everyone wants that kind of extra work, and that really is a perfectly legitimate reason to look for a traditional publisher.

  6. Part of the confusion in the New Publishing World is the terminology … some people use “indie author” as a synonym for “self-published” – while others use it to mean “small press” – which is also “traditional,” just not part of the NYC crowd.

    Amazon has your new book as being published by Lyrical Press – which is an ebooks publisher, so it’s not self-pub … it’s commercial, which actually makes it “traditional” …

    Does any of this matter to readers? Probably not, it’s just us writers who are wrestling with it. But it’s the marketing that gets the readers, so that’s the bigger concern.

  1. Pingback: D is for Dizzy! | India Drummond

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