What Do I Know? Things I’ve learned about indie publishing

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about indie publishing, but with the release of Amazon’s Letter to Shareholders last week, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the subject.

If you read Wordbitches at all, or even if you don’t, you might know that last July I made the decision to indie publish my novel Nothing Stays In Vegas. At the time, I was scared, nervous and had basically no idea at all what to expect. But the way I figured it, the industry was changing quickly, agents were getting tougher and tougher to crack and I wanted people to read my books…so, why not?

Why not indeed?

It’s been about ten months now since I jumped in with both feet…and my only regret?  I wish I’d done it sooner.

For real. When I think about all the time I wasted researching agents, crafting query letters, sending them, waiting for ‘the letter’, pacing, celebrating a partial or a full request, waiting some more, getting ‘that letter’, crying, and then doing it all over again… I’m almost mad at myself.

In the fall, only two months into the madness, I wrote a post about what I knew about e-pubbing so far. The crazy thing is, this is a continual journey. I am constantly learning new things, meeting new people, improving, falling down, getting back, and so on. This is a small list. BUT…let’s review the list I had… I’ve added comments in red.

  1. The work does not end when you hit ‘upload’. It in fact, is just beginning. This is still so very true.
  2. Do not count on friends and family to buy your book. Some will. Lots won’t. Try to be okay with it. This one continues to surprise me.
  3. The world does not automatically discover your book once it’s on Amazon. You actually have to do a thing called promotion. True. But promotion can be fun too!
  4. Hitting refresh on your sales stats doesn’t mean the number will be different. Still true, but it’s pretty fun when the number IS different every time!
  5. There are some amazingly generous and wonderful people in the indie community. Find them. And form a community with them. I continue to meet fantastic people through writing. One of the greatest benefits.
  6. Every single time someone downloads your book, to read the words YOU wrote, it makes you smile. HUGE! Abso-freakin-lutely!!  It blows my mind how many people have read my words. Now…let’s add some new things to this list …
  7. The first royalty cheque, no matter how small, should be celebrated! I color copied mine and will be framing it.
  8. You must keep writing. If you want to be successful, you have to get more than one book out.
  9. Not everyone is going to like what you write. I know!! I felt that way too. But, when you get the bad review, because you probably will, take a moment to cry, call a good friend who agrees that the reviewer has no idea what she’s talking about, get over it, have a drink and…write something else.
  10. (This one goes with #2) There will be family and friends who totally ignore or put down your writing. Try not waste time convincing them to read your book. They’ll either support you or they won’t. Adjust your Christmas card list accordingly. (joking…kind of…)
  11. I get to write what I want, when I want. This is the coolest thing for me because I actually write quite quickly and I have a ton of ideas. Those who know me well say I have a patience problem. The jury is still out on that one. Or not.
  12. Going along with number 11. There isn’t only one way to success. You must stay open to all options because you never know what’s coming next.
  13. Experiment! If a book isn’t selling the way you want it to..change the price, the description, the cover…whatever. Play with it until it works.
  14. People will have a hard time thinking of what you do as ‘work’. It’s important to set clear boundaries with friends and family members and be selfish with your time when you have to. If you don’t think it’s important, no one else will.
  15. The ‘gatekeepers’ don’t determine if my book is ‘good enough’, the tens of thousands of readers who have downloaded my books do!
  16. It IS possible to make a real income writing books! This is the most exciting one for me. My royalty cheques have steadily increased since I started and I’m happy to say that now I can finally make a living doing what I love!

I’m pretty sure I’ve learned more, but that’s all I can think of at the moment. I do want to say that I haven’t once regretted my decision. Not. One. Time.

Obviously this is a personal decision, as most are, but for me, I could only make the decision to go indie when I really sat down and thought about what I really wanted out of my writing. The answer is different for everyone and obviously this isn’t a one size fits all solution and going indie won’t work for everyone. That being said, to anyone, who is on the fence about taking the leap into the indie world, I ask them this…

“What are you really waiting for?”


So tell me, where do you fall on this issue? Indie or Trad? Or both?

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About Elena Aitken

Elena is a work at home/stay at home/write at home mom of twins who regularly loses herself in her fictional characters because their lives are way more exciting!
This entry was posted in Indie Publishing, The Road to Being Published and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to What Do I Know? Things I’ve learned about indie publishing

  1. Emma says:

    Great post. I’m still learning about self-publishing every day. Your second point, one I found out first hand surprised me. I was actually shocked at the time by this but now I shrug it off.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      It shocked me too. But mostly I’m shocked by the people who continue to flat out ignore it. Strange. But…oh well. :)
      It is such a learning curve, and you’re right, we learn every day. But I love it! Thanks for commenting.

  2. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Congratulations Elena. You keep learning every day and most importantly your not afraid to try and continually learn. Success is just a breath away when you do.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Thanks, Nancy! I’m loving it and I think it’s the fact that I can continually try new things that makes me love it even more. :)

  3. I didn’t realize that Vegas was your first self-pubbed book. Congrats on a very successful career move!

  4. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    I think the point I agree with you the most on is that I wish I would have done it sooner. I am so glad to have gone this route. It’s like running your own business and it’s so challenging and amazing. And being able to make a living at it is a big plus too!! Wishing you continued success!!

  5. steenaholmes says:

    Good post today Elena! I started around the same time as you and while it took a while for it to really take off, I’m so glad that I didn’t listen to those who told me I was ruining my career!

  6. Great post. I actually got brave enough to check my sales stats recently and was surprised that I actually sold books to non-family people. (family never buys ebooks) It’s an exciting road we’re on, the indie author.

  7. Great post today, thank you for the many “good” things to ponder!

  8. Pingback: What Do I Know? Things I’ve learned about indie publishing | Wordbitches | Publish Your Dream

  9. Pingback: Top 10 Signs That Mom Needs a Vacation: guest post | Leanne Shirtliffe ~ Ironic Mom

  10. gojulesgo says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this – it’s truly inspiring! You are living the dream! And deservedly so. I look forward to checking out your work (just got to this post from Leanne’s blog, Ironic Mom). If I can get a book into shape, I think I definitely may try the independent publishing route…

  11. Pingback: Friday Favorites – the Quick Edition « Shannyn Schroeder's Blog

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