I’ve been at indie publishing for almost ten years now. I’ve outlined some of the things I’ve accomplished and what some of my struggles are. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve certainly written a good amount of books. I didn’t go as far as I hoped in the beginning, but from the start I knew that it was not going to be a quick success. When it’s all said and done, do I regret self-publishing?
My honest answer is no, not at all. 🙂
Why don’t I regret self publishing?
- I love writing. Whether I make money off it or not, I’m doing what I love. Any royalties I do receive are a bonus.
- Success takes time. I started with the mindset that it could take ten years or more before my books really take off. I’ve noticed some indie authors starting out with high hopes of making a livable income off their writing right away. While that would be nice – and some people accomplish it – it’s always better to have a more balanced approach to self-publishing so you don’t get discouraged and give up too soon.
- I’ve learned a lot. I know I keep saying this, but it’s true. Sometimes you learn better by doing. You won’t know what really works for you until you try it. I’ve seen what doesn’t work vs. what attracts more readers.
- Sales don’t reflect the quality of a story. You could have written something that many people love, but you don’t have the marketing team or distribution channels to make it happen yet. Some great stories are sitting as unknowns right now. Some popular books get a lot of criticism, yet they still have a fan base. I don’t believe that my books aren’t good enough; I’m aware that indie publishing simply has limitations on how many people will see it and buy it.
- I’ve experienced many successes. Not all success is monetary. I’ve had some months where I made a significant enough royalty to buy myself something nice or pay for bank fees. It’s something. Every time I receive a new review or see someone new buy my book, it makes me feel great. Those are all successes.
- I know what I can improve on. When you do something for 9 years, you start to see what your strengths and weaknesses are. I know that if I improved my marketing techniques that I’d get a lot more exposure, so that’s something I’ll want to focus on more.
- I have freedom over what I write. As an indie author, you can write what you love. You don’t have to worry about fitting into the market or having a team telling you what you should write. I want to attract an audience that loves my work rather than cater to a specific audience and lose my authenticity.
- Indie publishing isn’t stressful. I find the process really fun and energizing. When a story is ready, you can go ahead and publish it. When you query agents with hopes of getting into a publishing house, you might wait for months or years and it can be disheartening when all you get are rejections or “almosts”. Indie publishing bypasses the whole query and acceptance process.
- I’m over 10 books in now. Wayyy back when I first started writing, the whole indie publishing thing was very new. In the early days, people who hopped on the indie author band wagon were gaining success a little quicker and some of them made money off writing books on how to sell books (crafty!). There used to be a rule of thumb that for every ten books you write, the better the chances of you getting a solid readership and selling more books. I will say that starting last year, I was making a fairly predictable amount unlike previous years, so there is some merit to it. I’d say you probably need closer to 20 books now to have the same effect and that number will go up with time. At least I’m over 10 books in now!
- Indie publishing does not hurt your chances at being traditionally published. I repeat: Being an indie author doesn’t remove you from being able to get accepted by a publishing house. In fact, most agents prefer authors who already have a following on social media and have some level of fan base. Every new book is a clean slate, so if you ever changed your mind and wanted to start querying agents, very few of them would judge you for being an indie author.