When I was a little newbie and didn’t know SEO from a hole in the ground, I wandered into a Facebook group and met a smart, sassy author and photographer named KS Brooks, also known as Kat. At the time, I had a manuscript I was thinking of self-publishing. And a lot of questions. Kat answered them. She was funny and had a very long list of titles to her credit: two thriller series and the delightful Mr. Pish books. I could only dream of having so many books on my shelf one day. And she shared her bounty of knowledge. I read the articles she suggested and paid attention to the discussions. She and Stephen Hise ran a website called Indies Unlimited, and it was rife with people doing what I wanted to do. I felt like I’d found my tribe.
As I moved from a casual reader of the blog to a guest-poster to a full-fledged minion, Kat was always there to help me. I was having trouble getting one of my short stories to format right on Smashwords, and she converted the file for me. She gave me great feedback on my book descriptions; she was always there with a high-five when I published new titles; she introduced me to people who could help get the word out about them. And nearly any time I needed to learn a better way to do something, Kat had either written the tutorial on it or could point me toward someone who had. Or, she invited me to write one myself. We minions have a little joke around the gruel pot that if you ask, “Hey, does anyone know about such-and-such [website or promotion or publisher]…?” Kat will ask you to write a post or a tutorial about it. But, see, that’s so smart of her. In writing about something, I learn even more about the topic, as well as having an opportunity to help other authors. Everyone wins.
I admire Kat because she worked so hard to make a home base for indie authors where we can learn and grow, compare notes about what worked, dream up ways of making it work better, inspire others to be curious and innovative and learn how to be more effective — better writers and marketers and salespeople. I admire her because she shared it all with us and continues to share, embodying the principle that giving an indie a fish might not help in the short term, but teaching an indie to fish will ensure that he or she will write a book about it. Yes, I tortured that metaphor a bit, but you get my drift.
She even makes her less-than-ideal experiences funny and insightful and gives us something we can take away from them. She is the main reason why, when I suffer some of my most embarrassing and discouraging moments as an author, one of my first thoughts is along the lines of “What would Kat do?” She’d try to make it funny. So I try to turn my miscues into comedy and write blog posts about them. Maybe that way, I can also help another author laugh about something that didn’t go as planned. I admire her humor, her drive, her intelligence, and her ability to keep moving and flowing with the rollercoaster of indie publishing.
That ain’t easy, folks. And that’s why K.S. Brooks is my indie hero.