The thing that makes it hardest for new indie authors on the scene is the myriad of information out there. You really have to be careful about what you decide to use and what you decide to toss aside. I know when I had decided that I would ultimately like to self publish years back, I first met with a lot of people who tried to convince me it was wrong. These people (people who are diehard fans of the traditional publishing industry) had this preconceived notion that anyone who wanted to self publish had failed at the traditional methods because their work just wasn’t good enough.
I wasn’t stupid enough to believe that was true. I mean, I knew my reasons had nothing to do with that because I hadn’t even been through the process of trying to publish in the traditional sense, with an agent and big time publisher. It was very intimidating, though, to have all these people pointing at me, telling me I was wrong, and I could never succeed doing it my way.
When I really started mingling with the indie crowd, I began realizing that there are actually many successful indie authors out there. They may not have the notoriety that a big six author might get, but they make a good living from their writing and can do it full time without the need for a supplemental income. That’s all I ever really wanted for myself. I’m not into it for fame or to become rich. I just want the opportunity to make a good living doing what I love.
The best thing I’ve found so far with the indie crowd is that everyone is so laid back and helpful. Indie authors really have a great desire to help one another succeed, and I think that is just so awesome. This morning, though, I read a blog post from an indie author that left me feeling disturbed. It wasn’t a bad post, but I could see how someone who is new to being an indie author might get the wrong impression and question their intentions, as I did when people told me that self publishing was a bad thing.
This author was talking about how he loved writing and that it was the only reason he wrote. This is great and it works for him. Most authors write because it’s what they love, but I felt like he was suggesting that anyone who wanted to also be a rich and famous author, or those who focus on selling the books or building platforms are being selfish in their motives. I got the impression that he believes himself to be a pure indie author because he’s perfectly content to let his readers find him rather than making any promotional efforts on his part.
Now I can’t say for sure that that this was his intention. He could have just been simply stating how he feels about his own career and had no desire to influence anyone else out there, but that isn’t the impression he left me with and impressions are everything. All I could think about was a new indie author coming across this post and feeling that somehow their aspirations are wrong, and they are not a true writer until they only desire to write for themselves.
Well its true you should write for yourself, but only because it should be something you love to do. It doesn’t mean you can’t also strive to be rich and/or famous if that is your desire. Sure it will be hard reaching that goal, but it’s hard for anyone in any entertainment industry, but it happens to people. You can’t know if it’s going to happen to you if you don’t even bother to try. And if you want to make a good living at writing without all the fame and fortune, that’s fine too, but you can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen either. You have to promote and get your name out there. You have to build your platform and socialize with your readers.
Now if you are happy working in your current job, and you don’t feel the need to promote yourself or sell a lot of books. That’s great too, but it doesn’t make you a better person or better writer just because you don’t have other goals.
Being an indie author is and always has been about doing it your way to find success in the way you desire it. Sure there are things you will need to learn and rules you will need to follow in any industry to find success, but you are the one who defines what success is for you. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what success should look like or make you feel inferior because you choose to do things your way.