Indie Authors: What I’ve Learned This Year

I’ve been a member of the indie author’s group called “Clean Indie Reads” this year. Being a part of this group has taught me quite a few things about indie authors in general. So, without further ado, here are three things I’ve learned about indie authors in 2014.

1. Indie authors are professionals.

Some aren’t. I know. I’ve seen the hack-job covers and read the unedited material of some indies. But, hear me and believe me when I tell you, some authors invest blood, sweat, tears– and thousands of dollars– to make sure they are providing their readers with a quality product that matches or bests what a big publishing house can produce.

2. Indie authors are eager to learn– and teach.

In the group I belong to (we meet on Facebook since we span states, countries, time zones, etc.), members ask poignant questions, and other members are quick to jump in and answer. Someone will post a cover, a book blurb, an idea, and ask for advice. And others will flock to help– handing out free information, teaching things they learned a long time ago and wish others had told them, strategizing with someone they’ve never met, all in the name of making the indie book publishing industry the best it can be– and giving a like-minded author a hand up in this difficult business.

3. Indie authors are tenacious.

Indie publishing is not for the faint-of-heart. An indie author has an uphill battle in this world overflowing with millions and billions of digital and paperback books for sale. In order to compete with the big name publishing houses, an indie author needs to work harder and smarter than traditionally published authors.

He must make sure that his book cover is spectacular– so he hires a professional cover designer. He must make sure his plot and characters are fascinating– so he hires a top-notch editor who can help him mold and sculpt his masterpiece. He needs to have a flawless manuscript, so he hires a proofreader to catch every last typo and grammatical error, and hires a formatting expert to make sure every indent, chapter heading, page number, and font choice is perfect. He must make sure his work is likeable, so he asked a slew of volunteers to read his book– hoping they will follow through and give helpful feedback in a reasonable amount of time. Then finally, after pouring out every last resource, he releases his book– and waits.

He doesn’t wait idly, of course, he’s busy blog hopping, promoting, running sales, free promotion days, paying for any advertising he can afford, letting friends and family know about his new book, scheduling social media “parties” and giveaways, doing anything he can to garner some attention in the white noise of book sales.

He waits and holds back tears while a troll leaves a one-star review online for no reason.

He waits in frustration as none of his friends or family members buy his book or acknowledge his efforts.

He waits and reads books about marketing as his trickling sales don’t reflect the time and money he put into his greatest professional accomplishment.

He waits and he holds back tears while a single mother tells him how his book changed her perspective on life.

He waits while he sets his jaw, picks up his pen, and starts writing his next book, knowing that somehow, someday, in some miraculous way, he will make it in this crazy world of indie writing.

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What have you learned about indie authors this year?

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13 thoughts on “Indie Authors: What I’ve Learned This Year

  1. Wow Valerie..this is a fantastic description of the experiences of countless indie authors who, as we know, are often under-rated simply for not having gone the traditional route, yet whose works are a testimony to their professionalism and dedication . A well-written piece that gives credit to a deserving population of writers!! God bless! Christine πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I haven’t been part of the CIR group as long as you, but in the 2.5 months I’ve been participating I have learned SO MUCH about the business of Indie publishing. The support and rush to encourage or advise is worth every minute away from my writing because it makes my writing better. It’s also lovely to not feel so isolated and to feel that Indie publishing IS publishing – not vanity press. It’s been lovely to get to know fellow authors like you, Valerie. Here’s to another great year in 2015!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Great piece, sums it all up beautifully. The determination and smarts of many many indie writer/publishers are admirable. CIR are a great group and incredibly generous with their advice and time. An absolute treasure trove of wonderful people!

    Like

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