Writing Tips: Surviving the New Indie Publishing World

I know I’m not alone in this quest…

…but sometimes it feels that way. That’s because no matter how many writers find success and try to show the rest of us the way, we still have to discover our own path – right?

Ask any successful author what the defining moment was that set into the motion the sometimes-overnight record book sales, and they usually can’t tell you. Nor can they even duplicate it themselves for the next book. What works for one writer doesn’t work for another. There is no magic formula. No one-size-fits-all plan of action.

Dream BookI’ll be honest. I’ve done my share of time following the rules in the traditional publishing world: years of writing and editing, years of submissions to agents and rejections, until finally signing with a New York agent, then years of manuscript submissions, only to be told that my writing is stellar, my characters memorable, the premise exciting, but it just doesn’t fit with their marketing plan.

That’s just the first two novels. Now I’m finishing a third. And my agent wants to see it. Okay. But what about the other two that were well written enough to gain me multiple agent requests, awards and glowing reviews – yet no book deals? Do they languish forever on my hard drive?

So, while I decide whether to give my third book to my agent and wait while he submits it to the Big Five in NY, perhaps I should think about taking my career into my own hands and consider publishing those first two novels myself. It’s taken me a while to come to this conclusion.

But even with all those years of experience behind me, I now feel the a novice, at the very beginning of following that yellow brick road towards the final destination in the grand world of Indie book publication. And I’m sure I’m going to run into my own share of nasty witches with flying monkeys and other scary roadblocks.

But hopefully, along the way, I’ll find my own version of the friendly tin man or the thoughtful scarecrow to help me be a courageous lion of a writer. Yes, I still have to ultimately find my own way, but it sure helps to have a few road maps and wise words of advice to use as guidance.

That’s what I would call Jane Friedman – my friendly tin man (woman), who offers her advice and help along that twisty turny path. And she knows lots of other experienced people as well – and asks them to write guest blogs on occasion. She’s just cool like that.

This one: The Long-Term View: 3 Exciting Mind Shifts for Author Entrepreneurs by Joanna Penn, is a winner in my book.

First, I love that title Author Entrepreneur. That’s a true description of many authors today. Second, it also gives me hope, because six years ago I left corporate America to begin my own business and have found a great deal of pleasure in helping others, while being able to pay the rent. Entrepreneur is something I know, intimately.

But the real reason I’m sharing this blog post with all of you is that I like the fact Joanne Penn is encouraging us to take a broader, overhead view of this faced-paced and ever changing publishing world of today. To think about what we might be giving up for tomorrow, if we settle for a book deal today. It’s worthy of the time to read it, and the time to let that roll around in our brains a bit…

For me the journey begins here. I have a lot to learn. I’ll let you know where the road takes me, and share my experience with you!

I’d love to hear about your experiences! Any words of advice?


  1. Mike Sirota

    I came back from a seventeen-year hiatus from being published by the “big houses,” who did nothing for my books, and went with a small house, who also did nothing for my books. So now I’m doing it myself. I may not sell tons of books, but frankly I find it much more gratifying.

    • indy

      I’m hearing that sentiment from more and more authors, Mike. And I am listening. I think being an entrepreneur at heart gives me the courage to go forward, but having my own business means I also know what kind of work and hours will be involved in the preparation and marketing. But then, from what I hear I’d be doing most of that anyway – so why not take control!? Thanks for taking time to share your experience!


    aGREE WITH MIKE….SEEMS TO BE A GOOD alternative…perhaps give it a one-time shot.

    • indy

      Thanks for your support, Ruth! I have many writer friends who have taken the leap and are encouraging me as well. It all helps!


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