What I’ve Learned about the Indie Business

The indie book community is not for the weak, the entitled or the lazy. If you took offence to any of that, I’m might be talking about you.

Everyone that release a book aspires to be a best seller. Ok, maybe not a best seller but you want to sell a ton of books. I mean, a couple thousand would be nice, right? You’d think with all the readers that follow you, interact with you and feed your ego, that you’d sell at least a couple hundred.

Oh, let me break it to you… That’s probably not happening any time soon. Ten, maybe. There’s a few things that you don’t understand about book selling within the indie community and nothing that you don’t already know, but you hope you’re not that author. Guess what? You are, if you’re indie. Actually, if you are with a publisher you are probably in the same boat.

We all hope for “best seller” status. With every push of the all-fearing publish button, your dreams of making a name for yourself hang in the balance. Within 72 hours, Amazon will attach your book to your name and TA-DA! You are officially an author. You have a book, but now what? I mean, it’s supposed to sell itself, right?

Marketing sucks. There’s nothing to enjoy about spending money that you won’t make back on a few ads that will gain you a click or two. Not a purchase or one-click but a click. You’ll sell a few books, sure. Family and friends will buy it and a smaller number will read it. Reviewing it takes precious time for the reader, so that’s not happening unless they are committed.

Write a few more, they say. Interact with more readers, they say. Give away the book for FREE, they say. YOU LISTEN, because they know what they are talking about. They are all best sellers and living in your shoes. Mhmm, sure.

Now, you’re left with a few books that you have spent countless hours on, years of posting to groups, personal assistants that are hit and miss when it comes to being any good, time away from your family and job, money, tears and resources for what? No sales? So, let’s give up.

Doesn’t that sound like the right thing to do? You couldn’t cut it with a few books (could be a dozen), you’re not seeing a growth in sales or you didn’t sell anything at a signing and the world owes you! Ok, right.

Oh… We’ve all been there. Did you ever stop and think that this is real work? You are running your own business! Of course it’s hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would do it!

Oh wait, everyone is doing it and many are ready to fight!

That’s the kicker, here. You need to do your thing. Don’t listen to everyone else and what they did to make it in a cut-throat world. Rarely, and I mean rarely, will you meet someone that’s selfless enough to actually help you succeed. These people do exist, they really do, but more people want to see you fail and they do it behind a screen and keyboard with a smile on their face. It’s a sad realization, but I am right. There is always going to be someone ready to put you down.

If there was a sure way to be successful, don’t you think everyone would do it? I know that I would.

Failed book signings are more the authors fault than they are willing to accept. You have to make your readers want to meet you. You need to build your own successful event or your only saving grace is that you can capitalize on another authors fans. That means that you need to be more social and more outgoing than anyone else at the event. Sounds easy but I assure you that it sucks and I’m as social as it gets. You will probably sell no books and you should’ve known that since your fans didn’t make the trip. Is what it is. You need to know your business and prepare for the worst because you could succeed or fail any moment.

For example, I’ve written many books in multiple genres. My only best seller with a pretty orange flag on Amazon is titled, C*CK. (I know, wtf?)

My best selling series is short rants on bad words – F*CK, SH*T, B*TCH, you get the point. They each cost the same price as many of my novels but these sell and they are read regularly on KU. My most consistent babies aren’t even real books. There are my words and they are my thoughts, but they are far from books. Think about that for a minute.

Most people (successful people) told me that I was committing career suicide when I hit publish on the first book. Did that stop me? It almost did. I should listen to others because they know what’s best for me. Yeah, ok.

Then I thought about, what’s the worst that could happen? I won’t sell books? Well, that was already happening so there was no loss for me.

I took a chance with a business that I created. I risked it all for one book that quickly became a series against everyone’s warning.


The moral of the story is that you can’t think about everyone else when you dive headfirst into the indie community. You won’t sell hundreds of book and you won’t be liked by everyone. Everyone learns that in month two of joining but the strong fight. They fight against the odds, the book suffers, the theifs, the readers and the people that want you to fail. Again, it’s not for the weak, the entitled or the lazy.

Throwing in the white flag doesn’t mean throwing a tantrum on Facebook in hopes of receiving pity buys or emotional pleas for your social media existence. It means, you’re done. You’ve given up and you tried.

If you can walk away knowing that you gave it your all, and I mean every option you have, there’s no need for a going away party or one last attempt to have your ego stroked. You just quit your job, you don’t look back and you move on. It’s business and it’s not easy.

The indie world is hard. Harder than any job I’ve ever had, but I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve done because I love what I do and I expect nothing. That’s the only way you’ll survive.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: