Sometimes people ask, “How did you decide to become an Indie author?” Recently, I wrote this article for inclusion in a book.
A few years ago a college football game changed my life. During a timeout, the TV camera zoomed in close on the back jersey of one of the players until his last name filled the screen: Kindle. The camera stayed there long enough to strike a chord in me even though I didn’t particularly care about the game or either of the teams. Kindle reminded me of my dream of being a writer and no longer working as a house-painting contractor. Two full-length novels had been written during my free time and then existed solely on the hard drive of my computer while I tried to secure an agent or publisher, which seemed an impossible task. For months I had weighed the options to go for a traditional contract or bite the bullet and get into self-publishing. I knew ebooks were here to stay and Amazon was the place for them. That unlikely moment during a college football game aided my decision. It said to me that Kindle was important. Kindle could be my way out of painting and into writing full time.
Once the decision was made, I began researching how to make and sell ebooks. I first uploaded to Amazon and Smashwords, then created my own websites and sold from there as well. I became active in social media, online forums and submitted articles in cyberspace to promote my novels. I even published paperbacks. The amazing thing was that all of it was done with free methods, literally at no cost to me, and I was finally selling books. When I shared this information with other writers, their curiosity peaked as to how they could do it too.
The proverbial light over my head lit up. I realized a how-to guide would be my next book: a thorough explanation of everything needed to effectively create, market and sell ebooks and paperbacks without spending a small fortune in the process. To my amazement, I wrote the book in just over a month, and as soon as it was released it began selling like crazy. To date, that title, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free, has sold over 10,000 copies in digital and print formats and continues to sell.
How has life changed now that I have five titles selling? I no longer paint houses for a living, thankfully. Every month direct deposits are made into my bank account by Amazon, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Udemy, Google, and Smashwords (quarterly). Readers also buy directly from my own sites and fill my PayPal account with deposits. Even though the money isn’t currently as much as I’d like it to be, it is enough to cover my family’s needs and allow me to be a full time writer. Plus I have the hope that my novels will take off someday soon, and then the possibilities are unlimited. More than that, the contacts I’ve made with other writers, readers and people in general have taken off to the level that all sorts of opportunities are happening including offers for speaking engagements, foreign rights, consulting jobs (which I’ve done), and more.
For new writers getting started, focus on doing the little things one step at a time knowing most independent authors will take ten thousand steps before their dreams are realized. If you expect tremendous results in little time, frustration is likely to be the outcome. First and foremost, do everything in your power to present the very best book you can with a great cover, polished interior, excellent editing and such. Then upload and sell from Amazon and other major retailers. Find your favorite elements of social media and stick with those few; whether it’s Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkenIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Goodreads, blogging or whatever—you’ll save energy and sanity by just doing a few things well than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades in social media. Remember it takes time, so be patient yet persistent. And of course, read my guide. It will help bunches.