When I started my blogging about my writing journey a year ago, I knew I’d be going down the self-publishing route. And in the spirit of total honesty, here’s a confession: I felt slightly embarrassed about it. I knew I didn’t want to wait forever for an agent or publisher to give me the green light; I knew I had a book that was ‘good enough’ – not a work of literary genius, but equal to many traditionally published books in the genre. I’d done enough research about self-publishing to feel confident that this was the right route for me to take, but I still felt the stigma of failing to secure representation and the backing of a publishing house.
Oh my, what a difference a year makes. Today I’m more acutely aware than ever before of the state of the publishing industry, and more than confident of the legitimate place within it for indie authors like myself. I’m aware of the many authors who have turned their backs on their publishers and chosen indie as the way to go. And I’m aware of the prejudices that still linger – not from readers, who are only interested in finding a good read, or even from publishers and agents, many of whom are embracing partnerships with indies, but in the main from trad-published authors who are desperate to maintain the ‘them and us’ status. (In this post from November I talk about a particular spot of mean-spiritedness from one such author – imagine my surprise when I was browsing through previous posts and found that she had actually commented on the blog two months before. Meaning she already knew my book was self-published before she asked the question and delivered her cutting remarks.)
A year ago, I wrote my first blog post as a hopeful writer. Today, I’m writing this blog post as an author. An indie author. I feel my position, and my right to call myself an author, is legitimate, earned, and worthwhile. My debut novel has made many readers happy, I’ve made a profit from publishing and taken receipt of some fairly decent royalty payments. I am unapologetic about my indie status, and I’m starting to think that this route to publication is preferable in lots of ways. This week I need to introduce myself to my fellow MA students and new tutor for the coming term. Only a few months ago I was worried about what they might think of me when they ‘found out’ I was self-published. I figured I might be vague about it, keep it under my hat. But you know what? I aint gonna! I’m going to be completely upfront about it, and proud to boot.
So, alongside my many other goals for 2013 (see below if you’re interested), my number one resolution is this: to continue to promote the professional image of indie or self-publishing authors, and to continue to help anyone who is following this path. Soon there will be a self-publishing guide on the blog, which I’ll add to weekly, packed with all the advice you need to take the plunge. I’m glad I jumped in when I did – the world of publishing is changing so rapidly it’s almost impossible to keep up – but my advice to anyone prevaricating about taking the indie leap of faith is Do it, and do it now!
2013: A few goals to keep me busy …
I’ve decided to set myself a few crazy goals this year, alongside some more achievable ones. The idea is that when you aim really high, even if you only get halfway it’s still a lot further than you might have reached with a lesser goal.
- Publish 3 novels by December 2013. One is already written and with beta readers, the second is half finished, the third is written and needs editing. Achievable, just.
- Set up a static author website to run alongside the blog.
- Develop my ‘author brand’ with a manageable marketing strategy.
- Treat being an indie author as a business, and write a business plan for the next 3 years.
- Achieve 1 million downloads by the end of 2013 (this includes free downloads). This is the crazy goal, but it’ll be fun trying!
So, off we go on another journey. Thank you for sharing it with me. I’d love to know your goals for 2013, and remember, if you are planning to go indie watch this space for loads of great advice.
January 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm
Good luck to you. I’ll follow to read your advice and see where you go with your aims and ambitions.
January 5, 2013 at 10:56 am
Thank you, hope you find the posts interesting and useful 🙂
January 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Another inspirational post. Thank you as always for sharing your thoughts, ideas and fears. I agree with your sentiments and have been pleased to be part of your journey. You will have a great year.
January 5, 2013 at 10:57 am
Hi Penny, you’ve been a big part of my journey, and one of many lovely fellow writers I’ve made friends with. Can’t wait to hear about your goals for 2013 too xxx
January 1, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Too right you are an author and a good one – Happy New Year
January 5, 2013 at 10:57 am
Thanks Graham 🙂
January 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm
One million downloads! That’s one heckuva goal! Well, I wish you the best of luck with it. I don’t see why it couldn’t be done — everything is achievable if you have the right mindset. And it sounds like you’re in all kinds of the right mindset 🙂
January 5, 2013 at 10:58 am
Thanks Michelle, one millions is kind of a crazy goal (I don’t think I’ll even get close to it), but I just needed to give myself something huge to focus on. You never know … 🙂 x
January 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm
Go, Jo! I totally agree with you about treating writing as a business – it gives you permission to make tough decisions for commercial reasons that would be more difficult if guided by personal sentiments and emotions. Your goals are all commendable – and setting up a separate author site for your rapidly expanding fan base is a great idea. They don’t need to see all the “behind the scenes” stuff that your fellow writers so enjoy. Good luck with all your goals – as I wrote at the end of “Sell Your Books”, “The only way to fail is to stop trying!” 🙂
Best wishes for a very happy and successful 2013!
January 5, 2013 at 11:00 am
Hi Debbie, I love writing business plans so that’s a task I’m looking forward to! It’s so great to dream 🙂 Good luck with your goals too, and I hope sales of Sell Your Books continue to go well – it really is a great resource for writers xxx
January 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm
Love that picture of CLW alongside FSOG. I know which book is better written, too!
I’m going the opposite route with goals: I’m forever beating myself up with what I don’t achieve, so this year, I’m aiming for gentle results. Realistically, I will probably do much more, but since the “day job” is an unknown quantity, I need to be realistic about what will fit in alongside that.
For your website, I can thoroughly recommend staying with WordPress, but self-hosting. That would meet your goal of a static site plus blog, I think?
January 5, 2013 at 11:01 am
That’s a good idea, Pauline. If your goals tend to work against you instead of for you it’s definitely time to go the other way. Thanks for the tip about WordPress too – I might email you if that’s OK and ask for a bit more advice about that. xx
January 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm
You’ve done so well Jo! You have every right to feel very proud of yourself! You’re an inspiration honey 🙂
Good luck with your 2013 goals. What am I saying? You don’t need luck, you’ll breeze through them 🙂
January 5, 2013 at 11:02 am
Thanks Vikki 🙂 I think I might need a little bit of luck, but what’s that old saying? Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration … x
January 2, 2013 at 3:46 am
I’m relatively new around here but wish you all the best with your writing goals. I strongly believe that we need to dream it, then believe it, to be able to achieve it.
You’ll get there (as will I) or die trying 🙂 Good luck with the journey!
January 5, 2013 at 11:03 am
Thanks Fi, and it’s great to have you here on the blog 🙂 Point me to your blog so I can read all about your goals too x
January 2, 2013 at 8:35 am
Good onya, Jo! Like you, I knew going into this I would self-publish. The road is still rocky, but at least I’m not begging for representation; people are actually reading me. You’ve done an amazing job this year. It’s something we can all emulate. Good luck in 2013!
January 5, 2013 at 11:04 am
Thanks Jim, and thanks for being such a great source of support for fellow writers, both here on the blog and on twitter. Yes, giving up the feeling that you are begging to be ‘let in’ to the world of books is a fantastically liberating feeling. Good luck to you too 🙂
January 2, 2013 at 9:32 am
l have faith in you Joanne and l know you can achieve all you want..Go girl go…….
January 5, 2013 at 11:04 am
Thanks Lynne 🙂 x
January 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm
Well done to you, I would far rather be an independent author with a readership than under the control of a publisher with nobody reading your work. Thanks to Amazon and similar outlets a heck of a lot of very good authors are now in the public domain. The pendulum has swung and long may it last
January 5, 2013 at 11:05 am
Hi Matt, thanks for you comment. I just hope Amazon keeps on supporting indies and the pendulum doesn’t swing back … you never know what’s aroudn the corner. Still, make hay and all that. Self published authors are certainly here to stay.
January 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm
Reading your posts is always inspiring Jo.
I love the enthusiasm which transpires from your writing.
The goals you set are challenging, but I have no doubt that you will achieve them. I won’t even say good luck to you, as luck has not much to do with it, but hard work, commitment and talent will bring the results 🙂
January 5, 2013 at 11:06 am
Thanks Martina, you’re such a lovely and supportive friend. I agree it’s all about hard work – just as well I enjoy it really 🙂 xx
January 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm
Good luck Jo, I wish you EVERY success in 2013 with your new goals. Well done you 🙂
January 5, 2013 at 11:06 am
Thanks Tara, good luck with your goals for 2013 too 🙂
January 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm
Well done, Jo and I have no doubt that you’ll be hugely successful in 2013! Like you, I started out as an indie author this year after waiting YEARS for an agent to actually DO something with my work, finally getting fed up and realising that I could take back control of my writing career. Best decision I made in 2012 🙂 I’m aiming for 4 books this year, albeit around 50K words each. With two kids under three and money to earn, it may be a bit ambitious but certainly pales in significance with your aim of 1 million downloads! Best of British luck to us all.
January 5, 2013 at 11:08 am
Thanks Celina, and it’s really interesting to hear more about your story to publication. Did you drop the agent? I think 4 books this year is a great goal – it’s really important to be multi-published at the moment. We working mums seem to find the time somehow, so I know you’ll be fine. Your kids will be so proud of you when they’re older xxx
January 3, 2013 at 3:12 am
Joanne, I really like your covers, so tell her to f**K off. (With a broad smile, of course! Gotta keep it civil. Ha ha!)
From one self-published author to another — I read all your posts and I quite enjoy receiving the info you so freely share. Keep up with the good work, hold onto that positive ’tude and congrats on being No5 on Amazon. Wish it was me. Eve Rabi
January 5, 2013 at 11:09 am
Hi Eve, your comment made me smile. Yes, it was great being at No5 in the summer – this was in the Women Writers and Fiction category, and I was there for more than a week. If not for 50 Shades I would have been number one … 🙂 Good luck with your goals too, Jo x
January 6, 2013 at 8:13 am
Great post! I love your goals for the coming year – they sound ambitious but achievable. I am planning to self-publish my first novel, a psychological thriller called FRY in March. My other goals for the year are to complete the first draft of my next novel and to start learning to drive. I have already started on my other goal – I wrote my first blog post last week for selfpublishbible.com. Good luck with your new year goals, and here’s to a successful 2013!