An Indie Title

Twitter, my favorite social network, I can’t explain why but I love it so much! I rarely check Facebook nowadays. I do have a “like page” on Facebook for this website/blog, everything I post here automatically publishes to FB, but I don’t go there and I don’t even have the link displayed anywhere on this J. D. R. Writes site.

Sometimes I go and explore social media randomly and find news, trending topics, and thoughts from other users. This time I came across a tweet that got my attention, and not because it was popular or had a lot of numbers, but it reminded me a lot of conversations I had in Juarez with friends and acquaintances about the independent movement.

This is the tweet, by Nicole Tone.

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Follow her on Twitter

It is incredible to read this years after having all these conversations about the indie scene. Back in 2012 I had a few discussions about artists and the new platforms in which they could have their work published; thanks to the internet many doors have opened for content creators. Blogs, YouTube videos, among other platforms are there, waiting on the web for anyone to take advantage.

The problem that I had back then, is that in my country the support to artists that weren’t on TV or radio 24/7 is from little to none. The first thought people adopted was that “if isn’t on TV or isn’t famous, then it automatically sucks.” And well, we already have a whole different idea about the TV nowadays, right?

Same music all day all night

To me, it was frustrating to look at bands playing in bars amazing music with no payment at all, and no support from the crowd, those bands were basically just a background sound. And the people that went to those music bars, only wanted to listen to covers. New covers, no! They wanted to listen to the so-called “classics” Spanish rock bands like Maná, Caifanes, and Fobia. Same when they played English music–Metallica, Nirvana, Radiohead, and the most popular songs from the 80s and 90s.

Remember, “if it wasn’t on the radio, it isn’t good. So don’t even bother about playing original songs.” Still angers me to hear this.

Many books to read, people stalled based on a false self-proclaimed intellectualism

Literature is a beautiful art that is difficult to appreciate, and it’s usually misjudged by those who don’t even take the time to actually read something.

Why is it difficult to appreciate? Maybe it sounds like I am exaggerating things here, but let’s think about it: when you listen to your favorite songs, you can do it anywhere, and it takes one button to start appreciating it, or just making it your companion while you relax, work, exercise, or want to fully listen to it. An illustration, a painting, photography, or any visual art, they have the advantage that the image is there for you to watch; you might look at the colors and figures and come up with different meanings, for your eyes a red and blue means one thing, and for my eyes the same colors have something completely different to tell; it is a matter of perspective, even when you just want to appreciate the beauty of the painted landscape or human body.

Literary works, though, are a different story. You have pages among pages with only text on them. And the same amount of attention is needed, whether you want to read a fiction novel or a philosophy book. Yes, the philosophy book is heavier than the fiction novel, but to get inside the story or the thoughts of the author, you have to read every single word on every single page. Now, imagine yourself, tired from work, or doing your homework, cleaning your home, or walking around—try to pick a book while you do one of the mentioned activities. It won’t be comfortable. Sure, we have audiobooks, and they totally rock; but they also have a problem: you need to pay attention to every word—the author might be in the middle of a description of a fantasy world, but you ended up distracted by other thoughts, maybe thinking you forgot something. If that happens, you have to rewind a little, and that’s also a distraction.

I am ashamed to admit that a majority in my country, Mexico, don’t have the habit to read. I don’t really feel that it’s a huge problem if your interest is not focused on literature. The problem begins when the few people that read, they have a focus on the classics—it’d be nice if it was just that. No, they aggressively bring the classics as an intellectual self-proclamation. And this is exactly the issue here, which is so alike to the time when some thought that “if it is not well-known, it sucks,” but this goes to a next level: “if it isn’t a well-known classic that was written for one the greatest minds in [whatever] century, then it sucks!” or the worst of the worst: “there aren’t good Mexican writers.” Yeah, because I am sure they, at least, had tried to give an opportunity to many writers, Mexican or not. I’ll write a full post about my fellow Mexicans and their thoughts on literature in the future—for now I’ll get a general overview of the indie authors.

Indie works matter?

Of course. And nowadays indie works get more appreciation than they did a few years ago. Even people have a better reception of others that talk about independent musicians, and not to mention independent movies. Some independent movies are more likely to be categorized in the Art sections. This is indeed revolutionary, with the internet and all the information that’s there, anyone with a certain amount of funds (at least for a good recording equipment) has the chance to do something. Same applies to music, of course.

Literature, again, is another story.

Dear indie writer

I know your struggle. It is even hard for people to pick a book that is not on the best seller section of your favorite bookstore. And it is hard to get information about a book because our only guide is a synopsis on the back and a few reviewers on YouTube and blogs (and they rarely cover an indie book); don’t forget that the majority of these booktubers and book bloggers are small, they don’t get many followers as I believe they should. I understand, though, that is not so entertaining to watch/read them, they don’t have many visual aids. When youtubers talk about games or movies, they can borrow clips (though I believe they have more restriction to take clips from movies), or post photos and speak about it and make memes out of the images. Booktubers, well, they can quote a few things and speak about it or joke, but it isn’t as appealing as a photo, don’t you think?

There are a lot of independent platforms to self-publish, Amazon KDP being one of the most relevant, and it is as cheap as you want or as expensive as you want (one doesn’t mean better than the other).

Talk about low budget

Some writers only care about writing a story. A book shouldn’t be judged by its cover. Unfortunately, the cover is the presentation, the first thing a customer is going to see when exploring a bookstore or any online retailer. If someone is looking for new books, I am sure that they’ll ignore the books with a cover with just a title and its author. So the first recommendation, and I believe anyone would say the same, is that you commission a cover that makes it attractive for a potential customer. Or if the author is also an illustrator, you’re great!

Editing. One thing that many aspiring authors ask is if it’s enough read and re-read your book to edit it by yourself, and that’s a HUGE NO! Yes, if you want to write, you have to read and re-read your own work and polish it as many times as you like. However, YOUR editing, not matter how many times you change and edit it, that’d be just the FIRST RECOMMENDED step. Just take in account that it’s harder to detect our own mistakes, and this is a reality. A second, and maybe a third, person is recommended, too, in order to find other mistakes you didn’t even consider. This could be a bit tricky, though, because if you choose a family member or any friend to help you edit, then they might go soft on you and won’t even tell you a good critique to avoid any conflict or hurt feelings. The problem is, that if you get a customer and the work isn’t too well-polished (there’s not a perfect piece of art, so don’t look for perfection either), could mean a one-star review (even it your work doesn’t deserve that low review), and the greatest problem with this, is that most people don’t even read the reviews—the moment they see the one-star review, they’ll just pass. Extremes aren’t good, and I know many one-star reviews are there just because that customer didn’t like the book.

Indeed, maybe a book is the cheapest art to make, but as cheap as it might be, the effort put in a good story, characters, world-building, and even a small thing as a synopsis, is big and tiring. And maybe sometimes with the risk of getting nothing in return. it is discouraging.

Conclusion

Whenever you see an author, give him/her an opportunity. There are a lot of independent authors with digital books for less than four dollars (of free if you have Kindle Unlimited), or other authors that have their book completely free on Amazon, just building a fan base and looking for reviews. Or bloggers that just write their own stories for free.

Have a look, write them a nice comment. And sharing is caring!


Feel free to tell me your opinion on indie authors, or artists in general. Do you have any blog or book available on Amazon?

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Thank you for your time.

Time, Time, Time

Time, time, time.

Time always go on. Time doesn’t see the difference between people and objects. Time just go on.

Time is not waiting for you or me. Time is always heading towards future without looking back.

We’re not important in its eyes. Time just go through an infinite path forward. It doesn’t care if the world ends, the time will still flow through the Universe, ignoring its beauty.

Not even Death can stop it.


Sometimes we go telling excuses when we don’t want to do something. It’d be nice if we could just tell the truth, it isn’t hard and it’s way healthier than lie and make that lie bigger. It is understandable that we want to manage our time according to our situation, we need time for ourselves, time to entertain ourselves, time to be alone, time to hang our with our friends and our families. Balance! You work hard, you study hard, or do your best to do both. You deserve that time to do whatever you please.


The problem began when you want to start a project. We’ve seen successful people on the internet, and we only see the superficial part of it; them living a good life with free time 24/7, while most of us need to work full-time, sometimes working overtime, and not even close getting enough payment to have a good life for us and our loved ones. We get frustrated, and believe they shouldn’t earn that much when they don’t work all day all night, and I wonder: is that the truth? Projects are difficult to achieve, and some don’t know how to even start doing something having someone (an employer, a boss) telling them what to do, directly or indirectly, and a contract in the middle of it.

I remember wanting to start a podcast with some friends. We’d never intended to make sound too “professional”, we just wanted to talk about random things and hobbieshave fun, and that’s it. The thing is, that each of us had different jobs and different schedules, so we decided to divide the audio editing, topics to talk about, and equipment. Well, even though we made a fun project, we abandoned it right away. We recorded the audio, but “we” didn’t make enough time to edit, and the division of each function didn’t start. Once we’d headed to our homes, the podcast was left forgotten, and we only talked about it when we reunited.

Dreams don’t matter until you make time to pursue them. And pursuing them don’t matter either if you stop. Time is always there, reminding you of the things you’ve done… or haven’t done.

We say successful people don’t deserve what they have, but we don’t know their sacrifice to get there. Maybe some didn’t do much, but THEY DID.


T1

I’ve been playing Steins;Gate Elite on PS4 in my free times lately, and I made it to the point where they mention that “time flows like a river…” and showed the illustration above. The river flowing to the future, and a leaf representing the present; a leaf is the present, and all of us traveling on it, non-stop until we fall off (die). However, when we die the leaf still goes on, and we see how insignificant we are for the Universe, and how insignificant is the Universe to time.

T2

The second illustration reminds me of the time a person asked if a tree falls would it make noise if no one is there to hear it. To me, this represents us how much we believe we are somehow superior to nature, and that is wrong. Sure, I understand that if no one is around, any sound would be lost in the distance, there would be no receptor of the sound that has occurred in a forest, or an abandoned town, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s happening. Our planet is moving non-stop in the Galaxy, whether we perceive its movement or not (day, night, seasons).

The time and the Universe won’t wait for us.


How do you perceive time? Do you have enough time to do exactly what you want? Or at least what is the most important to you?

Tell me your thoughts.


If you want to contact me directly or just look at my posts, thoughts and random stuff, feel free to follow me here and/or Twitter.

Reading is a Hobby

reading

As the title says, reading is a hobby. Good. Now, time to explain myself. Why did I come up with this now? It is unfortunate that in my country, Mexico—and some other Latin American countries, I think—, the people never read, we are really famous for that, and I think is kind of a shame. However, you’ve been given the opportunity to meet people and you start to know why. You realize that half of the blame falls on these pseudo intellectuals that roam around believing they’re smarter than anyone else because they read. Wrong. If anyone reads, it is because this person likes it; that must be the only reason. Reading is a hobby.

Indeed, there are so many genres and types of books. From college books, which are there to show you some references about a certain class, call ir physics, government, history, philosophy, you name it. There are also fantasy and fiction books that aren’t meant to give you life lessons—though some actually manage to give greater messages than these so-called “self-improvement” books, but that goes for another post in the future. Just like television and games, fiction/fantasy books are there to entertain you, nothing else. One of the reasons a lot of people are reluctant when it comes to reading is because—and thanks to the mentioned pseudo intellectuals—it appears to be more of a task than anything. It is still common to see someone with interest in literature changing mind the moment some others say that you must read [insert a classic here], and if you don’t, then you are a fool. NO! Please, do not listen to them. There are a lot of books out there for everyone. There are so many things out there for you to sit and enjoy, get lost in the thousand worlds that are being created. It shouldn’t be taken as a task.

READ

This should only apply at school, don’t be like Snape if you’re not a teacher

Can you imagine? At the end of your shift, you’re tired after your 5-10 hour routine (doesn’t matter if you work part-time or full-time), you bought a few bargain books because you want to start a new hobby, sit on your sofa, and then you remember that guy at your school or job calling you [insert your favorite insult based on self-ignorance] because you’re not starting with one of the classics. I don’t know, but I would do something else instead; something that doesn’t feel like something with rules that must be followed in order to understand what’s going on.

The only question you must ask yourself is: What am I looking for? Maybe you’re looking for fantasy—you might want to start with Harry Potter, or the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Maybe you’re looking for science fiction—you might want to start with Isaac Asimov that, even though he’s one of the classic authors of the genre, his stories are easy to follow and very enjoyable. Of course, these are only my personal recommendations, and the library for each genre is huge. There’s something there for you; something that’s going to become part of your life or the most beautiful of your literary memories.

Remember, reading is a hobby. It is a hobby that’ll make you PLAY with your imagination, even let you be the protagonist. You might end up liberating a Kingdom, or saving the world. Who knows!


I found the photo at the top of this post from Google Images

Listen to the Night

In the darkest hour I wished to be a part of the night ride. Only the breeze of air that goes carrying the ghosts of history around the world, watching over us, whispering silent words from meaningful events that had been ignored. Listened carefully, I’ve felt the calling of the old beasts while my last dream became a nightmare as I woke up. Tears of happiness became screams of agony; real life attacked with all its strength. No compassion from it. Needless to say, I feel weak against it, I had never been taught how to defend myself. A thousand versions of the past left me confused when I tried to follow a figure. My present is blank, and my arms don’t carry any weapon to become one figure myself.

Every night I walk the street, trying to avoid human contact as much as I can. There’s no reason to look at someone else’s eyes, and hear them say words contradicted by their souls and bodies. I’d wish I could just erase my language, every single word I know. I and my emotions would be one with Earth, and more specific, the night. After 12:00am the truth shows itself: no one is looking, you can’t be judged, and people are so drunk they can’t even lie without revealing past guilt in the process. Everything is covered by its true color, adorned with a few neon lights that try really hard to bring the lies the sun carry when it shows up.

I can’t recall my first revelation. My mind was set on friendship and family; both put a happy mask on me, just to cover what I’ve been feeling all my life. I smiled, I remember, but it was just muscle. They go away soon, no matter how they tell you how close they are. Give your best, people forget really soon, unless you make a single mistake. Family love is just a mere compromise, similar to buying something expensive and you don’t want to let it go because the you paid a lot for it but not for its meaning or usefulness. I am the only one paying attention to those ancient ghosts. I am writing some of their words in which I agree. Bodies were buried or burned to ashes, but their silent presence will remain on Earth until she decides when to stop living. When she’s had enough of human presence and start again, or just gone forever.

If something happens when my time is up, I’d like to give some advice: listen carefully at night. As foolish as this sounds, silence carries the truth of everything. I am not allowed to speak any more because spreading the word will only distort language if it’s told by us. Pay attention to the environment, don’t be afraid of darkness, and more important, learn from them; they try to warn us from what’s coming very soon, the old beasts.

Dream, Only Dream

“Hello.” you heard a voice from afar. “You’ve promised to come here.”

A high pitch voice you can’t tell if it comes from a girl or a little kid who is trying to annoy the hell out of you. Keep sleeping, the sun is kicking you already, but the bed is really comfortable. The alarm is off, I remember you are free today, aren’t you? Lucky bastard, most people are preparing themselves for their daily work while you have at least two days to rest; your bills are the only responsibility that you have. Do not worry about the world, it’s just you and these walls around you. Turn on your TV or the radio, just listen to the news you don’t give a shit about. Opportunities are everywhere but there’s no need to take them. Earning enough money to cover all your needs will suffice.

“Let’s be real.” Said someone long ago. “No one can live of dreams.”

At first, you doubted in yourself for years. Every word you said was received by laughs and sarcastic comments. And they happened to be right all along; working hard is not an option, just get the first opportunity because the easiest way to go is the best. Never risk anything and be afraid of fail. If you fail once, that means you are nothing. You’ll be no one. Human progress is synonym of employee. Remember that all successful businesses are part of some conspiracy cult, and your heart can’t carry the lives of people; so be once yourself; stay below the average life.

“Hello. Please answer me.” Again with that voice. It sounds really different, though. The time goes really fast, it will never stop. Make a choice, answer to that voice that sounds more adult now. So it was a boy and now he became a teenager, that’s really weird. How long has it been since you heard him last time? Well, don’t use your brain on irrelevant things. It’s time to think what to do about your life. Ignore everything that happens. You have always done that and now it’s time to give another step. Stop saying excuses. It’s funny to remember when the first excuses came to avoid school and work for a day or two. Your case is really different, putting excuses to not do the things you dreamed all your life. Wanted independence, you got it but now you can’t do it because you’re tired, and you work really hard, it’s understandable. But you never feel tired when your hobbies came, right?

Your path has been written already. Keep dreaming all your life, that’s all you can do; a person with no will is going to be forgotten in no time. Feel good because you won’t fail at anything or receive any humiliation. No one will know anything about you. Keep dreaming, never answer to that voice that long ago had a dream that wanted to become reality.

Keep dreaming, but only dreaming.