This post was written by me and originally posted on BHALSOP.
Being An Indie Author
There is a lot of information on the internet right now that point out everything wrong or hard about being an indie author. In fact, I did a search the other day on the subject, and all I found were negative articles and blog posts. The sad part is people who call themselves indie authors wrote most of them. So I’m going to do something different. I want to tell you what’s great about it!
I have been a part of many online communities, and the indie author community has been the most helpful that I have ever experienced. Take these wonderful people who are helping me out with this tour, for instance. I’m an indie newbie, having just published my first novella in August. I didn’t expect that I would have so many people willing to help me out when I haven’t been around very long. But I’ve made several new friends in the last month and received more support than I could have anticipated. It has been very encouraging, but more than that, I feel extreme pleasure in doing the same for them.
I love the fact that I can focus on building relationships with people. In my opinion, it’s a better way to spend my time than learning to write the perfect query letter. When it comes right down to it, people will buy my book, not the agent or the publisher. There are authors who spend years trying to find an agent or publisher to represent their work, and they never get published. The worst part is, in many cases it’s not even a reflection of their writing skills. They might have been lousy at writing query letters, or they just slipped through the cracks.
I read a story not long back about an indie author who is quite successful now. A few years before she wrote this recount, she had gone to a writing workshop and befriended several writers. She was working on her first manuscript and had already decided she wanted to self-publish. They all learned the same information at this workshop, but today she has several books published and writes full-time. One of the others she met was still trying to find an agent for her first novel.
Being an indie author offers writers the opportunity to do what they love, write. There are authors out there now who are succeeding in this tough industry. These individuals are open and willing to share how they found success. And that’s the other great thing about being an indie author. In other industries, people look at other businesses or individuals as competition. I have not met one indie author who views other writers as their rivals or someone that they have to outsell. Every successful self-published author I’ve read about or spoken with knows the best way to gain readers is by helping other writers.
The simple fact of the matter is, most authors also love to read books. It’s very rare to find someone who will only read the work of one author. As you help others and build relationships with them, they will help you in return. They may write reviews based on your work. They might even interview you on their blog, and/or ask you to do guest posts. All of this gains you more exposure. Their readers will see it, and may be inspired to read your novel. Next thing you know, you’ve gotten dozens or even hundreds of new fans of your writing. And you can credit all of this to making a friend and helping them in return.
The best thing about it for me is the challenge. It’s hard to overcome the negativity that is out there, but doing that and learning about the publishing industry has been very rewarding for me. When I first decided to self-publish I had several people trying to convince me it was a mistake. There’s the one group who think all indie authors are failed writers who couldn’t publish the traditional way. That’s definitely not true for me. I knew from the start this was what I wanted to do. The idea of researching the business and being in control of every aspect appealed to my entrepreneurial spirit.
Then there is the other group who have self-published, and it didn’t work for them. They assume that those who do find success just happened to get lucky. You can be the best writer in the world, but you won’t sell books if you don’t take the time to learn about the industry. Most importantly you need to build relationships with people—are you seeing a theme here? Perhaps you won’t be famous, and maybe you won’t be rich, but anyone can have a successful and lucrative career as an indie author.