5 Truths Every New Indie Author Should Know

Although my first instinct is to pour my heart out about my sister’s illness, I’m going to resist using y’all as a form of therapy and actually talk about something I haven’t covered in a while: independent publishing. Here are 5 things every new independent publisher should know. I’m going to go ahead and warn you that it ain’t pretty! But I’ll follow up at a later date with some independent publishing positivity.


1. You will feel overwhelmed.– That’s an understatement. You’ll feel so discombobulated that you’ll question your sanity and then answer back with something like, “You passed crazy a long time ago.” There’s so much to be done and there’s no one else to do it. Hence the term “independent”. You’re it kid.

2. You’re a jack of all trades, master of none.– Well, let’s hope you’ve at least mastered the art of writing. But other than that, be prepared to become a business tax professional, an accountant, publicist, marketer, spokesperson, sales person, tech geek, secretary, and the list goes one. You’ll need to know a little bit about several roles in order to maintain some semblance of organization and control.

Frustration

3. You will be disappointed.– Overnight success shouldn’t even be a phrase because it just doesn’t happen. Building a brand and a readership takes time. And for an independently published author it usually takes even longer than most traditionally published authors. If you’re expecting to launch your book at the top of the Amazon bestseller list, then it better be because you’ve spent the last few years building a following that is engaged and ready to support your efforts. Otherwise, be prepared to watch that sales graph move like a little old guy climbing a hill. Using a walker. While stopping to smell the roses and shoot the breeze with every person he see’s. But as long as he’s steadily climbing that hill, things are going in the right direction.

4. More time in a day will be something you’d willingly trade blood, your two front teeth or your first born child for.– Seriously, no matter how organized you are, as an independent publisher your to-do list will always be longer than your completed list. There will always be something to add, something to remember, something to do. No matter how much sleep you sacrifice (and you will sacrifice sleep) there never seems to be enough time. Make your peace with it. I like saying this little mantra, “God has given me all the time I need to fulfill the destiny He has for me.” This is extremely helpful if you view your talent of writing as a calling.

5. Sleep will be something you remember fondly.– This is especially true if you have a 9-5 job in addition to running your publishing company. We’ve already established that time is a sneaky little commodity (some thief called Netflix comes and steals mine on the regular), and trading sleep for a few hours of business dealings and writing will probably happen more often than is healthy. There was actually a point in which I was so tired that I experienced a true life mirage. I…well I…I won’t get into all the details, but it happened. It was crazy weird and the mess freaked me all the way out. Let’s just say I’ve recommitted myself to getting the necessary Z’s.

**Bonus** People will randomly solicit you for services you can easily perform yourself.- I had one chick in-box me on Facebook offering a one day only ‘sale’ to advertise my book on her website. She claimed to have 2,500 followers specifically interested in my often overlooked genre of Christian fiction. But guess what? The access to her website was blocked, the ‘sale’ ended at midnight and there was a pre-requisite $49 set up fee. Oh and let’s not forget that I had to do all of it immediately or the ‘service’ would revert back to it’s original price of $319. I almost cussed! Child please.


This list is in no way meant to discourage a new author from pursuing independent publishing. It’s just me venting about some of the frustrations I’ve experienced since my first self publishing venture. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to occasionally pull my hair out. (I won’t do it. I’m waayyy too into my hair to do something like that!) Tell me about your indie publishing angst in the comments below!

P.S. For those of you that have been praying and believing with me for my sister Tiffany’s full recovery, I have good news. She’s talking! And soon, the feeding tube will be removed. Things are on an upward spiral and I couldn’t be more grateful. God is good!

Photo credit: Pablo Municio / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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20 thoughts on “5 Truths Every New Indie Author Should Know

  1. I’m pleased to hear that the healing blood of Jesus Christ is covering your sister. And what resolve you have for taking the time to write this spot on blog….I’m going to check my house and laptop for bugs because you have to be spying on me to be so accurate about my current state of affairs… LOL. Long story longer I needed to smile and thanks for helping me do so.

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    • Thanks Donald! Yes, we are really happy with how God is restoring her so quickly. It’s amazing to watch! And know that you’re not alone in the publishing struggle. Indie publishing, or publishing period is not for the weak. It’s takes gumption. Don’t give up! I’m going to assume that it’s all worth it in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So happy to hear your sister’s progress! And grateful for your brutal insights here; I’m not even finished with this book of mine but I’m absorbing all these caveats and taking them to heart, particularly the one about working the “day job” while you’re self-publishing. I still haven’t decided if I’m going the indie route yet or not, but forewarned is forearmed!

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    • Thanks Sunshine! She’s improving so much every day and today she’s set to be transferred to the long term care hospital/rehab. We’re super excited about that and so is she!

      Making the decision regarding which type of publishing is never easy. There are benefits and challenges to both indie and trad publishing. Truth be told, I’m starting to think I might want to publish my next book traditionally simply to avoid the many headaches that come with indie publishing. We’ll see!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. First, Faith, I’m sorry to learn that your sister has been experiencing health issues. I sincerely hope (and pray) that she will soon be better.

    Second, thank you for such an informative post. I really want to try my hand at self-publishing some flash fiction or short stories as soon as I have a significant amount of good material. I’m going to drive you nuts with questions when that time comes!

    Take care, friend. ❤

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  4. Great and true list! I got the same offer in my inbox, lol. I was like, “Yeah, right.” Awesome news about your sister. God is indeed good!!

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  5. So glad to hear about your sister! Won’t he do it??? And yes, so many frustrations with indie pubbing but so worth it. My biggest frustration was paying for a book cover, getting the book cover, and laughing–for all the wrong reasons. There are some sharks out there, for sure. Time management is key but there are only so many hours in the day. We just have to do what we can and not be so hard on ourselves. And I love your mantra. That’s exactly what I tell myself when I’m feeling stressed. Great post!

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    • Thanks Quanie! It’s such a relief to know that Tiffany is on the road to a full recovery. I couldn’t concentrate on anything until I knew she was going to be okay.

      There are some predatory people out there who love to take advantage of folks! We just have to be wise and do our research.

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  6. Yep Faith, ALL of this…and I only published a short story recently! LOL I was like what in the world, it was so much. I even had to take it down and re-edit at one point (AFTER I had an editor). Wusaaa!

    I’m glad to hear that your sister is in recovery…just said a quick prayer for her full recovery. I hope you and your family can find peace (and rest) during this time too.

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    • I know what you mean Candace. I’ve actually been afraid to read my own book now that’s it’s published because I know I’ll find all sorts of things I want to change. My sister and mother have read it and I’m trusting that if there were any glaring errors they would have told me about it by now. Keep wusaa-ing! It will get better.

      And thanks for your prayers. Tiffany is recovering by leaps and bounds!

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  7. Faith, these are all so very true. Number two is the one that overwhelms me the most. I wish I had enough funds to hire a staff to handle all the roles an indie author has to take on. It’s literally exhausting–mentally & physically–all the stuff we have to do (and remember to do when our minds go blank).

    Many blessings to your sister and your family.

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    • Right, Demetria? I dream of the day when I can hire consultants and whatnot…Cannot WAIT to be a boss chick. But until then, I’ll keep plugging away at the various roles req’d to indie publish these days.

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