Guest Post by Tami Kidd Masincupp, Co-Founder of Indie House Books
Road trips can lead to many new and exciting adventures, experiences and ideas. Look at Jack Kerouac. The literary classic, On the Road was the result of a road trip. Many other great works of literature were the result of travel across the roads and byways of America from authors like John Steinbeck, John Howard Griffin, Bill Bryson, Mark Twain and Tom Wolfe, just to name a few.
In November of 2011, my husband, Davy and I were on our own road trip. The trip, a 17 hour trek from Florida to Maryland, afforded us plenty of time to talk and for me, armed with my notebook and pen, the opportunity to write. Not that I expected a great piece of literary fiction to culminate from our road trip but as a writer I never know when an idea is going to strike and I have to be prepared.
Several poems and a short story later, I sat back and gazed at the passing landscape out my window. I began to complain about how difficult it is for indie authors to promote their books. Just a few months prior to our trip I released my debut novel, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords in ebook format and paperback. I never dreamed that after writing a novel, the real work was ahead of me.
I knew nothing about promoting my book. I knew my book wasn’t going to magically end up in the hands of eager readers just by wishing it. I knew I needed help and I knew if I needed help, there was a strong possibility that other authors on the same road might also need help.
On the internet I found many, many sites that provided advice on how to promote my book, but I didn’t find many places where I could actually promote my book. I needed a site where I could put my book out there for readers to see, instead of getting lost in a sea of books. Sometimes I felt like the odds of my book being noticed were next to impossible.
The more my husband and I talked the more we realized there was a true need for a site where indie authors could promote their books; where readers are welcome and encouraged to visit. I feverishly scribbled down our thoughts in my notebook. We brainstormed. What would a site like that offer? A “one-stop” shop, where authors could promote their books and readers could browse for books by emerging indie authors. Sure readers can go to one of the large booksellers to find new books by indie authors, but they will be tossed in the mix somewhere on page 400, behind the main-stream authors. Indie authors need a site with them in mind. Somewhere they could call home. They needed a site dedicated to promoting indie authors.
There on Interstate 95, somewhere between Lumberton, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia, an idea was born. Indie House Books was born. Well, in the beginning it had many other names. Some were pretty good, some were downright hilarious. One option was IndieBay, a play on eBay. It was almost Greatful Read…a play on Greatful Dead and NDZone. I don’t know where NDZone came from…maybe we had just drove passed an Auto Zone. Even if we didn’t yet have a name, we had a plan and we were excited. We were going to create a website that indie authors could promote their books for a small fee and in some cases, for free and in exchange we were going to provide a platform for their books. We wanted a website where readers could come and find books by indie authors. We wanted to give indie authors a chance to get their books seen and not be hidden among thousands of other books. We wanted to provide resources for authors. We envisioned having author interviews, and books reviews and upcoming events, like book-signings and new release announcements and author bios.
Here is where I must give credit where credit is due. My husband, Davy created the website all on his own. With very little prior web design experience he created Indie House Books. He amazed me. He took the ideas we came up with on the road trip and ran with them. It’s easy to come up with ideas; the hard part is putting those ideas into action.
On March 4th, which happens to be my daughter Jessica’s birthday, we allowed her to push the button on the computer making Indie House Books live. In less than one hundred days, an idea became a reality.
Since that day we have made many new friends, and gained tons of experience and we are about to celebrate Indie House Books’ one year anniversary. We recently had our website re-designed by a professional web developer. Not that we weren’t happy with the original site, but we feel in order to be the best, we have to grow and evolve. We feel we provide a great service and we are thrilled when we receive thanks from indie authors for our services.
Visit our site, if you’re a reader, you will be pleased to find amazing books by talented indie authors. If you’re an author you will find reasonable promotion options for every pocket book.
Our 17 hour road trip proved to be the most productive 17 hours we have ever spent in a car, perhaps not the most fun *wink wink* but certainly the most productive.