indie author

Five Lessons from an Indie Author

It’s hard to believe, but it has been almost 2 years since I made my debut in the indie author world! During that time, I’ve made connections with people all over the world, learned the art of social media marketing (or at least started), and written a workbook to supplement the first book!

As you can imagine, I’ve picked up many tidbits along the way, some of which have been helpful and others, well, not so much. But have no worries, I’m only going to share the helpful ones with you today! Here are my top 5 tips for new indie authors, and anyone else who enjoys learning from the experience of others.

Tip #1: Marketing a book is much harder than it looks! I now know that no matter how hard a book is to write, it is doubly hard to market! “Gird up your loins” (as someone years ago might have said), and get ready to FIGHT to get your book into the hands of the readers who will treasure you. Before your book even hits the market, you need a marketing plan for getting the news out! (Here’s a link to a webinar that I prepared for indie authors, and other new authors, who need a better understanding of social media.)

Tip #2: Accept all of the help that you can get. Build your network–online, offline, or wherever else you can find it. Join GoodReads and Facebook so you can connect with other indie authors and READERS! Ask your family and friends to like everything you post so it’ll be more widely distributed. Take advantage of the free online resources that tell you how to promote and sell your book. Hire a coach if you need encouragement, accountability, and assistance as an indie author!

Tip #3: Give, give, give! People enjoy building a relationship with someone who has their best interests at heart. You need to do more than sell your book; you need to look for ways to give to others! Give encouragement, advice, humor, or insight. Give copies of your books. Give whatever you have to give, but always try to give more than you get! (That tip also aligns with Jesus’ teaching, “It is more blessed to give than to receive!” Imagine that?!)

Tip #4: Don’t quit your day job! Unless you’re another John Grisham, and I’d guess that even he wasn’t discovered right away, one book will not support your family. In fact, you’ll be doing well if it pays for itself within the first year of publishing. To make a living at writing, you’ll need to write, write, write then MARKET like your life depends upon it (which your financial life might). If that doesn’t appeal to you, then you will want to diversify. Monetize your blog, become a freelance writer, or add something like affiliate marketing to your skill set. Whatever you choose, expect to work like crazy for several years before you have a dependable entrepreneurial income.

Tip #5: Hold onto hope! After that relatively negative tip #4, I want to challenge you to follow your dream. You’ll never know if you can accomplish what God has put in your heart unless you try! Some days you’ll feel confident and assured; other days you’ll feel like everything is falling to pieces. Whether you are up or down, look to God for help, connect with your family, friends, and readers, and keep pushing forward. Hopefully, there will come a day when your books are well known, you make a comfortable living doing what you love, and you have the opportunity to share with many fascinated fans what it’s like to be a famous indie author. Even if that doesn’t happen, you will have done your best, and ultimately, trying and failing is better than never trying!


Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simoes