Authors, do what you love and hope the market is there.


I saw an interesting business article this morning called 9 Ways to make a Million and as I read it, I was struck by how much of the advice applies to indie authors and self-publishing.  I’ve been working at my craft for many, many years and at times I get discouraged that I don’t have the success of some others.  And there’s always more I should be doing:

  • writing faster and publishing more books
  • getting my existing books in more markets
  • pursuing other avenues to sell books
  • figuring out other ways to market my books online
  • and on and on
Renee Pawlish
Renee Pawlish

I’ll talk to friends of mine (who aren’t authors) about all this, and many will say but you do so much, and you work so hard at it, it will come.  I sometimes lose sight of what I have done, and that this whole journey is part of the process to get me where I want to be.  And that’s where the article has value for indie authors…

Indie Authors – Start With Nothing

Most of us indie authors don’t just have a gift for writing a bestseller on our first attempt.  We learn our craft, practice, get rejected and more before we hit it big (and many of us will never hit it big, it’s just the way it is).  But, as the article points out, adversity and competition breed great leaders, or in this case, great authors.

Indie Authors – Do What You Love And Hope The Market Is There

For me, writing is more than just a business, or a way to make money.  I love everything about writing and books.  I love plotting stories and creating characters.  I would never do this if it was just about money, because let’s face it, there are a lot easier ways to make money (I just want to someday make enough money that I don’t need a day job  ).  Indie authors also have to consider that the story they loved creating may not have a market.  That’s part of this journey as well.

41Bn71fJ-0L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-65,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Indie Authors – You Own It

The really cool thing about self-publishing is that we indie authors are in control.  We get final say over editing, covers, where we publish, how much we charge, and so much more.  But with this comes the need to be prudent with our budgets and our resources.  Most of us don’t have tons of money for advertizing, publicists and so on.  We have to be creative in all areas of our publishing endeavors.

Indie Authors – Take Risks, Make Mistakes, Trust Your Gut

As the article states, wildly successful people take calculated risks.  Sometimes you’ll fall flat on your face, but to be successful, you’ll pick yourself up and keep going.  And you’ll learn from your mistakes.  Indie authors also learn to trust their instincts, and beyond that, we have another great resource – each other.  This is such a supportive community – tap into it.

Indie Authors – Hard Work And Sacrifice

This piece of advice has been around for centuries, and it applies to indie authors.  It takes a lot of work to write and publish.  I think we’re already seeing many indie authors leave the business because they thought they could just write a book and it would instantly be a bestseller.  What the successful indie authors know is that it take alot of hard work, and sacrifices in other areas of our lives, in order to write and sell books.

Indie Authors – Make Your Own Luck

There’s been a lot written about manufacturing your own luck.  Yes, there is such a thing as luck, but putting yourself in situations where luck can occur is prudent.  Get out and meet people, talk about what you do, look for opportunity to connect with readers and other authors, and things will start happening.  For example, I started teaching a class on self-publishing at a community college and it’s led me to wonderful new opportunities, some of which may help propel me into a household name.  If that happens, it will be because of luck and my putting myself out there…

Indie Authors – Diversify

At this point, if you’re staying exclusive to Amazon, you’re probably making a mistake.  And if you’re only selling ebooks, you’re probably making a mistake.  Look to diversify into paperbacks, audiobooks, boxed sets, serials, collaborations and more.  Get your books out in as many markets as you can.

What do you think it takes to make it in publishing?

Please click the book cover image to read more about Renee Pawlish and her novels.


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  • Caleb Pirtle

    I agree wholeheartedly, Renee. I have seen so many good authors quit following their hearts and try to write with a specific genre for a specific market, fall short, and fail their own talent.

  • Learn to write the best quality books you can. Then the business advice will all apply to a good product.

    I’ve seen – and bought – a lot of stuff that was marketed or advertised or pushed on a blog (sometimes because I like the blog’s prose and the blogger’s moxie), and then found that their fiction was highly in need of improvement. So of course I don’t finish it – and don’t buy more. Which is why I will donate to their blog instead.

    Many people don’t mind – they’ll read lots in their favorite genres, and not mind the quality of the writing. Good intentions and enthusiasm are not bad, but they don’t equal quality, either.

    But I don’t know of anyone who actually objects to good writing.

  • Renee, wonderful post and I checked out the original article that inspired you – you’re totally right, the points made there fully apply to us, indie authors! I also agree with Alicia’s comment here, writing the best quality books one is able to pull off (and I mean “pull off” because it’s hard work) should be a goal. As Caleb says, you shouldn’t squander your talent by writing to fit a niche or genre that sells. If you don’t feel like it, don’t do it. There are certain genres I could never write in, for example soft porn à la 50 Shades, because they don’t fit me and so be it. They may sell very well, but they’ll have to do without me, ha ha!

    I believe it comes down to identifying the genre that’s closest to what you actually write. Some of us are lucky and immediately find the genre congenial to them. Others are less lucky. Because starting out as an indie can be really tough, one always feels like one is writing “cross genre” or in multiple genres – I certainly felt that way when I started out. But “cross genre” does not sell. Why? Precisely because it is “cross”: it has no well-defined market. When you’re a reader, you don’t tell your friends that you read “cross genre”, do you? Cross means everything and nothing. The only solution is to classify your book as “literary”. It’s an elegant solution but it’s also a death sentence. Few readers flock to the literary genre.

    So how to solve this? Ask yourself what genre you really enjoy reading. Then that is most likely to be your writing genre as well. Because ultimately, we writers were all born as avid readers. We all read before we started writing. Unconsciously, we imitate what we like. I’ve thought about all this a lot this summer, I had various epiphanies (ha ha!) and came to the conclusion that what I really like are 2 things: romance and science fiction – which I’m putting together in the next book I’m writing – but it also explains why I changed and totally revised and rewrote A Hook in the Sky, my so-called “boomer novel” that is now transformed, unashamedly, into a romance-the-second-time-around (it’s 20% longer than the original and it has a new title: “Crimson Clouds”) I don’t know whether it will “work” and sell better but it already has garnered praise from quarters where the original “Hook in the Sky” hadn’t. Clearly, it’s a better novel.

    And that’s what I mean: one needs to ask oneself some tough questions, starting with “what do you really enjoy reading? Because that is what you should be writing!”

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