If someone had of told me two years ago that I’d be able to financially support myself by writing novels, I’m not sure I would have believed them. In fact, I may have laughed. And yet… Here I am. A full-time indie author.
I’d be lying if I said it’s not the dream. It absolutely is. I can’t imagine doing anything other than what I do now. I love it. However, that’s not to say it’s without its challenges.
Being a full-time indie author comes with an array of obstacles, and I want to share some of those with you and Chasm of Books today…
1. You’re responsible for everything
When it comes to being an indie author, you’re responsible for all aspects of writing and publishing. Everything. I’m talking about:
- Working with beta readers
- Hiring an editor, a cover designer, a proofreader, a typesetter, an ebook formatter…
- Sourcing a printer and distributor
- Calculating shipping and logistics
- Managing a budget
- Organising launches
- Creating and executing a marketing campaign…
The list goes on. For me, I do enjoy the various different aspects of book production and marketing, however, some days… It can be overwhelming.
As you can probably gather, at any one time there are a number of different balls being juggled. It’s easy to get stressed if your livelihood is relying on the success of your book projects.
I recently wrote a post called Learn 5 Secret Habits of a Productive Indie Author, which may be helpful if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
2. The stigma of indie publishing
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with indie publishing. A lot of people think that this path is a last resort for an author, or that the quality of the book won’t be as good.
Like in any industry, there are always going to be bad examples. You could say the same of traditional publishing (plenty of rubbish in that space too!). However, fighting this stigma is just one of the challenges an indie author faces when it comes to putting their books out in the world.
3. Staying motivated
When you work for yourself, you and only you are in charge of getting the work done. Some days it can be hard to get yourself out of bed and at your desk when there are no immediate consequences.
Writing books can also feel like a very solitary job. Essentially you have to write a whole draft before you show it to anyone, and that period is one I always find challenging. There’s hardly any collaboration in those early stages, and you have to make sure that you remain disciplined.
4. Balancing your writing time with running a business
I speak fairly often about how much of a writer’s job isn’t actually writing. It’s something that I’ve struggled with as I’ve gone full-time. People assume that if you’re a full-time author, you’re spending all day, every day, at your computer working on your manuscript.
That’s far from the truth.
There’s book production and outreach marketing to manage, emails to answer and social media to stay on top of. While I enjoy these other aspects, sometimes it can be frustrating that I don’t have more time to simply write. Finding the balance between producing your books and selling them can be difficult.
If you’re anything like me, the idea of getting in front of people and telling them all about your book probably isn’t your favourite thing to do.
Alas, it’s all part and parcel of being an author. If you want people to read your book, self-promotion is part of the job.
In recent months I’ve found more of a groove to this, but particularly at the beginning I found it hard to be comfortable with it. It can feel like you’re bragging, or annoying people, or that people simply don’t care about what you’re doing.
The most reassuring thing I did was look to my favourite authors… How were they handling their promotion? What did I like about their social media accounts? What could work for me?
There’s no shortage of challenges when it comes to being an author, particularly an indie author. However, if you’re committed and passionate, the rewards far outweigh any obstacles you’ll face.
About the Author
Helen Scheuerer is a novelist from Sydney, Australia, and the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit. She has university degrees in both creative writing and publishing. Her #1 bestselling YA fantasy novel, Heart of Mist is available now. She is a full-time author living by the beach.
Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.
But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.
The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.
Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.
The cruelty of the capital and the power-hungry King Arden have scattered Bleak and her companions across the continents.
On the run in a foreign land, Bleak finds herself tied to some unexpected strangers. When the answers she yearns for are finally within reach, she must face the hard truths of her past, and take her fate into her own hands before it’s too late.
Meanwhile, secrets and magic unravel as a dark power corrupts the realm. Bleak’s friends are forced to decide where their loyalties lie, and who, if anyone, they can trust.
But one thing is certain: war is coming, and they must all be ready when it does.
Intriguing and action-packed, Reign of Mist is the second instalment in Helen Scheuerer’s epic YA fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles.