Excellence in Indie Publishing GIVEAWAY Guest Post: Sondra Kraak

May 16, 2017 giveaway, Sondra Kraak 29

 

As part of the Excellence in Indie Publishing multi-book/multi-genre giveaways going on this week here at RimSP, I am delighted to welcome several of the participating authors as they share glimpses into their journey and into their hearts. Sondra Kraak kicks us off today with her story – and some encouragement for all of us!

The Best Reason to Go Indie

When I started writing fiction as a twelve-year-old, I imagined my books on the shelf of the local Christian bookstore. That’s what publishing looked like in 1992.

Twenty years later, when I returned to writing fiction, the landscape of publishing had shifted, making viable a new option: self-publishing. (Not to be confused with vanity publishing in which the author pays money upfront to a company that publishes her book).

Independent (indie) publishing, as self-publishing is frequently called, means the author becomes a small business owner, an entrepreneur—or as some refer to it, an authorpreneur. The author puts together a team composed of editors, cover designer, formatter, marketer, and puts out her book through any number of platforms. Most commonly, and importantly, Amazon. She is her own boss and maintains sole rights on her work.

When I first heard of indie publishing, I was intrigued. Own my own business? Work like many other artists and sell my own product? Yes, I wanted to learn more, but I proceeded cautiously because I had the idea that indie authors were traditional publishing’s rejects (this is sometimes true but often false, and more and more today, people are choosing indie).

My husband was not as intrigued. Although he’s this mountain man who’d rather be off the path on the tundra of Alaska than swarming the visitor’s center with the crowds, he plays it safe with finances and major life decisions. Can I get an “amen” from those who love the least stressful path? In the case of books, that acceptable, predictable path was traditional publishing.

Decision made. I would pursue traditional publishing.

But a few months later, the miracle happened. After an author friend shared her experience going indie, and I in turn shared with my husband, he began to research about the world of indie (thank you Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn for such great information). And then he said to me, in a moment when the heavens opened and birds sang, “I think you should consider going indie.”

What?! Now that he’d opened the door, I wasn’t so sure.

We gathered information, and we prayed, and the excitement and joy and peace built up within us. That’s when we knew: this was my way. Not everyone’s way, but the right way for me.

And here it is, the best reason to choose the indie route: the Lord chooses it for you. He puts the path in front of you with an invitation to step in faith, and you do it. He makes the way clear to you, and you do it. He invites you into the process, and you do it.

My advice to those considering going indie is to look at many things including finances, an honest view of one’s writing abilities, long-term career goals, and the state of the publishing world. But above all, be sensitive and submissive to the Lord’s guidance. Personal motivations, peer pressures, and advice from well-meaning industry professionals can create a clamor that drowns out the Lord’s direction. Don’t let them.

Here’s the thing. Listening to the Lord and following his voice isn’t only the best reason to go indie, but it’s also the best reason to pursue traditional publishing.

And it’s the best reason to do anything.

A Christian is bound in service to the Lord Jesus, and we are to maintain the posture of one looking to his master (Psalm 123). Thus, I’m going to say the hard word now as I close my post.

A common trend in evangelical culture is this wild and free dreaming mentality. It’s a deceptive, self-focused inspirational message telling us that God will bless our dreams because he’s on our side. It’s the message that true freedom is fulfilling your dreams. We can be and do whatever we want because Philippians 4:13 promises that Christ will give me strength.

The truth: God plants his desires in our hearts, and we can call these dreams, and he does bless obedience, and he does give strength. But he also requires absolute submission as our Lord and King, and our personal happiness (dream-fulfillment) is not his goal.

He has kingdom goals and purposes that are larger than our small lives, and the beautiful thing is he invites us to be part of this work. We do that by continually tuning our ears to hear his direction and our wills to respond to his Spirit.

We are first of all servants of the King, children of the Most High. And after that, we are authors. Let us work to maintain this perspective in all our life choices.

A native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was a Genesis semi-finalist (2015) and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women’s Fiction Award (2015). Sondra has since published three novels.

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As part of the historical fiction Excellence in Indie Publishing giveaway, you can win a prize pack of books, including Such a Hope by Sondra Kraak!

Washington Territory, 1871

Anna Warren grew up on the seat of a wagon, the daughter of Seattle’s busiest freighter. After her father’s death—a tragedy away from home—she returns to their cabin on the outskirts of Seattle, seeking the sense of belonging that eluded her childhood. But will her desire to pray for miraculous healing for the sick and wounded endear or alienate her to the community? Her most aggravating challenger is also her staunchest defender and has brown hair and eyes, stands six feet tall, and farms with unchecked tenacity. Tristan Porter. This farmer her father had befriended holds more secrets than Yesler’s Mill holds logs.

When ugly rumors arise about her spiritual gift and her property, Anna fears her quest to find belonging will be thwarted.

Tristan holds the truth to set her free, but revealing it will require him to face the disappointments of his past and surrender his plans for the future—a sacrifice he’s not sure he can make.

 

Head over HERE to enter & while you’re there, enter these other three giveaways as well!

Carrie

29 Responses to “Excellence in Indie Publishing GIVEAWAY Guest Post: Sondra Kraak”

  1. Stephenia H. McGee

    Sondra, this is a wonderful post! Your story is similar to mine. I had this thought that if I indie published, it was somehow saying I wasn’t “good enough” for the “real” publishing world. God continued to direct me toward the independent path, and honestly, I fought Him on it for quite some time. In His loving way, He kept answering my question with what I didn’t really want Him to say until I finally swallowed my pride and followed Him. And, wow, He was right. I really love running this little publishing business I have and putting together a team of amazing people I truly love working with. Now He has even opened doors for me to start working with other authors, people whose work I have long admired. Pretty soon my company will produce a series that I am ecstatic to be a part of. Thank you for sharing your story. Indie is not the path for everyone, but you are spot-on. The very best thing about it for me is simply that I am right in the center of where He wanted me to be.

    • Sondra Kraak

      Isn’t it so fun to be indie? It’s great to hear all the similarities in many Christian indie journeys! May you continue to hear his leading.

  2. Teresa Tysinger

    “… the best reason to choose the indie route: the Lord chooses it for you. He puts the path in front of you with an invitation to step in faith, and you do it. He makes the way clear to you, and you do it. He invites you into the process, and you do it.” This quote makes me teary. As an indie author in the thick of publishing her first novel, this is what I lean on daily…sometimes minute by minute. Thank you, Sondra, for sharing your heart.

  3. Connie Almony

    Yes and amen. Follow God’s call!!! How every decision should be made. I remember once a pastor amended a common saying. We often talk about submitting our wants to what God knows we need. The pastor said that in following God, it’s not just what God knows we need, it is what we would WANT if we knew what He knew. God is not only our Sovereign. He is a WISE and LOVING Father.

  4. Heather Day Gilbert

    Sondra–thanks so much for sharing your story. It was nice getting to know more about how you were led to this path. I feel the same way–God is the one who steered me this way, and following His leading gave me blessings/opened doors I hadn’t even planned on. All the best in your writing career!

  5. Rebecca Maney

    One of my favorite author friends, soon to meet face to face a couple times this summer, can’t wait! What a great story and such an encouragement to see and hear and read all about your journey as an author! Best of all, she’s a Carolina girl like me!

    Believe it or not, my husband and I are talking about (finally!) my taking steps towards publishing some of the children’s books that I wrote years ago, and not so long ago. It’s been my dream for so long. Taking that first step into the wide unknown is a little scary, isn’t it?

  6. sarahmonzonwrites

    Beautifully put, Sondra. I felt the same way–called to indie publishing.

  7. Jennifer Rodewald

    Sondra, I love this now just as much as I loved it last month when I first read it. You’re gifted my friend, and I love your obedient heart!

  8. April Gardner

    Excellent article, Sondra. I cheered on a number of occasions. Especially at this line: And then he said to me, in a moment when the heavens opened and birds sang, “I think you should consider going indie.”

    Thank Jesus for His guiding hand! I’ve been indie 1.5 years and have loved every moment of it.

    • Sondra Kraak

      That was a big, jaw dropping moment with my husband, April! (I’m waiting for another moment about something else)

      We’ve been indie about the same amount of time. Can’t believe it’s been that long. There’s still so much to learn!

  9. Amanda J.

    Sondra, I wanted you to know I love your writing… One Plus One Equals Trouble and Two Ways Home were fantastic!! I can’t wait for Cam’s story. For Such a Hope is on my bookshelf waiting its turn TBR. I pray you continue to seek the Lord!!

  10. Becky Smith

    My favorite line: “But above all, be sensitive and submissive to the Lord’s guidance.”
    Great post!

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