Behind closed doors, the writing industry holds some unexpected highs and lows (Image Source: Aidan Curtis)
By Aidan Curtis | @AidanCurt15
There is nothing quite like curling up with a good book to while away the hours, allowing the author to guide you through the pages as you lose yourself in the story.
For some (myself included), reading is a way to make the troubles of everyday life melt away and get transported into the lives of different characters.
That feeling of escape is what motivated Adelaide journalist-turned-author Chloe Hodge to write her debut novel Vengeance Blooms.
“I’ve been passionate about creative writing since I was really young, so as much as I enjoyed certain aspects of journalism, it was being able to transport people into a different reality, and being able to create worlds and character that would hopefully bring joy to readers that really motivated me to write,” Chloe said.
While at first glance it may seem like a dream come true to put pen to paper and suddenly produce a novel, there is actually a large divide in the writing community that can put a lot of stress on the shoulders of aspiring writers.
Traditional publishers and self-published indie authors are waging a little-known battle, with traditional publishing houses having majority control over what books hit the shelves.
This leaves the indie authors to fight against stereotypes of unprofessionalism and poor quality, as they try to break into the market and onto bestseller lists.
“Self-published books are widely viewed as being inferior to traditionally published books because absolutely anyone can publish a book now,” Chloe said.
“If the author doesn’t ensure they’re hiring a professional editor and cover designer, for example, then it shows and reflects badly on the wider industry.
“Traditional publishing houses have teams of professionals who will aid the author and ultimately take care of the publishing process. While this is helpful, it also means the author has less say in the final product and loses complete control over their work.
“It is cheaper to go through a publisher, though. All the printing, editing and getting the cover designed came out of my pocket, but it was worth it to have full control of my book and to be happy with what I had produced.”
The desire for autonomy lead Chloe to become an advocate for Indie Authors Central (IAC): a not-for-profit organisation that gives writers access to editors, cover designers, and marketing tips.
“IAC strives to offer equal opportunities to indie authors in the hopes of evening the playing field and bridging the gap between publishing worlds,” Chloe said.
“My role as an advocate includes reaching out to new people and telling them what services are available.
“It has really improved my resources and I’ve made so many new friends and connections, which has the added bonus of promoting my own work.”
Lionel Kake, the founder of IAC, wanted to see more indie authors pushing to get their works published in a professional way.
“I started IAC because I believe in the work self-published authors put out into the world,” he said.
“I love to help people, and fusing this with my passion for the book industry has given me the opportunity to do what I love and give back to the community.”
Even with all the support provided by IAC, Chloe said she wouldn’t have been able to write if it weren’t for the support of her friends and family.
“My partner in particular has been behind me all the way and that has allowed me to follow my life-long dream,” she said.
“There have been many challenges, sure, but this is what I love doing. I’m so incredibly passionate about it, and that makes it all worth it in the end.”
Even with all the challenges of self-publishing, Chloe has plans to continue writing and hopes to release a second novel by the end of 2020.
Discover more about Chloe’s journey as an author and editor here: https://www.chloehodge.com/