Being an indie author can be an extremely rewarding and fantastic experience. You have total creative control and final say about whatever goes in to your work. There is no creation by committee, it is 100% you. But on the same token there are many things that are very frustrating to a vast majority of Indie authors.
- You really do have to do all the work. Not only are you the writer but you also have to play the editor, the designer, formatter, and the cover artist, but also the marketing Guru, the shipping and receiving department, billing, accountanting, legal, basically everything. If you’re lucky you have some money put aside and you can hire out some of these things to other people. If you’re not so lucky with money, then you might be able to rely on the good graces and favors from friends and other folks that want to help out. Otherwise, you’re going to be wearing a different hat at least three times a day.
- You never really make money when you’re first getting started or sometimes even later in your career. Why is that? See number one. If you were not fortunate enough to have people in your corner willing to do things for free or a reduced rate, you’re going to have to shell out some money in order to get that assistance for the professional polish your work deserves. Even if you have the skills to do it yourself websites, computer programs, and good marketing are not free.
- There are a great deal of readers and literary counterparts that turn up their nose as soon as they hear the word “Indie”. There is a certain amount of bias in the business. A certain perception of those that choose to take the Indie author route exists that they are not good enough to attract an agent or a publishing house. Just all these horrible ideas that somehow Indie authors are not trained, not schooled, never been to college, or they don’t have the education to be considered serious authors. Which, in many cases, is just simply not true. We have chosen to take a path that is a part from traditional publishing because it’s what we want or need.
- It’s a lot harder to get reader reviews coming out of the gate as an indie writer. There are plenty of people, and rightly so, that won’t buy the book unless it has reviews. Which in turn makes it harder to get reviews. So, when somebody does buy your book and doesn’t leave a review for other people it actually hurts future opportunities for sales and placements on lists without that backing legitimacy of the review no matter how fantastic or horrible it might be. Word-of-mouth is needed for those Facebook and Amazon algorithms to work.
- Day jobs. Every single Indie author I know works at least one day job. Jobs to pay the bills, pay the rent, clothe their children, and put food on the table. To make sure that they aren’t true starving artist and living under an overpass or bridge writing their prose on the back of fast food bags and paper napkins. The ultimate dream is to be able to sell enough books to quit the day job and live a full-time creative life.
If you ask a hundred Indie authors what they hate and frustrates them about being an indie author, you’ll probably get a hundred new things to add to this list. These are just my top five. Yet, I’m still here, everyday, making it happen.
So, in summation, support your indie authors through buying their books and leaving reviews.