As it’s Indie Author Week this week, and I’ve now been self-publishing for just over 6 years, here are some thoughts on what it’s like to be an independent author.
Before I start, two things:
- What follows is drawn from my own experience – I’m not saying it will be the same for everyone who chooses to self-publish.
- Like everything else, there are highs and lows – sometimes in quick succession.
And we’re off!
- Some people think that self-publishing is easy. I mean, you just write the thing and put it on Amazon, don’t you? Sometimes I start explaining all the different parts of the process and watch them wish they’d never started the conversation.
- You have control. If you want to change your book cover or write in a new genre, you can.
- On the flip side, everything’s up to you. If your book doesn’t sell, what can you do to fix that?
- You don’t have to wait. I’m currently querying a children’s book because I’d like to see if it can be traditionally published, and so far it has involved a lot of research, sending almost the same things in slightly different forms, and then waiting. And waiting. This is no slight on literary agents, who have lots of manuscripts to read and make decisions on, but when you’re used to being able to get on with things, waiting is haaaaaaard.
- Lots of people are surprised that most of my income comes from book royalties. I think the logic is that if they haven’t heard of you and your book isn’t in the window at Waterstone’s, you probably make pennies a month.
- It doesn’t hurt to ask – and it’s almost certainly up to you to do the asking. It takes nerve to ask a shop or a library if they will stock your books, but sometimes they say yes!
- Your book’s sales peak may not be at its launch. I’ve had two Bookbub promotions this year on books I wrote over 5 years ago, with excellent sales and high rankings (orange Amazon bestseller tag, anyone?). While no physical bookstore can carry stock of every book, online book retailers can offer them all!
- This one always comes up, but most fellow-writers are supportive, generous and helpful. I’ve benefited from lots of good advice given freely.
- Being an author/publisher doesn’t stand still. There’s always something new to learn or to try. Sometimes that’s inspiring and energising. Sometimes it feels exhausting. However, there’s no way you can do everything.
- Holding your paperback in your hand, or reading a lovely review, never gets old!
Would you agree with what I’ve picked out? Is your experience different? Comment below and let me know!