IRDA Winning Author Brandy Isadora on Self-Publishing: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint!”

Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits was the winner in the POP CULTURE category of the 2020 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Brandy Isadora.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The name of my book is Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits and it was published in July 2019.

 What is the book’s first line?

“I’ve always loved tattoos. I remember going to a Social Distortion concert when I was fourteen, and I saw the lead singer was fully tattooed and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch.”

Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits is a collection of portraits and interviews of people from different backgrounds who have tattoos. Teachers, lawyers, nurses and many others who work in professions, that until recently did not tolerate tattoos, explain why they have chosen to permanently ink their bodies. Many choose tattoos in memory of their loved ones, while others get tattoos because they love the art. Even though tattoos have increased in popularity and become mainstream, stereotypes and discrimination still exist. By sharing their stories, the people in the book humanize an art form that has long been stigmatized by society.

What inspired you to write the book?

I’ve always been fascinated with body art. When I saw people with large, visible tattoos, I wanted to understand how they knew that they wanted to have that artwork permanently inked on their body. This gave me the idea to start asking people about their ink, and I started documenting their stories.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?

Well, since this is a photography book with real people, I will say that all of these individuals shared important insight about body art. One of the interviews that really astonished me was Kacie’s. She was a law student that experienced bullying in law school. She never felt judged at her work, but her class mates were so competitive that they attacked her for having visible tattoos.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Even though tattoos are more accepted today, stereotypes still exist. I hope that Tattle Tales might dispel some of the stereotypes and further increase people’s understanding and appreciation of this art form.

When did you decide to become an author?

Even though I have loved writing since I was a kid, I didn’t know how I was going to use my writing until I started interviewing people with tattoos. In 2016, I used writing and photography to further increase people’s appreciation of tattoo art.

Is this the first you’ve written?

A few of my short stories were published in literary journals, but Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits is the first book that I have published.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I co-own a movie poster business with my parents. The company is called Femmes, Fatales & Fantasies, and we collect, restore, and sell vintage movie posters. I also work as a freelance photographer.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

The best part of being an indie author is that I have the freedom to make artistic choices that I feel best suit my projects. As a photographer, it’s so important to me that my books meet my standards for quality and composition. The hardest part about being an indie author is that I have to wear multiple hats and sometimes it feels very overwhelming to oversee all the varying aspects of self-publishing. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I feel so blessed that people have taken the time to let me interview them. My work as a photojournalist has made me a better person, and I hope that I can continue using my writing and photography to share people’s stories.

Which writer, living or dead, do you admire most?

This is such a hard question to answer because I admire so many authors. However, I became really fascinated with Sylvia Plath after reading her book, The Bell Jar.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

I wish I could have written Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. There are some stories that stay with you forever and this is one of them. My goal as a photographer and writer is to create works that resonate with people.