Debunking Common Indie Author Myths

They’re Only Self-publishing Because No Publisher Accepted Their Story. This one is bogus. Many indie authors skip the agent querying step altogether, preferring to publish on their own time and terms. You have some indie authors who queried agents for a while to no avail and they had no other choice but to self-publish – that does not mean that their future books won’t be accepted by publishers. Some agents could personally love a story, but they won’t take a chance on something that isn’t “marketable” at the time. Being rejected often isn’t because the story lacked quality. Some authors do a a bit of querying to see what happens and if no agent or publisher bites, they self-publish when they are ready. A lot of people view their writing as art, so the idea of having other people controlling how their work gets published turns them off. Never assume someone self-published because they “had” to. Many people choose to. Which brings us to another wrong assumption many people make about indies.

Self-published Books Have Terrible Story Telling & Too Many Errors. This is another common bogus myth. I’m not saying there aren’t poorly edited indie books out there, because it does happen. That said, there is a greater number of quality indie books out there are with amazing stories. I’d go so far as saying that I prefer reading indie books over traditionally published books. My favourite books of all time were written by indie authors – you’re getting the authentic voice of the writer in the original version they wrote the story in. I can’t think of a better book to read than that! In regards to errors, traditionally published books also contain typos in the final product – and publishers are constantly editing and re-submitting books are these errors are brought to light by readers. Indie authors, on the other hand, need to fix the error themselves often through noticing it themselves in the final product or after a reader alerted them of the error.

Besides, if you’re sitting there counting every typo or error in a book, you’re either not engaged in the story or you have a bias against the author/publishing method so you’re seeing everything through a critical eye. That’s no fun. I’d rather read a book with 25 errors in it that I highly enjoy than a perfectly edited story that doesn’t excite me.

If An Indie Author Has Published 10+ Books, They’re Probably Rich. I don’t blame people for making this assumption, but it isn’t correct. Having many published books on Amazon, even if some are best sellers, doesn’t mean the author is making a viable income. All the marketing and promotion work is on the indie author – and they work darn hard for often very little financial gain. One person recently told me that I was in the rich & famous crowd (It might have been a bit tongue in cheek, to be fair) and it freaked me out a little to think that some people might believe I’m in the rich author category. That is certainly not the case. I’m very much representative of the working class person right now. I do try to have a competent, artsy, professional vibe on my social media platforms, but I don’t make much money off my books at this point (Marketing plan is to follow soon!). Never assume that someone who *looks* successful is successful. Instagram and Twitter is only a small snapshot of someone’s real life. Many indie authors work full-time jobs alongside their writing. Of course, the more books you write, the greater your chances to attract repeat readers and get discovered.

Self-publishing Hurts Your Chances At Getting Represented By A Big Publisher One Day. Your goal may be to never get published by a big company and that’s totally fine, though some authors do have that dream. Every new book you write is a clean slate, so to speak, and if you already have a platform with interested readers from your self-published books, it can actually put you in a great light as many literary agents and publishers want someone who already has a decent following. So, never think that because you self-published your books that an agent or publisher won’t take on your future books.

Self-publishing Is Taking The Easy Way Out. I find this one is more of a troll-ish type of comment, but it’s worth debunking. My goal is to ensure every indie author is proud of what they’ve written and published. Self-publishing is not easy. Sure, it’s faster, probably smoother, than traditional publishing, but the work it takes to edit, format, design a cover (or find a good cover designer), market, promote, etc. is no joke. Not to mention – you just wrote a whole story! That is no small feat in itself, so no matter which publishing path you’ve taken, writing is never easy, and you’re a bad ass for pursuing publishing. All that work is on you as an indie author – if someone hates your work or wants to troll you, there isn’t a team there to help you absorb the blow. It’s all on you. Indie authors are a tough brand of writer and they are brave for taking this path.

Paid Self-Publishing Services Make It Easier. Avoid! I’m sorry to say, but if a small press or indie publisher requires you to pay up front, they are a vanity publisher in disguise. Please do not blow all your hard-earned money on a service that you can do on your own – or with a little help. You can find affordable editors and cover designers to work with you if you need it. It definitely does not need to cost you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to publish your book. With a little extra effort, you can publish your own book regardless of your budget. I’d like to also add that many indies publish their story 100% free. Keep that in mind.

Low Book Sales Mean Your Book Is Bad. This is totally wrong as well. Indie authors don’t have a marketing and distribution team to promote them. You could have the best story in the world, but if no one knows it exists, there’s no way they can get to it. All of the marketing and promotion is on the indie author – and they’re competing against a market flooded with other indie books. If you’re not getting a lot of sales, it could simply mean it’s because you’re not investing enough in marketing or perhaps your book’s description isn’t interesting enough, or the cover makes people bounce rather than peek inside. Many indie authors don’t care much about book sales and I’m a part of that crowd now. One of the great things about most indies is that they’re totally happy to have a small, but loyal readership – they don’t sweat the sales so much. So, never associate your worth or your book’s worth by its popularity. The readers will come eventually if you’re patient and if you do invest some time in promoting, it can help your book reach more people.

Keep in mind: Just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s good quality.

I hope you enjoyed this blogging episode! πŸ™‚ Happy writing. Xx

(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

17 comments

  1. You’re right. Though I’m not an indie author but I’ve tried to self-publish and I still have tons of low sales. It’s painful in a way. Though agents also lie too. Claiming they’d help and most times, it doesn’t work out

    • Yikes I’m sorry to hear about the experiences you have with the agents. I’ve heard some stories where writers don’t get as much help as they hoped. I’m sorry to hear about the low sales. It isn’t fair – like you’d think once you landed an agent that they would market your book and help your readership grow. Perhaps I can tailor more of my posts for fellow authors, since really, many of us are all in the same boat.

  2. I totally agree with all your comments. The one good thing about self publishing on Amazon, is you are able to change it. I self published my first book Sticks and Stones with a vanity publisher. I can’t stress enough how much writers need to avoid them. Their editing service was poor at best, and so much more could have been done with that story if I had paid for an editor instead. It cost me 500 pounds and that was over fifteen years ago. What annoys me the most is I cannot even go back and change it. I have brought from Indie Authors and on the most part I am glad I did. There were some amazing stories I would have missed otherwise.

  3. I’ve only just recently joined the published world, and self-publishing had been 100% a choice, but even as early as now I can say it definitely isn’t easy. The indie community has been very helpful at least, which I truly appreciate! ☺️

  4. I think too many assume that just because you’ve published a book, suddenly you’re rolling in the dough. Even those who go a traditional route aren’t making bank. It’s really rare (as I know you know) for anyone to make JK Rowling money.

    I have a lot of respect for indie authors because they’re putting in A LOT of work that doesn’t even include the time they’ve spent on crafting the book in the first place.

    • Hahaha so true. I think I’ve had a few jealous people/trolls thinking I deserved online abuse because I was so successful and rich lol when I am not at all. You make a good point about those traditionally published authors not necessarily being rich, either.
      Thank you for your kind words about indies. πŸ™‚ It’s a lot of work, but so rewarding when you get those readers who read and love your story. Thanks for stopping by!

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