Can You Make it as an Indie Author?

How to Be IndieHow to Be Indie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book Expo of America (BEA), the major annual book pageant in the US, has just concluded and left behind  some interesting indications of where the publishing industry is heading, in particular confirming that self-publishing is the "new frontier for writers" (to use agent Rachelle Gardner's words). 

A new frontier? Maybe but not a very friendly one if we are to believe Author Jennifer Weiner, the keynote speaker for the Book Bloggers Conference, who said and I quote:  "very few indie authors will make it!


And here's another unnerving observation made at the IDPF Digital Book conference about online discovery of books: if a book is not discovered in the top 10-20 results of a query, no chance of discovery! Furthermore, if you consider that it is accepted wisdom that most digital books are discovered by search, then we are all wasting our time marketing on Internet. No need to tweet, blog or post on Facebook...Forget everything, relax and just focus on writing your next book!

These pearls were picked up by Anthony Wessel for DIGITAL BOOK TODAY. He recapped his experience in the form of bullet point notes that are fun to read and don't waste your time. Consider his recap of Author Bella Andre's keynote address - Bella André who's one of the most successful indie author in the pantheon of self-published writers. I can't resist quoting his notes in their entirety:

Speaker: Author Bella Andre – Making it as an indie author.
Currently at 700K in digital books sold
Ave. book price $4.99.  Uses $0.99 only as a promo price.
Very clear author branding on her books (shown on overhead). FYI: take a look at her books on Amazon. A very good example.
Believes author name is the most important.
Readers don’t care if the author is an indie. They just want to read good books.
Series magic. Is a big driver of book sales.
Every time you gain another sale of book one in a series there is a corresponding increase in the other books in the series.
She was very dynamic.
Publishing in 2 different sub-genres under 2 different names.
Look at the branding of the pen name books written by “Lucy Kevin”.
Self published in foreign languages (I heard this theme elsewhere – emerging markets)
Uses an interpreter, editor, translator. Changes cover. Audio.
“I put out the books readers want. “ “I know my readership.”
“It takes a great deal of time and effort to self pub.”
“Readers don’t know that I am self pub.”
“In 3 weeks earned my money back on Audio.” (

Clearly, that's how you can make it as an indie author. Ready? Go!

For more, go to Anthony Wessel's excellent post on DIGITAL BOOK TODAY: click here You'll find invaluable tips on how to become a top Twitterer, a Bingo Blogger, in short a Master Internet Marketeer to sell your books, particularly in the Holiday Season (the only Big Season for book selling, in case you didn't know it). And you'll find that emerging markets in the rest of the world are the "next great opportunity" for writers.

And if you've got not time left to write books, well...hire a ghostwriter!
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