Columbia, Missouri touts itself as a bastion to artists of all types… Unless you’re an indie published author. Then you might as well not exist.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not a New York Times Best-Selling Author. I’m not a USA Today Best-Selling Author. I have topped the Amazon charts a few times. I’ve even had multiple books on the Amazon charts at one time. However, getting anyone to take me seriously is a battle.
So, this is how it currently works. I average between $2000 and $3000 a month in book sales. This means I officially write books for a living. This is all I do, I do not have a side job; I’m not delivering newspapers or flipping burgers to help pay the bills. Now, last month, I made well over $7,000. This month, I’ll do close to that again.
In July, a reporter from VOX Magazine, which is run by our local Columbia Missourian and is an “art-centric” magazine for the community, called me about doing an interview. I was contacted again in August. They wanted to talk to someone who had a book being published in September and I did. However, all of it went by the wayside when they found out I was independently published. I could almost hear the disappointment when they asked which publishing house had me under contract and I told them I was an indie.
In August, all nine Dreams & Reality books were ranked on Amazon in several categories (horror, thrillers, hard-core mystery, and crime fiction… this included a pre-order book – Belladonna Dreams). Books 1 & 2 were both on the Amazon top 100 overall best selling books. Yet, my story for VOX was still a no-go. We have 2 indie bookstores in town, only 1 is willing to carry my books (thank you Village Book Store!). Of course, they don’t sell many because my books are a little high for an “unknown” author, especially an “unknown local author.”
I do not get invited to do book talks at either the Boone County Historical Society’s monthly book talks or the monthly talks at OSHER. I was scheduled for a book talk at the Boone County Historical Society, but it was cancelled due to a possible weather issue and when I attempted to reschedule, they didn’t seem interested. I am also not invited to the Daniel Boone Regional Library’s book talks or panel discussions on publishing.
I do not feel welcome at local meetings of the writer’s guild, because I primarily write horror. I haven’t been to a meeting in a long time, but when I did attend, they always snubbed their nose at my preferred genre. My dealings with guild members in recent years leads me to believe that this has not changed much. It also leads me to believe that my status as an indie is unwelcome. Furthermore, since I’m not the “starving artist,” because being an indie does pay my bills, several guild members have called me a “money writer.” This essentially means I only write because it makes me money, not because I love to write.
So, I, who has made enough money to live on all year through book sales, is not considered a real “author” by my “artist friendly” community. How very strange… Even stranger, I have been asked to do book signings in several places in Kansas, but only Village Books in (Columbia) Missouri. Sad that my native city finds me more of an embarrassment and non-entity than their rival state.