The term “indie author” is short for independent author, someone who writes and publishes their works on their own apart from a traditional publishing house while retaining rights to all of their works. An indie author is the chief creative officer of their books and publishing business. An indie author holds all the power and all the receipts. Whew!
I am an indie author.
I knew pursuing a traditional publishing house would be a feat, and my network is full of indie authors. I watched the people around me put in the work to succeed with self-publishing. I felt inspired so I tapped in for their advice. When it came time to write my books, being an indie author was a no-brainer for me.
For me, being an indie author means creative freedom, and I am really big on creative freedom! I get to choose the storylines and characters. I get to choose the voices that are amplified. I get to make sure our kids are represented. I also get to choose the illustrators, editors, and formatters. This means I get to employ other small business owners and entrepreneurs.
It also means I get to follow my thoughts into creation–from the vision to the first draft, to the first sketches, and all the way up to the final edits and printing. I get the final say and freedom to bring my God-given ideas to life.
A publishing house has the money, experience, and audience to get your book out there. They also have creative control, and they choose who you work with and what goes to print. If you are picked up by the right publishing house, it’s all worth it, but if you are not picked up by a major publisher, it may not be such a blessing.
Self-publishing authors must come up with the money to fund their projects. They have to find people to work with, and they have to find, grow, and nurture their audience.
Indie authors are trying to change the narrative and fill in the gaps that traditional publishers have left since they were created. It’s very hard work to follow a thought through to publication, and it’s really expensive.
The biggest thing I have learned about being an indie author is that it takes patience and money. Timelines will usually take twice as long as you plan because many things outside are of your control. When I first started writing, I thought illustrations would take a month or so. Boy, I was clueless about the illustration process and what it takes to make book-worthy pictures. It’s a lot longer than a month!
Then, there’s the business side, the world behind the books. Nobody tells you that getting the words on paper is the easy part. After writing, you must have it edited, illustrated, edited again, formatted, and then printed. You need to purchase barcodes and ISBN #s. You need to learn to market, get people to buy your books, and always look for new ways to stay current. You spend so much money to publish one book the right way.
I ultimately go through the same process for each book, but different kinds of books come with a different process to an extent. For workbooks, I need to try them out on kids. For chapter books, I only need to find an illustrator for the cover art. The person who experiences the most drastic differences is Chynna, my formatting and publishing expert, because there is a difference in the formatting of flashcards vs spiral-bound notebooks or children’s books vs chapter books.
While we’re at it, let me just say there would be no Inspirus without Chynna. I took her self-publishing course and it was a true game-changer, but I didn’t have it in me to do all the formatting and publishing on my own. I mean, we are talking 30+ products, but she did what needed to be done to help me finalize all the projects. If you want to be a self-published author, I highly recommend taking her course. It will change the game for you.
Since I am an indie author, it is so important to hire a professional editor. Being a good writer and storyteller is not the same as being good with grammar, flow, punctuation, and all the other pieces Laci weaves together to bring my work to life. I work with Sharp Editorial for all of my editing needs! I could write a book about how amazing Laci is with words, but it wouldn’t do her justice.
Chynna and Laci are very important parts of my dream team. It’s just that: it takes a team. I might be independent in creative decisions, but that does not mean I’m doing it all on my own. Fulfilling my dream is a lot of work and a lot to manage.
But that feeling when the package arrives from the printer with a sample of my book with its cover just like I envisioned, my words on each page, and the characters I brought to life… the feeling is amazing. To know that I can hold my thoughts in my hands touches my soul.
If you’ve read this far, please know your support means the world to me. Your support is encouragement, your support funds more books, and your support is needed. I’m not doing this on my own. So, thank you.