Welcome to My Crazy Life
If I had one word to describe the world of indie publishing, it would be crazy. Ironically, and because I believe everything really does happen for a reason, I’m fortunate enough to have a background and brand behind me that allow me to define ‘crazy’ a little differently than most. To me, crazy is not a bad word. Instead, it symbolizes creativity, chaos, and a little bit of spunk. I wouldn’t want it—or my journey—to be any different.
I’ve decided to start this blog to offer new writers and potential publishers a glimpse into a very real and transparent road I’ve traveled through indie publishing. While I haven’t come close to seeing it all, as a multi-genre, hybrid author and now publisher, I have had my share of experiences. I have made many mistakes along my messy path to bringing my words to readers. At the same time, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great successes under my belt too. My point? I’m no different than you. And this journey really IS crazy.
In my author group for Crazy Ink authors, I am happy to post rejection letters and share my mistakes as well as celebrate my successes. Like the company I run, I believe it takes learning from those mistakes to succeed. I will attempt to do the same here – to share with you the lessons I am learning along the way in an effort to make your journey a little smoother. I’d love to hear about your experiences and adventures too.
Before I get into my epic list of mistakes (upcoming blog) let me tell you a little about myself. This is the abbreviated version of my crazy life and the roads that led me to indie publishing. I come from a background that has led well to the path I’m currently on. In my first career, I worked as a journalist. This experience gave me the ability to write quickly and keep to tight deadlines. For this reason, I am able to release books often. At the same time, authors in the indie community have accused me of “flooding the market” because of how frequently I release. To me? Well, there is no such thing. I want my and my authors’ books out there. I want the brand seen and known. I am slowly learning that you can’t please everyone and life really does, like the Crazy Ink slogan reads, “take all kinds.” For me, the more quality material I am able to feed to readers, the better. Why wouldn’t I capitalize on an asset? It only seems logical to make the most of my ability to write quickly. My and my authors’ readers are hungry and I see no need to hold back the words and stories or tease them when they are what keeps the pens moving across the page.
Obviously, journalism was not where it ended. That was only my beginning. My second career was as a marketing director in a mental health agency. There, I learned about a different kind of “crazy.” It bothered me. There was stigma to the word and what surrounded it and I didn’t think it was fair. I wanted to remove the shame from the word. I wanted to do something important. I just didn’t fully know it yet. While I had enjoyed my work as a journalist, I was raising kids at the time and needed more stable hours than work at a daily newspaper as a beat reporter would afford. So, making the best of career two, I got to know the consumers who used the nonprofit agency as a resource to help them manage a variety of pretty severe pathologies. In listening to their stories and getting close-up perspectives on the struggles they faced in their daily lives, I became both fascinated and inspired. While I was gaining marketing skills I had no idea would one day lead to my starting my own crazy company, I wanted to do more than write brochures on suicide prevention. Instead, I found myself lingering in waiting rooms, getting to know clients and doing my best to offer pretty much unsolicited advice. It was the moments where a client would smile or laugh or thank me for listening that made me plan my next course of action.
In 2011, I enrolled in graduate school. Because I’ve always loved children and believe any mental illness impacts family units, I decided to specialize in family therapy. During my grad school interview, I was asked what the one client population I would not be able to work with would be. I said I could not work with sex offenders. Well? Everything happens for a reason. Now, as a home-based therapist specializing in at risk families, I work with families and kids from all walks of life who are generally court-appointed. About forty percent of my cases involve allegations of sexual abuse. These families are in crisis and risk being torn apart due to neglect, abuse, and other charges. It’s my job to “fix” the situation and place kids in safe homes. I can tell you, there is never any real fix. What I’ve learned from this experience is that you can only do your best: Something I apply to my publishing work now. Another lesson for the future I didn’t see coming. Life’s crazy like that.
These days, as a member of Crazy Ink Publishing, LLC, I am striving to take the skills I’ve learned in my former and current careers to celebrate life’s crazy ride. While I often write about real life cases and clients under the pen name EL George, I also enjoy escaping into fictional worlds where things aren’t so heavy. Frankly, it’s fun to take a bearded lady and turn her into a werewolf. #CircusFreakSeries. But in all honesty, my current passion is behind building the Crazy brand so that I can help both authors, mental health charities, and readers alike.
To have a solid business, you need a strong plan. But you need more than that. While it is my goal to treat every author’s book like it is my own and continue that pesky old “flooding the market” gig, I also have a bigger dream. As the company grows, I intend to donate part of its proceeds to mental health advocacy. While I miss my days as a beat reporter and many of the challenging client groups I have served, I have no intention of steering away from my roots of service no matter how quickly Crazy continues to grow. I know no other way than to be curious, to ask questions, and to try to help out where I can. Crazy and chaotic or not, it is just who I am and will continue to drive the decisions I make around CIP.
It is my hope that Crazy Ink will be a supportive, bully-free place where authors lift each other up and form a community where they can depend on one another. I can’t be everywhere at all times but do try to be available. I also can’t do the free therapy authors and readers alike often request of me, but I can be a listening ear. I truly believe that, together, we can do something crazy fantastic and take our readers with us on this wild ride we call publishing!
So there’s a little about crazy old me and how I got here. Blurb: I’ll try anything once and generally don’t live with a lot of regret. I believe in the community we are slowly beginning to form and am honored that authors have trusted me with their dreams, passion and words. I’d love suggestions for ways you’d like me to use this blog, topics you’d like to see, and any questions you may have. I will post frequently about pitfalls and successes along the way and wish you the best in your lives, reading and writing. Thanks for hopping aboard the Crazy Train. Buckle up!
I love when a successful person admits that she has had some setbacks, too, because that encourages we who have mostly had setbacks in publishing can look ahead to the time when we start having more successes than failures if we learn from the issues we face along the path to writing success or life success for that matter.
So proud to call you a friend. I entirely understand your definition of "crazy" being in the same general career path outside the writing world. I love you and the fact you had faith in me and gave me a chance with no knowledge of if I had anything to offer a reader, for that I will be forever grateful. Crazy ink is full of amazing support from fellow authors and fans. I highly recommend to anyone - new - or established authors to give Erin and Crazy Ink a try
Your experiences have made you fully-rounded and perfect to be in the position you are in. You are hard working and strive for perfection, but all understand the struggles of the real world. I've seen your struggles at having to toughen up as Crazy Ink has become successful. That is an incredibly hard thing to do, suddenly having to put friendships aside in order to make a business successful. This is where many fail.
I love these kinds of stories, when we learn how our online friends came to be where they are. Thank you for sharing yours and doing everything you do for your team. Everyone at Crazy Ink is clearly well cared for, and it makes me happy to see how happy it makes you, even through the sweat and stress. Just know that from an outsider's perspective, it shows how much effort goes into it, how each challenge is faced directly, and how supportive everyone is of each other.
I love this, I love how open and honest the introduction is and cannot wait to read more. I would love hearing about your day to day experiences good and bad will help and encourage a lot of people. So just keep doing what your doing with this blog. Be you and I for one will love it.
I still consider myself very new to the Indie world. When I signed with my previous publisher you were there. Everyone there told us to watch how you did things. They wanted us to copy how you played the publishing game. It was intimidating. You were intimidating. You were writing amazing books, publishing them constantly and marketing like a beast. Still, you took time to offer advice and friendly words every chance you got. Over the past several months I have had the pleasure of publishing with you and the Crazy Ink family. It's an entirely different experience. After the closing of my first pub company, you were there. You kept telling me not to worry, you had this. You truly did. You didn't hesitate to step in and take me, along with several others under your wing. I've come to realize it wasn't intimidation I felt when I first saw you kicking butt at the old pub house. It was inspiration. You inspire others by simply being a great, caring, person. You were one of the first to ever give me encouragement in this endeavour and for that I will always be thankful. Thank you for letting me join the Crazy Ink family on this crazy ride. 💜
ERIN, MY EXPERIENCE WITH YOU, KIM, TIFFANY S. HAS BEEN SO POSITIVE IM BLESSED TO BE PART OF Crazy...with gratitude. Judy
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Follow my journey through the crazy world of indie publishing, writing and growing a business. Here, you'll find news on releases i am excited about, support for other authors through blog tours and blitzes because #Sharingiscaring and more!
Erin Lee, who also writes as EL George, is a USA Today Bestselling multi genre author unafraid to chase the madness. Author of more than 100 titles and creator of Crazy Ink Publishing, LLC, she'll try anything once and never turns down a dare.