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  • Writer's pictureS. Jennifer Paulson

Indies helping indies? Yep, it's a thing.

Being a self-published author isn't an easy road. That's where the author community comes in.

dumb and dumber chance
Chances of becoming a successful self-published author are 1 in 100. (Tenor image)

Being a self-published author is about more than just publishing a good book. It's about running your own business.


It's a lot to be your own bookkeeper, marketer, PR specialist, social media strategist, event planner...oh, and crank out a really compelling book or two a year. Or four, like a lot of authors seem to be doing these days. (And let's not forget having a "real job.")

indie author duties
Just some of the responsibilities of an indie author.

It can be pretty overwhelming. The pressure to regularly post. Responding to comments and posts on three different platforms. Dealing with fake posts and messages that I must "click here now" since my page is in copyright violation, etc. (I must get five of these a day, and they're really irritating.)

But that's the life of an indie author.

Times have changed. A lot. Once considered a "last resort" for people like me dying to get their work out there in the world, self-publishing has had a major overhaul when it comes to people's mindsets.

I love indie author success stories. Such as how one of my favorites, Colleen Hoover, started her career. (It's mind-blowing that a simple gesture of uploading an eBook to Kindle for her mom to read rocketed her into a major new career. Read that Galley Cat story here.)

There are others like CoHo. Whenever I discover a new author I love, I always google their backstory.

It gives me hope.

Which is just what I need while peddling my debut novel, given the stats.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but check out these figures supplied by Words Rated:

  • 300 million: The number of self-published books sold each year

  • 254%: The increase in self-published books over the past five years

  • 250: Number of copies the typical self-published book sells

  • $1,000: The average annual income of a self-published author

  • 33%: Number of indies who make less than $500 per year

  • 90%: Amount of self-published books sell less than 100 copies

  • 20%: The amount of indie authors who make NOTHING from their books

Surprised by the support

Despite those dismal figures, I decided to go for it anyway. After years of naysaying, I finally finished Boomerang and published it about three weeks ago. It's my passion, and I firmly believe my calling in life is that of a writer. How could I ignore that pull that's been there since I was a kid and never went away?

I can't.

Ask any indie author and they'll tell you. Being self-published means being self-promoting. Well, while it can be fun, it takes time away from what we love actual storytelling.

But there's one thing I'm seeing in the indie author community that pleasantly surprised me.

Other indie authors cheering me on.

I've seen it in my small writers' group locally, where I have been lucky enough to have seasoned authors lend me a hand. These writers gave up their free time to help me grasp the process and world of writing, launching and marketing a book.

Honestly, I was somewhat surprised by the sheer amount of help offered to me. We're not threats to one another's success we're a source of support. Lord knows, indies need all they can get.

I hope to do the same for another author getting started in self-publishing someday. I want to pay it forward.

And I'm getting a head start from two other writers who aren't even in my country.

Indies: Connected by a common cause

I recently joined the Alliance for Independent Authors, where I connected with fellow self-published authors. A post inviting authors to share their books and purchase one from another writer piqued my interest and opened my mind. It showed me that, yes, there are indies helping indies in their promotional efforts.

I connected with author Julio Boggio, a Jersey girl who now calls the UK home. I saw the cover of Shooters and it was on. So, I shot Julia a message, telling her I just purchased her book.

In turn, she purchased mine. And I could have cried when a few days later, she'd ripped through Boomerang AND posted a glowing review of it. Julia went above and beyond, and quickly!

It felt good. And coincidentally enough, when I was killing time at a Cocoa Village Book Fest, a Central Florida reader event yesterday, I was reading Julia's book when someone saw me and said she read Julia's other two books. I was floored and excited for her! How cool is that? The random overseas connection.

At the Book Fest, I also connected with YA author Kristin Satterfield, who was selling copies of her book, Lightning Rising: Book 1 of the Shadow Wars Series, alongside me at the Cocoa Village Book Fest. We quickly developed a kinship, covering each other when the restroom called or change needed to be broken. I watched as her "Hunger Games meets Harry Potter" novel flew off her table. And Kristin was sweet enough to steer thriller fans my way and share about my book on her social media page.

I also want to mention connecting with Canadian-based author Katherine Krige, author of Riding the Waves: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Grief. We met via Facebook a couple of months ago and regularly comment on each other's content. Having yet another indie to talk with is indispensable.

It's pretty special when another writer gives you some encouragement. After all, there's about a million of us out there. And we all have the same dream: to do this book-writing thing for a living. (A real one.)

It's not like readers are limited to one book per life. There's room and opportunity for us all. And given how tough the industry is, having support of others in my shoes can be that every-so-often boost that gives me the will to keep it up. I want to succeed.

And I want them to succeed, too.

The bonus? I discovered some great new connections and books. Books I likely would have never come across.

All because I was receptive.

Thank you to Julia, Kristin and Katherine for cheering me on. I'll continue to do the same for you.

If you're scared and just starting out on your indie career, know this: you've got a slew of writers who want to see you succeed. You just have to find them.

11 views1 comment

1 Σχόλιο

15 Απρ

What a fantastic article, full of sobering stats, empowering thoughts, determination, and hope. I just finished reading about the power of perseverance. Between that and your lovely thoughts, it is a great message of encouragement to keep on writing. Thank you!!!

Katherine Krige

Μου αρέσει

to my blog

Hi, readers! I’m S. Jennifer Paulson, a former journalist who has been pecking away at my debut novel for years. You know, in between work, helping my husband with his business, grad school and being a wife and mom. So, I’ll be sharing about the writing journey, as well as musings on everyday life — and the things going on around us — from the world of books to beyond. So grab a cup of coffee and join me on my journey to publishing my first book. It’s gonna be an interesting ride.

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