Confessions of an Indie Author

I’ve been doing this for a while now. Writing, my whole life and publishing since The Mess of Me came out in 2013. Since then I have published eleven more novels and a short story collection. In 2022 I will be releasing another collection, this time of short stories and poems and I also hope to publish the first book in my YA post-apocalyptic series, The Day The Earth Turned. On top of that, myself and Sim Sansford aim to publish the first book in the YA trilogy we have written together. I don’t think anyone can say I’m not committed to the process of writing, revising, editing, proofing and publishing. It’s the marketing and selling bit that still eludes me all these years later. It’s been playing on my mind lately so I feel like I need to get it off my chest. I’m hoping a good moan will get it out of my system so here goes.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay
  1. I still only sell a few books a month – the flip side of this is that I always sell something! I’ve never had a month without sales since I started so I am grateful for that. But I can only imagine what it feels like to sell books in their hundreds! It must feel like a dream.
  2. I lose faith and sometimes don’t post about my books for weeks on end – sometimes I don’t market my books enough because I am simply too busy writing and working and bringing up my kids, but other times its because I have lost faith. I just can’t be bothered sometimes. I’ll think about posting a quote meme, or I’ll consider Tweeting my books or sharing a review to Facebook and then this apathy just takes over me and my negative side thinks why? What’s the point? And I give up. Sometimes for weeks.
  3. I am rubbish at Twitter – to be honest, I don’t want to be good at it. I decided long ago Twitter wasn’t really for me. I am on it and my Facebook author page is linked to it, and I occasionally bother to Tweet but mostly I totally neglect it.
  4. I frequently forget to post on my blog – I seem to go through phases of blogging once a week for quite a while and then forgetting about it entirely. Ideally authors should maintain their blog as its your landing page, a place potential readers can go to find out more about you. It should reflect your voice as a person and an author and it should help highlight your books. I love blogging but there are some weeks when I can’t think of a subject to blog about, and there are way too many weeks when I just don’t get the time.
  5. I’m getting worse at keeping the Facebook page going – My Facebook page has always been one aspect of social media I’m quite proud of. I don’t have a huge following but I do post regularly and I enjoy doing so. Just lately though I’ve neglected it as well as everything else. Partly due to not having the time, partly due to apathy and partly due to simply forgetting! I am hoping to really kickstart it in the New Year though with some regular features I hopefully won’t forget about!
  6. Sometimes I wish it would all go away – sometimes I wish I didn’t have to try and market my books and lure readers in. Sometimes I wish all these extra things about being an author would just go away and leave me alone. Sometimes I wish I was one of those ultra successful authors, someone who can pay others to market their books!
  7. I just want to write, and write and write– It is my addiction. I have so many projects on the go, so many waiting their turn and a head full of ideas for even more books. I know there will never be time in my life for them all. If I didn’t have to spend time putting effort into marketing my books I could just get on with writing!
  8. I also really, really, really want people to read my books! – Yes, I do, I really do! And I don’t want to beg, and I can’t afford to spend money on it, so somehow I must work hard at the free options, building my platform, trying to lure readers in because yes, I really, really do want people to read my books!
  9. I very rarely get a new review – This is one of the most frustrating aspects I think. I’m grateful for sales but reviews let an author know the book has been read! Even if it wasn’t enjoyed, at least it didn’t fade away on someone’s Kindle and never get read. Reviews are fuel for authors. They let us know what readers like and don’t like and they keep us going. It is unbelievably exciting to think someone read your book and cared enough about it to leave a review!
  10. I don’t know how to get my books noticed – I have tried everything, apart from paid ads. I can’t do that. And sometimes I come across other indie authors who write similar things to me and their sales and reviews are much better. I can’t help but worry about this. What am I doing wrong in terms of marketing? Is there something I don’t know, something I haven’t tried yet? How the hell are they doing it? Or is that my books are crap? Or my covers? Sometimes it drives me crazy.
  11. I should be better at this by now – I really should. I should have figured it out. I should have grown my following and my audience. Instead it all seems to stay the same, no matter how many more books I write. I am doing something wrong.
  12. I sabotage myself daily – I do. I scroll social media or read emails and see endless things that could help me. Competitions to enter, articles to read, funding to access, chances to post about me and my books for free and nine times out of ten I just sigh and scroll on by. I tell myself I just don’t have the time but maybe it is more than that. Some weird mix of self-sabotage and self-care. Me protecting myself from frustration and rejection and burnout, and me assuming it won’t be worth it and its all too late now anyway.
  13. I want a Netflix deal – who doesn’t? I think about it all the time. My books devised into a Netflix series. I would have made it. I could be so proud. I could have faith in myself and my writing, and how amazing would it be to see my characters on screen??
  14. I want to be rich and famous – well, sometimes. And maybe not really. But yes I would love to make more money out of this, who wouldn’t? And I would love to have a little bit of recognition. It would be nice to think people recognise your author name, wouldn’t it?
  15. I want my friends and family to read my books and support me – This one haunts me a lot. All these years later and all these books later and I still can’t lure barely any of my family and friends in to support me. I try not to dwell on it try not think about it, but it is there. Often when I post about a new release, its just strangers that congratulate me, strangers that repost and strangers that buy and review. I know its unrealistic to expect loved ones to read all my books, but over the years I have written across multiple genres so surely there is something there for everyone? I’ll be honest. It hurts a lot.

So there you have it. Fifteen confessions from a weary indie author. But it’s not all doom and gloom. I am so excited about all my upcoming releases. I can’t help think each time, maybe this will be it? Maybe this will be the one that makes a difference and sets it all on fire? Maybe! Who knows? You’ve got to have hope, I guess. And writing is so much more to me than sales and support – writing is my lifeline, my obsession, my favourite thing to do in the world. I will always write just for me and I will always love every moment of that process.

10 thoughts on “Confessions of an Indie Author

  1. I understand your frustration — and I would guess that the majority of writers feel similarly. We love the writing part, but the marketing part is challenging. I’ve tried Twitter, and I think it’s good for meeting other writers — but not good for selling books (at least for me). I don’t have any great solutions, as my marketing efforts certainly haven’t led to sales. I suggest that you check out Lee Hall’s blog: https://leehallwriter.com/. He gives information about what he’s done and what has worked for him. I’ve followed his advice on paying book promotion websites when I’ve run free ebooks on Amazon. Those promotions have resulted in many people getting my ebooks. But it hasn’t resulted in them writing reviews. You might have different results, since you have more books. Here’s Lee Hall’s list of promotional websites: https://leehallwriter.com/2021/02/23/a-concise-list-of-book-promotion-sites/. In particular, I’ve had success with BookDoggy. They cost $20, which is a good bit cheaper than other sites. Something else you could try is to approach book bloggers and book tubers and offer free books to them in exchange for reviews. That could get your books out there more. I wish you well with writing and marketing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an honest and relatable post, Chantelle. We’ve all felt like, and still feel like this, with every book release, every blog post we have to write, every social media post we have to come up with. It’s a tough gig when you’ve got to be the writer, editor, marketing guru, and everything else that’s involved in being a modern writer. I guess the only thing we can take comfort in is the fact we all feel like this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never doubt yourself and never give up.

    You never fail to inspire me.

    You know those writers you idolise, the ones who always seem to get it right? The ones you devour everything they put out because their words mean something and their stories are so powerful that it’s almost like they get you entirely. Those writers like Stephen King who litter your own shelves.

    Well, that’s what you are for me.

    I am so grateful I discovered your books and even more blown away that we’ve become friends, business partners and co-authors. I really, really am.

    I think you’re absolutely amazing. And I know from my own experience, compliments and reviews from people you know don’t have as much impact. You can’t help but feel they’re just being nice. But please do believe it when I say you’re right up there in my top three authors! In fact, you might even be MY FAVOURITE author if I’m completely honest.

    Please believe that and never forget you are talented, amazing, and a world where you give up on writing would be devestating.

    You will make a difference and more people will be saying your name.

    I’ll remind you of this again when your movie deal comes through.

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow!!! Thank you so much. That means the absolute world to me! You know what, any time I feel down from now on I’m gonna remind myself of your words and keep writing just for you!!

    Like

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