Indie Authors – How To Make It In Self-Publishing

indie author handbook

Indie Author Handbook

I saw an interesting business article this morning called 9 Ways to make a Million and as I read it, I was struck by how much of the advice applies to indie authors and self-publishing.  I’ve been working at my craft for many, many years and at times I get discouraged that I don’t have the success of some others.  And there’s always more I should be doing:

  • writing faster and publishing more books
  • getting my existing books in more markets
  • pursuing other avenues to sell books
  • figuring out other ways to market my books online
  • and on and on

I’ll talk to friends of mine (who aren’t authors) about all this, and many will say but you do so much, and you work so hard at it, it will come.  I sometimes lose sight of what I have done, and that this whole journey is part of the process to get me where I want to be.  And that’s where the article has value for indie authors…

Indie Authors – Start With Nothing

Most of us indie authors don’t just have a gift for writing a bestseller on our first attempt.  We learn our craft, practice, get rejected and more before we hit it big (and many of us will never hit it big, it’s just the way it is).  But, as the article points out, adversity and competition breed great leaders, or in this case, great authors.

Indie Authors – Do What You Love And Hope The Market Is There

For me, writing is more than just a business, or a way to make money.  I love everything indie authors earn moneyabout writing and books.  I love plotting stories and creating characters.  I would never do this if it was just about money, because let’s face it, there are a lot easier ways to make money (I just want to someday make enough money that I don’t need a day job :)).  Indie authors also have to consider that the story they loved creating may not have a market.  That’s part of this journey as well.

Indie Authors – You Own It

The really cool thing about self-publishing is that we indie authors are in control.  We get final say over editing, covers, where we publish, how much we charge, and so much more.  But with this comes the need to be prudent with our budgets and our resources.  Most of us don’t have tons of money for advertizing, publicists and so on.  We have to be creative in all areas of our publishing endeavors.

Indie Authors – Take Risks, Make Mistakes, Trust Your Gut

As the article states, wildly successful people take calculated risks.  Sometimes you’ll fall flat on your face, but to be successful, you’ll pick yourself up and keep going.  And you’ll learn from your mistakes.  Indie authors also learn to trust their instincts, and beyond that, we have another great resource – each other.  This is such a supportive community – tap into it.

Indie Authors – Hard Work And Sacrifice

indie author - hard workThis piece of advice has been around for centuries, and it applies to indie authors.  It takes a lot of work to write and publish.  I think we’re already seeing many indie authors leave the business because they thought they could just write a book and it would instantly be a bestseller.  What the successful indie authors know is that it take a lot of hard work, and sacrifices in other areas of our lives, in order to write and sell books.

Indie Authors – Make Your Own Luck

There’s been a lot written about manufacturing your own luck.  Yes, there is such a thing as luck, but putting yourself in situations where luck can occur is prudent.  Get out and meet people, talk about what you do, look for opportunity to connect with readers and other authors, and things will start happening.  For example, I started teaching a class on self-publishing at a community college and it’s led me to wonderful new opportunities, some of which may help propel me into a household name.  If that happens, it will be because of luck and my putting myself out there…

Indie Authors – Diversify

At this point, if you’re staying exclusive to Amazon, you’re probably making a mistake.  And if you’re only selling ebooks, you’re probably making a mistake.  Look to diversify into paperbacks, audiobooks, boxed sets, serials, collaborations and more.  Get your books out in as many markets as you can.

What do you think it takes to make it in publishing?

About Renée Pawlish

Award-winning author Renée Pawlish writes the bestselling horror book, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the Reed Ferguson mystery series, short stories and non-fiction ghost stories.
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8 Responses to Indie Authors – How To Make It In Self-Publishing

  1. Bert Carson says:

    Outstanding blog my friend – of course, you already know that.
    Have a magical New Year.

  2. Love you, Renee! Brilliant post. I am a proud author/publisher!

  3. These are great points. I think, as with all businesses, it also takes flexibility. One year offering books free may be a great way to boost sales, then it may bring a handful of sales at best. One website or subscription service or another will provide a great bang for the advertising buck for a while, six months later it might be tapped out. (BTW, I really liked your post on the Fussy Librarian & just subscribed.) I guess this fits with the calculated risk factor — it’s important to keep abreast of new developments and shift strategy when needed.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks, and you bring up some great points, too. It pays to really stay on top of changes in the industry, and to keep persevering too.

  4. It helps to have reminders and this blog is a good one. We all have to feel our way through this and give our best. You’re doing a fine job of that Renee. Example is even a more powerful way than words. A great 2014 to you.

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