Independent Writers? Nah, Not Really – Cheryl Shireman is back at MWi!

As I write this it’s soon after midday GMT Monday 31st and I’ve just heard from Cheryl Shireman that the above book, Indie Chicks, is doing rather well, even though barely two days old.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,440 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Now before I get accused of favortism for featuring Cheryl here on MWi yet again, I should explain the above book is a charity compilation, all proceeds in aid of breast cancer research.

It’s less than the price of a cup of coffee, and it’s worth far, far more than that just for the personal stories by the contributors.

Cheryl explains more about it below, and the role-call of names is to die-for.  Which in the circumstances is not the best expression to use, perhaps, but on the other hand we all need to remind ourselves that breast cancer is a killer disease.The only way it will be eradicated is with further research, and research needs funding.
* * *
So as well as buying a copy for yourself, how about gifting a  copy to someone else, or at the very least retweeting and FBing this post to as many people as possible.
Here’s Cheryl:


Independent Writers? Nah, Not Really   –  by Cheryl Shireman


 Merriam-Webster defines independent as:

a. not subject to control by others

b. not requiring or relying on something else

c. not requiring or relying on others

d. showing a desire for freedom


I am an independent writer – an “indie” who forges her own path and is responsible for her own career. I don’t need the approval of the gatekeepers – traditional publishers and agents. All I need is my computer and a book to upload. Right?

Wrong. That couldn’t be much further from the truth. Every successful indie that I know (and that is quite a few) has his or her own supportive network of other indie writers. As indies, we don’t have the marketing budget of traditionally published writers, but we have something that might be even better – each other.

Before I ever published, an indie writer told me how – Karen McQuestion. Graciously, she wrote about her experiences on her website and through guest posts on the blogs of other indie writers. If not for McQuestion, and many other writers like her, I would have gone the traditional route, and would probably be in the midst of submitting my manuscript right now. Instead, I published my first novel, Life Is But a Dream: On The Lake, and created my own website so that I could pay it forward and encourage other writers.

As I write this, that was about nine months ago. Within that relatively short period of time, I appeared on various indie blogs, was interviewed on more indie websites than I can remember, and appeared in two anthologies – Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran and Summer Book Club (featuring Mark Williams, Saffina Desforges, J. Carson Black, Victorine Lieske, Louise Voss, Sibel Hodge, Scott Nicholson, H.P. Mallory, and myself). The success of my novel has been largely due to the collaborative effort of my peers – fellow indie writers.

This type of mutual support is the idea behind Mark Williams International Digital Publishing. It is, quite frankly, a winning combination – talented writers and savvy promotion.

A couple of months ago, shortly before signing with MWiDP, I came up with the idea of organizing an anthology of women writers – Indie Chicks. I contacted several indie writers, including some women who signed with Mark (Prue Batten, Anne R. Allen, Christine DeMaio-Rice, Barbara Silkstone, Melissa Smith, and Danielle Blanchard) and asked them if they would be interested in participating. In total, I contacted about thirty women, and every one of them responded with enthusiasm. Most said yes immediately, and those who could not, due to prior commitments, wished us well and asked me to let them know when the book was published so they could be part of promoting it.

Did you catch that? Even though they could not participate, they were willing to promote the work of their fellow indie writers. So much for independence!

I asked the writer who inspired me to give indie writing a try, Karen McQuestion, to write a foreword for the book. Though no longer technically an indie writer (McQuestion signed with Amazon’s imprint, Encore), Karen responded with an enthusiastic yes. I wasn’t surprised. Thrilled, but not surprised.

In keeping with the spirit of support and encouragement, I asked the women to each submit a true story from their life that might encourage other women. As women, one of our most powerful gifts is our ability to encourage one another. This book became our effort to encourage women across the world. Twenty-five women sharing stories to make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. We began to dream that these stories would inspire other women to live the life they were meant to live.

The stories started coming in. Some were light hearted and fun to read. But others were gut-wrenching and inspiring – stories of how women dealt with physical abuse, overwhelming grief, and a host of bad choices. It was clear; these women were not just sharing a story, but a piece of their heart. I felt as if I were no longer “organizing” this anthology, but just getting out of the way so that it could morph and evolve into a vehicle for support and encouragement.


Stories included in Indie Chicks:

Foreword by Karen McQuestion

Knight in Shining Armor by Shea MacLeod

Latchkey Kid by Heather Marie Adkins

Write or Die by Danielle Blanchard

The Phoenix and The Darkness by Lizzy Ford

Never Too Late by Linda Welch

Stepping Into the Light by Donna Fasano

One Fictionista’s Literary Bliss by Katherine Owen

I Burned My Bra For This? by Cheryl Shireman

Mrs. So Got It Wrong Agent by Prue Battten

Holes by Suzanne Tyrpak

Turning Medieval by Sarah Woodbury

A Kinky Adventure in Anglophilia by Anne R. Allen

Writing From a Flour Sack by Dani Amore

Just Me and James Dean by Cheryl Bradshaw

How a Big Yellow Truck Changed My Life by Christine DeMaio-Rice

From 200 Rejections to Amazon Top 200! by Sibel Hodge

Have You Ever Lost a Hat? by Barbara Silkstone

French Fancies! by Mel Comley

Life’s Little Gifts by Melissa Foster

Never Give Up On Your Dream by Christine Kersey

Self-taught Late Bloomer by Carol Davis Luce

Moving to The Middle East by Julia Crane

Paper, Pen, and Chocolate by Talia Jager

The Magic Within and The Little Book That Could by Michelle Muto

Write Out of Grief by Melissa Smith

Afterword by Beth Elisa Harris


            We also each included excerpts from our novels, but at some point, that become secondary. These personal stories truly became an act of love. It is our hope that the stories in this book, our stories, will encourage other women who are facing their own struggles. This project totally reflects the “indie” spirit, which, actually, has nothing to do with independence at all – but connection, encouragement, and support.

            All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation which fights breast cancer – a disease all too close to many of us.


Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories is available on Amazon and Nook.



Stop by our Facebook page! 

Follow our Indie Chicks hashtag on Twitter!  #IndieChicksAnthology


Thanks for stopping by.  Normal service will be resumed during the week.


    • barbara silkstone
    • October 31st, 2011

    Mark, Thanks for letting us post. This is one of the nicest projects I’ve been involved in. Baring all for a great cause. No… not naked calendars… 🙂 A terrific bunch of ladies tell their true, inspirational stories.

  1. Buying this as soon as I’m at home and not on a school computer (apparently, using Amazon on there is like, a breach of rules or something).

    All for a good cause, right? I have a friend who’s personally affected, as his mum’s got breast cancer. But even if it wasn’t, this sounds too interesting to miss.

  2. Thanks for posting this Mark. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Cheryl asked me to be a part of this project. Certainly the charity is one very near and dear to my heart.

  3. I agree with Barbara 100%. While working on this project, I’ve found every one of these authors to be fun, professional, and hugely talented. Readers will find their stories both entertaining and inspiring.

  4. Great post Mark & Cheryl! I was honoured to be included in this anthology. Some stories will make you cry, some will make you laugh, but they will all inspire you.

    I’m so glad I’ve got my big girl’s knickers now! (You’ll have to read the anthology to find out what I’m talking about!) 🙂

  5. Thanks Mark for featuring this amazing project that I’m delighted to be connected with.

    It’s an awesome read from start to finish. 😉

  6. Thanks so much, Mark. You are one of those best-selling indie writers who encouraged me from the beginning. I hope I can learn from your example. I love encouraging other writers (particularly women), so it is an honor to be part of this project. From the beginning, this has been an amazing project – full of love and enthusiasm and joy. I asked these women to share true stories from their lives that might encourage and inspire others, but I had no idea they would dig so deep. Some of the stories are fun to read and light-hearted, but others have dug deep and opened old wounds. I am so proud of them. It is our hope, our dream, that these stories will touch the hearts of other women. And, of course, we are thrilled to donate the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer. Women encouraging women. Sisters.

  7. Thanks, Mark. As one of the independent women who contributed to “Indie Chicks,” I appreciate you spreading the word!

  8. Great cause and great ladies. I’m glad to be part of such a wonderful project. Thanks for spreading the word.

  9. Mark,

    Thank you so much for featuring this anthology on your amazing blog. It is an honor to be a part of this extraordinary group of women writers. The anthology is a gem. It’s full of hope and inspiration from all these talented writers who were willing to share their personal stories as well as excerpts from their published work. All this for the price of a tall latte ~ awesome!

    Thanks for supporting “Indie Chicks”.

    Katherine Owen

  10. Thanks for hosting this, Mark. And to Cheryl, who first contacted me a few months ago about this project. I’m honored to be a part of it. May Indie Chicks also be The Little Book That Could! It’s certainly for a great cause.

  11. Yay indie chicks! And thanks for volunteering for the Indie Chicks Gentlemen’s Auxiliary. 🙂

  12. Thank you for hosting, Mark, and thanks to all the Indie Chicks for revealing their stories of strength and resiliency! 🙂 *hugs*

  13. Absolutely agree with all my co-writers, Mark. Thank you for hosting Cheryl, and us and ‘the great idea’, and spruiking it even more.

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