Indie Success –10 things that really matter

Hans Christian Andersen by Anne Grahame Johnstone

Hans Christian Andersen by Anne Grahame Johnstone

There are a lot of articles and reports out there giving various and often conflicting figures about the Indie book market. All seem to agree, however, that the percentage of Indie writers and publishers is huge and growing. You only have to read a few Indie books to realise there is some seriously good stuff out there and marvel at the ingenuity and diversity of the imaginations from which they were born.

Yet there is still a stigma attached to independently published work. There are those, it is true, who see it only as a way to make a fast buck and churn out little more than rubbish. These are not writers in my opinion and it is not of their books I speak, they are little more than opportunists; marketeers who, seeing a potentially lucrative product churn out a cheap imitation that will not last. No, I speak of those writers who work hard to produce the best they can.

It is also true that there has historically been a percentage of poorly produced books, both in physical terms and with regard to presentation and content, but over recent years it has become increasingly difficult to tell a well-produced self-pub from a traditionally published tome. And you might want to google ‘famous authors who self published’…

There is even still a certain snobbery about books. I overheard a woman in a bookshop reject a novel she had just been enthusing over as she browsed, purely because she realised it was a self-published book. Many writers feel that their work somehow lacks a seal of approval if they fail to get a publisher to offer them a book deal. Others feel a certain satisfaction that by self-publishing they have circumvented a system that often feels like a closed shop. Some feel that they are never going to be able to break through the barrier and actually sell their books once published. There are so many new books being published every day!

Of course, we would all like to be successful… we would like our work to be read. We wouldn’t mind at all if they brought in an income. In fact, we’d quite like it! And it is easy to despair when sales are low, especially when you are seeing others reach people and apparently enjoying success, climbing the rankings and getting enough reviews to decorate a Christmas tree. Of course, they may simply be good at promotion… or at creating an illusion! Either way, I have seen a fair few writers run the gamut of negative emotions.

But there is one thing that all self-published and independent writers should feel when they have poured heart and soul into a book… and that is pride.

1. You have created something unique.
It doesn’t matter if your book doesn’t make the bestsellers list. In fact it doesn’t matter whether it sells at all. You may be a magnificent writer… and lousy at promotion! Regardless of sales, you have accomplished something special.

2. You actually did it.
You have picked up a pen, real or metaphorical and allowed the creative process to stream through your days… and often your nights too. You have had the discipline to sit and write. To craft a fictional tale, or share a personal history. You have pored over research for both fact and fantasy. And you have written a book. Not started it, or talked about ‘one day’… you have done it.

3. You learned.
You have then gone back to edit and proof your work to the best of your ability. If you have been writing a while, your earlier efforts will show how the learning curve climbed… you will not have sat on your laurels! Or perhaps you have paid for professional services… paid with your own hard-earned cash in order to make sure the end product was as good as you could get it. Either way, every step teaches you something new.

4. You believe in your work.
Which is why you have burned the midnight oil polishing it. Why you have thrown yourself into trying to promote the book. Why you learned how to use the technology to get it published. Why you hit that publish button in the first place.

5. You are an artist.
If art can be defined as a created work that conveys a message from one heart or mind to another, then it does not matter what genre you write… you have created something that will come to life on the page. And that is without the cover… It doesn’t matter how you did it…or even what anyone else thinks of it… you had a vision and brought it into being.

6. You are an entertainer.
Not all stories will appeal to all people. There are many styles, many genres and as many tastes in books and writing styles. One thing is certain though… if the right person reads it at the right time, they will be entertained. And look at the fun you had writing it…!

7. You are a teacher.
You may share your knowledge of ‘how to’ with other writers… deliberately or not. Sometimes we learn simply by reading… a style, a word, a phrase may help us improve what we ourselves write. But more than that, the world of books contain within their pages all of human experience and endeavour, all emotion, all transmittable wisdom and knowledge. Even the simplest story can echo the human journey, shedding light on the way we move through the world… and we can never know how our words may touch or reach another’s heart.

8. You are an inspiration.
“Well, if he/she did it… maybe I can too!” Your example may be the catalyst for someone else to start, persevere, or finish… and who knows what may be born from that?

9. You have added to the pages of history.
While the print on demand and ebook phenomena do permit anyone to publish anything, they also allow each of us to have a voice and tell a story. Not all storytellers are good with grammar, but every story is worth the telling. With the increasing lack of paper records, letters and journals these tales are being preserved to be voices from the past one day… a social record and a chronicle of human emotion,as much as works of art.

10. You have realised a dream.
Most of us have dreams. Many will never make them happen.

You did.

No one writes a book who has not dreamed it first. You have made your dream a reality.

If you are proud of your book… judge your success not by how many copies you have sold, judge it instead by what you have achieved. Every Indie author who has pressed that publish button is a success.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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173 Responses to Indie Success –10 things that really matter

  1. Reblogged this on newauthoronline and commented:
    “If you are proud of your book… judge your success not by how many copies you have sold, judge it instead by what you have achieved. Every Indie author who
    has pressed that publish button is a success”. Sue is absolutely correct. A great post. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this excellent post Sue. You are right, whatever an author’s book sales they have, by creating something achieved success. Kevin

    Like

  3. oshrivastava says:

    Beautiful world of dreams and imagination, we are often here,, much happiness

    Liked by 1 person

  4. L. M. Webb says:

    Great article. I agree with all ten points. Thanks for writing.

    Like

  5. L. M. Webb says:

    Reblogged this on L. M. Webb | Author Blog and commented:
    This is my first reblog, a great article that I recommend to all self-published writers.

    Like

  6. jenanita01 says:

    Love the picture of Hans Christian Anderson, Sue. That man’s mind must have been something else, and I for one, love every single one of his stories.
    I wonder if he was as proud of his achievements as he should have been? I hope so, for what he wrote has become immortal.

    Like

  7. Ali Isaac says:

    Love that painting, Sue! I’ve never seen it before, but I could look at it for hours! Thank you for such an uplifting post… I must admit that I dont sell many books, and sometimes I wonder why I bother at all. But writing is not something I can control or deny, so onward I go, because now I’ve started, there’s no way I’m stopping!

    Like

  8. Mary Smith says:

    I agree, pushing the publish button is a great achievement. I can’t remember the figures I read a while ago about how many people starting to write a book never actually finish it it – so reaching the end is quite a success even before publishing it. On the other hand I – like most writers, I’m sure – also want people to read my words.In the same way, musicians want their songs and music to be heard; artists want people to see their paintings. It’s all part of reaching out and sharing with others. It may not need to hit the bestseller list or make a mint of money (any money!) but it does need to find readers or it’s a bit like cooking a delicious three-course meal and having to eat it yourself.

    Like

  9. wonderful post.. gotta reblog, m’Lady , Sue 🙂

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on Seumas Gallacher and commented:
    …from my pal, wonderful post.. gotta reblog, m’Lady , Sue Vincent 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such a great piece you have here, Sue. Love the positivity. I’ve always written for myself. If others read, it’s such a bonus, but not the true payoff. Thanks ❤️ Van

    Like

  12. Reblogged this on Poetry by Pamela and commented:
    Wise words

    Like

  13. sknicholls says:

    This is just absolutely exactly how I feel and how I want others to feel. The effort, heart and soul we put into producing our stories is something to be proud of, as well as to humble ourselves over. WE have made the mark. 🙂 So eloquently put. Thanks Sue.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. sknicholls says:

    Reblogged this on S.K. Nicholls and commented:
    The inspiration in Sue’s words is heartfelt and I want to share them with you. All indies are achievers.

    Like

  15. Carrie Rubin says:

    Came this way via SKNichols. Great post. It’s too bad there is still a stigma attached to independent publishers. I’ve read Indies I preferred to traditionally published books and vice versa. Each book deserves to be measured on its own merit. It’s too bad when pre-conceived notions taint it before the first page is even opened.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This came at the right time, thanks! I was getting really bogged down at about 2/3 the way through my one and only book, so far. I now know that to finish it is my choice and if no one ever reads or likes it, I have accomplished something.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wonderful, celebratory post, Sue. Love it. Every writer should stick some gold stars on this list and pin it up on the refrigerator. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. olganm says:

    Beautiful, Sue. Thanks

    Like

  19. Great choice for a first reblog. @jeancogdell at Jean’s Writing

    Like

  20. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    If you are an author who has chosen the self-published route you need to be proud… read what Sue Vincent has to say and keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. marjma2014 says:

    Reblogged this on kyrosmagica and commented:
    Wonderful post about getting your book out there via self publishing from Sue Vincent, had to reblog.

    Like

  22. Sue, thank you so much for this superb piece of writing. I have been worried about writing my book from the start, but now I see all the things I was worried about are not that big a deal after all. Now I know that I can continue writing and follow my dream of becoming a published author. I needed to hear it put to me just like you did. I am going to reblog this because everyone needs to read this. Thank you again. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Reblogged this on Silver Threading and commented:
    Have you had doubts about writing your book and self-publishing? Read this and you will be able to follow your dream!

    Like

  24. Marcia says:

    Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:
    A wonderful reminder for those of us who are self-published, of why we do what we do, and why we should be proud of it!

    Like

  25. K'lee L. says:

    Reblogged this on Obzervashunal and commented:
    Massive thanks goes out to the Daily Echo’s Sue Vincent for this powerful piece and beautiful reminder. As I occasionally find myself in a place of ‘writer’s quandary’, of feeling great about a finished book, but still seeking the right ‘channels’ to take it to that next step, this is the kind of posting I needed most to read. I’m even daring to believe it’s why ‘Indie Success- 10 Things That Matter’ leaped off the screen and captured my attention! Thank you Sue… more than you can ever know…
    – K’lee L. (Obzervashunal)

    Like

  26. K'lee L. says:

    Hello Sue! First I just had to reblog this over at my spot, Obzervashunal. I know I’m not the only one needing your wise words and inspiration. This really helps me more than you know or I can say. Thank you.

    Like

  27. Eliza Waters says:

    Very uplifting post, Sue. Thanks to technology, so many more voices are being heard. It is a great thing!

    Like

  28. Thank you for this inspiring post, Sue. Just what I needed today. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

  29. JackieP says:

    I love this. I am almost ready to publish my first book! I’m so excited and scared at the same time. This post put it in perspective for me. Thank you 🙂

    Like

  30. Widdershins says:

    Found you via Kyrosmagica reblogging this post.
    Excellent list. 🙂 … when we do anything that flows true to who we are, something magical does happen.

    Like

  31. Kev says:

    Whoo hoo! At ’em, Sue! 😀
    Love the positives in this post!

    Like

  32. TanGental says:

    Very well put, Sue.

    Like

  33. I like to remind myself that most people aren’t world famous for doing art, caring for the sick or being a good listener. I think of all the “famous” writers and artists of even 50 years ago that no one remembers. The joy is in the now of doing it and sharing it.

    Like

  34. Such an inspiring read! Thank you for sharing it!

    Like

  35. noelleg44 says:

    This is so supportive and encouraging to all us indie writers! Thank you, Sue. And I love that picture!

    Like

  36. This piece strikes right at the heart of the issue, Sue. It explains why the success begins with the writing. The enjoyment of creativity needs to be as much, even more, in the writing as in the selling. 🙂

    Like

  37. D.G.Kaye says:

    Fab post Sue! And I love the painting. 🙂

    Like

  38. That is a genuinely good post. Love the painting too 🙂

    Like

  39. claire says:

    What an inspiring post!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. NL Quatrano says:

    Reblogged this on Words Count and commented:
    This week is all about inspiration, not instruction. My wish for all is that you’ll embrace your unique creativity, stay open to learning all you can to be the best you can be, and never give up on that dream of seeing your work, polished and shining, published. Keep reading and writing! Nancy Q.

    Like

  41. Reblogged this on Rose English UK and commented:
    #Indie #Authors this #blog by Sue Vincent will lift your spirits check it out 🙂

    Like

  42. Hi Sue. Thanks for this wonderful blog. I’ve shared and reblogged, because I want it to go out into the world, to lift the spirits of all the Indie Authors who may like me be feeling a little low & disheartened. You have helped lift my spirits, and inspired me to return to my projects.

    Thank You

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you, Rose, I’m glad. I know a lot of writers who feel discouraged now and then. Ithink that is part of the process and the price for doing something we love. But there is so much to take pride in. 🙂

      Like

  43. Reblogged this on TheWordSmithe and commented:
    This is a great inspirational piece. Stand up for what you write. Be proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Sue, I love your philosophy. If you have the time and energy to do a lot of self marketing, indy-published books are often way more profitable that the “approval stamped” variety. Everyone is not going to like what you write, whatever it is, but chances are a lot of people will. You have to market to them, and not waste your time trying to interest everybody.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I agree, but there are many who do not have that time, knowledge or even the technological expertise necessary to promote their books effectively. There also those who throw every ounce of energy at marketing both themselves and their work, but still do not seem to make a dent in the market. I know a lot of talented writers who have become despondent and lost faith in themselves this way. Sales figures should not be the only thing allowed to define success, as far as I’m concerned…there are other reasons to write and to be proud.

      Like

  45. Ethel Lewis says:

    Reblogged this on Ethel Lewis and commented:
    Had to reblog from Sue Vincent.
    10 Things that really matter.

    Like

  46. Reblogged this on Plaisted Publishing House and commented:
    From the Daily Echo via a link I found in my Email. ENJOY

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Oh yeah, pushing the ‘Publish’ button! That’s it exactly!

    Like

  48. Jane Risdon says:

    I have not had to push the publish button yet. I am waiting patiently for my publisher to push their button…sometime in the Autumn I gather. Then I will be thrilled; a whole book not just anthologies for a change. It must be so exciting to be in control and get your work out there fast. I wish you all the very best. 🙂

    Like

  49. Thanks so much for the follow, Sue. 🙂

    Like

  50. Reblogged this on Book Cover Design & Illustration by Michelle Rene and commented:
    A wonderful article that will inspire those who self publish.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Thanks for sharing this post Sue. Very encouraging.

    Like

  52. This article almost brought me to tears. Thank you so much for writing this. It’s true; sometimes it seems like a lot of work with very little payoff. But as you pointed out. there are other non-financial benefits to being an indie. Another one for me is all the wonderful people I have met along the way.

    Like

  53. wlloydjr says:

    Reblogged this on William Lloyd (Author) and commented:

    Fantastic article to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  54. K Meador says:

    Reblogged this on http://inthemidst-km.blogspot.com/ on August 15th 2015 – giving credit to you of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Reblogged this on The Writing Chimp and commented:
    Realising a dream 🙂

    Like

  56. Reblogged this on The 960 Writers and commented:
    Of being proud of what you accomplished. This so motivating, thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Pingback: The 10 most important things to indie success | Self-Publishing Buzz

  58. Mary Blowers says:

    Reblogged this on Mary Blowers, Author and commented:
    Great encouragement for Indie authors, by Sue Vincent.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. reocochran says:

    This is a great post I missed, Sue. You wrote an excellent essay in support of the individual arts. Many people have crafted and created beauty. I appreciate your respect for those who are writers, artists and teachers. I value your writing and all you present in your posts. I am sporadic in my reading and writing. Signs of a busy life and many work hours, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. This is an uplifting blog posting for anyone who seek information on the current writing scene of indie authors. 🙂

    Like

  61. Reblogged this on An Aspiring Writer and commented:
    Great indie authors essay. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Wow…great post Sue! Pressing to re-blog…

    Like

  63. Pingback: Sue Vincent: Indie Success –10 things that really matter | The Linden Chronicles: The Wolf's Moon by Patrick Jones

  64. Jet Eliot says:

    Thanks so much, Sue, for this inspiration and encouragement; it is much appreciated. (I came to this via Patrick Jones.) Best of luck to you!

    Like

  65. StephJ says:

    Very cool post! I saw the link on the Halloween Blog party and am so glad I found your blog. Happy Halloween!

    Like

  66. Alka Girdhar says:

    As always, very useful and encouraging information. I hope to be there soon. My heart is pining for it.

    Like

  67. OneDizzyBee says:

    I tottered over from the Chicago Files Blog Party and am so glad I did. This post resonated with me on so many levels that I actually got a bit choked up! Silly old me. Sometimes I think we all need a reminder that success isn’t always measured by how much others value what you’ve done, but by how YOU value what you’ve done.

    Like

  68. Susan says:

    Very nice. These are encouraging things to keep in mind.

    Like

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