The Indies Unlimited Oasis

It was sometime in April 2012. I was parched and past sweating, crossing the vast indie publishing desert on my virtual hands and knees, when a message appeared before me. Maybe it was on Twitter; maybe it was on Facebook. In any case, it didn’t look like a mirage – although who can say, really, with mirages? What criteria can you use, except your own senses? And I knew from experience that sensory input is not to be trusted in such a situation; until you get on top of a mirage, it looks solid enough.

My heat-addled brain drifted back to the summer days of my childhood, driving with my parents along an endless ribbon of highway. With a child’s naivete, I believed in the puddles of water on the road before us, perfectly reflecting the sky above. Alas, as we reached them, they shimmered into nothingness. Baffled, I turned to my parents. “Where did the puddle go?” I asked, and they told me it had been a mirage.

So you never know, I told myself now. This message could be another of those mirages so common to the indie desert: a come-on for a contest with a steep entrance fee in the fine print*; or a guest post that disappears into the ether with the blog’s makeover; or any one of a number of other opportunities that appear marvelous on the surface, but that evaporate when you get too close.

I dithered. The merciless sun climbed higher in the sky. At length, I decided it was either pursue or perish. With my last bit of strength, I clicked the link – and discovered the oasis that is Indies Unlimited.

It was not a mirage! It was real, and solid, and packed with useful information and advice. I wandered through the posts in amazement. Whole new worlds opened before me – like-fests and book promos and Animoto.

And the people seemed to appreciate my input, even when I admitted I had no interest in Pinterest. And they were funny.

So when the Evil Mastermind offered me free gruel if I’d stay, well, my answer was easy. Head back out into that trackless desert – that barren waste – alone? I think not.

*Fine print: This might be a slight over-dramatization of my experience. Your mileage may vary. Offer good only on the planet Earth. Do not operate motor vehicle with windshield shade in place. Happy birthday, Indies Unlimited!

Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. But she began as a fantasy writer (in the second grade), and is back at it today. She currently lives near Washington, DC. Learn more about Lynne at her blog and at her Amazon author page.

27 thoughts on “The Indies Unlimited Oasis”

  1. A lovely post, Lynne. I don’t actually recall, for sure, how I happened on the IU site either; everything before Indies is a bit of a blur. I have a feeling it was through LinkedIn though, I know it wasn’t a tweet because I’m still trying to get my head around tweeting to this day.

    I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to the technological, social media generation and, with the various groups I’ve looked at, the fit never seemed quite right (I guess I’ve always been a bit of a lone wolf). However, from the very beginning, I felt a connection with Indies Unlimited; that’s down to Stephen, for the vision he had for IU, and everyone he has attracted to it and who shares his dream: all the IU staff and the ever growing IU following. And whatever he puts in the gruel of course!

  2. Very nice, Lynne. But the gruel, as I can attest by the chemical analysis performed by the EM’s own…I mean, independent laboratories in dozens of double-blind studies and peer-reviewed journals, contains absolutely nothing but…more gruel. And maybe a few thousandths of a percent of various bug parts, cigar ash, and something that looks like a thread from JD Mader’s favorite hat. But who’s quibbling. It’s mostly good. As long as you avoid the little yellow capsules.

  3. I haven’t a clue how I came across Indie and all you cool guys who reside here. I sort of feel like I was sheltering under your front porch when it was raining and was invited in to dry off. I sort of stuck around offering to make coffee for everyone and hovered around gathering priceless tips about another world. I’m hoping to be adopted one day or promoted to gruel maker, that would be my dream job. ( you’d get an extra helping from me guys) but please don’t tell that to Mr Hise. I’ve never met him but I’ve heard the most frightening noises coming from behind his office door when I’ve left his coffee outside for him. *Shudders* you are all so brave. Glad to look on from the sidelines, you all seriously ROCK! 😉

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