I hope you will find this series about my journey as an indie author/publisher insightful, inspiring, and entertaining. I have thought about starting this project for quite some time and struggled with the idea of sharing not just my successes but my failures. I think it is natural to want to hide the things that haven’t worked for us, but I felt strongly about sharing with you the entire journey of the indie author to include mistakes I have made in the hopes that they will be as educational as my successes.
Let me be perfectly honest, I am not a six figure indie author, I am still struggling in a lot of areas and I still work a day job, but I believe there are more of us out there than not and I wanted to reach out to those who haven’t quite “made” it yet. Which begs the question what is your definition of success? Is it getting a book published, regardless of the profit you make? Do you consider success to be achieved when you start making an income of a certain amount from your work? I think the answer can be yes to both of those questions. I think there are different degrees of success and we should celebrate them all.
A little bit more about my journey:
I published my first book in 2017 when I was 50 years old. It is a science fiction novel and I published it under my real name. I have since published two more plus I am published in a science fiction anthology. I have written all of my life, professionally it has been technical documents, articles things relating to software or technology and government. At home I would write stories and when I was very young I wrote poetry. I never published any of it. When I was in my twenties I got the idea to try publishing, and back there traditional publishing was the only option and I don’t even remember how many rejection letters I got but it was enough that I quit sending out query letters. I gave up. I continued to write, but I never thought about putting myself through that hassle again. Then, one day my husband asked me why haven’t you tried indie publishing? I wasn’t really sure what that meant, so I started listening to podcasts and reading books on self-publishing and it spoke to me. It seemed like the answer to my desire and it fed my inner-control freak. If you’re at this stage, it can feel a bit overwhelming but there doesn’t seem to be in “right” way to do it, so if you’re looking for concrete answers, let me tell you now, you are going to be frustrated. I know I was. This is not one way to be a successful indie author. I cannot speak to the various ways to be successful as a traditionally published author as I have no experience in that area, but I also have no desire to be traditionally published.
But, the good news it that the lack of concrete answers in indie publishing, allows you to be creative not only in your work, but in your business as well. Maybe Facebook ads work for you and Amazon ads do not? Maybe, writing straight into Word is your jam, or Scrivener, or any one of the numerous programs out there. And that is okay, because what it boils down to is that you are in control and you should use what works for you. But, I caution you, don’t allow yourself to be boxed in. As you grow as a writer/artist your needs will change and your tools may need to change with you. Don’t be afraid to say “you know what, this isn’t really working for me anymore, let me try this new program I’ve heard so much about.” It’s okay to tell your friends, “I was using this/that, but I’m trying something new now and it is helping me be more productive or make more money or whatever.” It’s all okay.
One of the mistakes I made when I was first starting out and listening to people were able to quit their day jobs and write full time, was that I wanted to use whatever they were using, ad programs, writing software, all kinds of stuff. Be careful you can spend a lot of money on those kinds of things only to find out in six months you’ve out grown it. Stick with the basics, try new things that offer free trials or money back guarantees. Trust me on this, I didn’t have a lot of money to waste when I started out and still don’t and I have learned to be more careful about what I spend my money on until I start making what I consider ‘real’ money from my book sales.
Right now, I write on a Mac book. I don’t even have a desktop computer. I do everything on my Mac book. So I write in pages I like the novel template and the layout. Also, when I’m editing I edit it on my iPad with the pen. I can write notes and get that tactile feel of writing and make the changes on my laptop. Then I convert it to Word for my editor. But you have to do what is comfortable for you. Not everyone is an Apple fan and that’s okay. I used to not be an Apple fan, but I switched about five years ago. I do use Word for Mac which has a very good novel template if you want to use it. I’ve used Scrivener in the past as well, but feel like I’ve outgrown it a bit.
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