Dear Newbie Indie Author…


Dear Newbie Indie Author at the start of your journey….Panic not. Though everywhere you turn there are rules, and experts, and advice, and do’s and don’ts. Remember that all those who are further along than you, were once where you are now. If I could give any advice to me when I was a newbie indie author, it would go something like this;

  • Attend a course, workshop or conference. Something that fills you with wisdom and ambition. Something that makes you dream and hope and long to get your words out into the world. Something where dreams are balanced with a hefty dose of reality and an honest account of how hard it is likely to be.
  • Remember that Rome was not built in a day, so neither will your author platform. Be aware of it, learn about it, but don’t panic about it yet. It will grow with you, in time.
  • Be brave. But only when you are ready. There is no rush and no reason to change your personality or try to be something you are not. Tip your toes in the water with a Facebook author page, or a Twitter account. Play around with things, lurking around the edges until it feels right to dive in.
  • Don’t feel like you have to be on every social media site, stretching yourself too thin, whiling away precious hours by attempting to engage with them all. There is simply no point. Choose two or three and make sure one is your blog/website. Give these your attention, and enjoy them. Think of them as your own little projects, little mini businesses. Little acorns that will one day grow into Oak trees!
  • It’s fine if you are just talking to yourself. Everyone starts off like that. It’s not a waste of time! Think of it as practice. You can be uninhibited, knowing that barely anyone is there. Practice your voice, try things out, have a giggle. By the time your audience has grown, you will be far more comfortable in the role.
  • Make your blog whatever you want it to be. Some writers just blog about writing. That’s fine. Some blog about other issues, political, social, personal, and that’s fine too. Some blog weekly, some once in a blue moon. It’s all fine. Do what its comfortable for you. A blog is for your writing and writing should always be fun. If it doesn’t feel fun, don’t force it. Try something else.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. We’ve all taken different paths. There will always be writers with more money to spend, more contacts to enlist, more gift of the gab, more luck, more everything. But you are the only one who can tell your story in your way. Hold your head up high and try not to play the comparison game with anyone.
  • Don’t get eaten up with jealousy. When you see others succeed, be glad for them and then try to work out how they did it.
  • Don’t expect your family and friends to rush out and buy your book. Don’t expect many of them to understand what the hell you are doing. Find fellow writers to help you through the frustration and elation that is to come.
  • Remember that the only way to succeed is to never, ever quit.
  • Remember that success means something different to everyone, and only you can decide what it means to you.
  • Be prepared to be work hard, to treat writing like a job, to put in the hours, to find time for promotion and writing, to try new things when nothing is working, to feel like giving up, to want to bang your head against the wall, to want to throw your laptop out of the window, to scream at people to just please buy your bloody book and to go to bed and not be able to sleep for the ideas, thoughts, doubts and frustrations whirling in your head.
  • Be realistic. Dream big with your feet still on the ground. Keep your day job and be proud of it. Write because you have to, because the ideas and the words and the characters are too big to contain in just your head alone, and because you want to share them, to let others feel like you do. Write because you love it, because you live it and breathe it, because it excites you and makes you feel like you are living more than one life. Don’t write to get rich. Don’t write to impress anyone. Write because there is no choice not to write.
  • Know that you’ve got to put the work in to see the results. That inevitably and eventually, you reap what you sow. Little steps sometimes take you further than big ones. Sometimes the only way you realise how far you have come is when you stand still and look back to where you started.
  • Don’t spam people. Don’t become a robot hitting everyone who follows you with a buy my book link or plea. Engage with them. Forge relationships. It isn’t all about you. Don’t follow other people just so they follow you back. Think about why you are following them.
  • Don’t play the numbers game. Likes and follows mean nothing if people are not engaged with your voice and your style and what you have on offer. It’s not about the amount, it’s about the quality.
  • Don’t only post an update when you have a book out. Build an audience. Give them something to read, debate, join in with and get excited about. Then ask them to buy your book.
  • Be proud. You’re doing something some people only dream of. Do you know how many people say they would like to write a book, but never actually do it? You’ve done it. You’ve proved yourself and realised a dream. That’s pretty cool. And be proud of going indie. It’s not an easy road. But it is an incredibly creative and innovative one. Who knows where it might lead? Who knows what skills you will require? What contacts you will make? What friends you will find? What effect you will have on those that read your work? Who knows where you will be one year, or five years, or ten years from now? The possibilities are endless so dream big and work hard. Don’t moan, don’t back out, get on with it, and make it happen.

(Credit to Pranam Gurung for the image.)

Please feel free to comment and share. What advice would you give to a new indie author? What do you wish you had known in the beginning? Anything you would do differently?

19 thoughts on “Dear Newbie Indie Author…

  1. Love this! Really needed this after getting lost down a blog rabbit hole and reading about other writers, who instead of being rejected by the agents and publishers I’ve tried, have actually been signed to them. The reminder of not comparing myself to others in this post has stopped me from spiraling down a “why not me?” fit of depression and deflation. Thank you, Chantelle!


    1. Thank you! I’ve had that happen to me too very recently, writers I know getting signed to publishers I’ve submitted to. I’m also in a wonderful group full of lovely people, many of whom are seeing a lot of success and sales and recognition. I have to remind myself that they may have been working for many years to get to that point. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very true. I don’t begrudge anyone else having success, I think it’s great. Sometimes it just makes you wonder why you aren’t getting anywhere when you’ve been trying for just as long and just as hard.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good advices! It’s good to be reminded as I have a tendency to forget.
    And I don’t think will ever give up but there’s this voice that keeps whispering “You will never get there, best just find something else”
    Sometimes I wonder if I really love writing enough to keep pursuing it…
    Oh well
    Thanks for this! 😉


    1. You’re so welcome, and thank you so much for reading and commenting. That is hugely appreciated! I know exactly how you feel and I also have this little voice telling me to quit. So far I have managed to ignore it and just keep going. Good luck with it all! 🙂


  3. Such a lovely and encouraging post! I find it so hard, all the time that has to be put into things other than writing, while feeling that yes, you’re talking to yourself! It’s always nice to hear that you’re not the only one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Kim. thanks so much for reading and commenting and tweeting too! I really appreciate it. I’m still talking to myself most days, I think! Most days I wonder why on earth I am doing any of this. It sort of seems to get me nowhere. But if I do stop and look back I can see that I have come along way, and although there is still a hell of a long way to go, I still want to do it. I think!! I’m glad you enjoyed this.


  5. These are helpful. Even as someone who’s been an indie author for around 10 years. The most shocking thing was my family not buying my books – even the ones who love to read. Connecting with authors online has been very helpful.


    1. Hi Sara, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I know exactly what you mean and the lack of support from family and friends seems to be incredibly common sadly. I know many who feel the same, so I suppose there is some comfort in that! And I agree, sometimes the best support comes from connecting with others online, who sometimes end up being far more supportive!

      Liked by 1 person

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