Written by Chantelle Atkins February 10th, 2015

5 Reasons To Celebrate Being An Indie Author

Like a lot of indie authors out there, my publishing journey began with submissions and rejections. Not so long ago, this constant series of rebuttals would have been the end of the road for many books, but these days, thanks to self-publishing, it needn’t be.

Becoming an indie author can provide hope to writers who have been turned down elsewhere. But this can also be a double edged sword.

The indie writer has a tough road ahead of them in terms of marketing and promotion, but they may also feel second best. Rejected. Not good enough. How do you get past this and learn to celebrate your indie status without feeling like you have missed out on the big prize?

(For the sake of this article, the definition of an indie author is a writer that self publishes their work. It does not include authors who work with small independent presses.)

Here are five reasons to feel good about the direction your journey has taken.

1) Being independent and without an agent means you can write whatever you want to write. There is no one to pigeon hole you or expect your next book to be a similar genre to the last.
Not knowing the genre or the market of your book can be problematic, don’t get me wrong. It certainly helps in terms of finding your audience if you can categorize your book as a ‘Romance ‘ or a ‘YA Fantasy’ for example. You might have to work harder to find your readers, but if your book is good enough, this will happen in time.
Genres can be so constraining. Agents typically want to know a book is ‘like something else’ so that they can market it accordingly. This is great if you strongly identify yourself as a crime writer, or a fantasy writer, but this is not how it works for everyone. Being independent gives you the opportunity to cross genres. If your next book is a crime thriller, so be it.
2) After a short lived experience with a traditional publisher that left me waiting over a year for my book to be released, I now appreciate the control an independent author has. There is no need to hang around. If your book is finished and you have started the promotional drive that will hopefully get you noticed, then you can get going.
You are the one in charge of when and how your book is released. This can be incredibly fun. You can be as creative as you like with your marketing strategies, using whichever social media platforms work for you. The options are endless. You are your own boss and the master of your own destiny.
Yes, this can be lonely and scary at times. But embrace it. Let go of fear and throw yourself into marketing and selling your book. Be inventive and imaginative at all times. If something does not work, try something else, and have fun trying!
3) Being an indie author is a great way to learn about publishing and yourself. It is a journey full of forks in the road, dead ends, peaks and troughs. You will be high as a kite one minute, and wondering what on earth you are doing the next. But in some ways that is the beauty of it. It is never boring.
You are constantly learning. It is all in your hands. Yes, you will make mistakes. You will hit brick walls and have to back up and try again.  You will have to learn how to write a great synopsis, distinguish which promotional sites are worth paying for, find beta readers and decide on a cover design. You may sometimes feel like you are living in a whirlwind.
Sometimes it would be nice to have an agent, or a big publishing company behind you. A reassuring voice at the end of the telephone. But diving into the unknown can be invigorating! Take the bull by the horns, knowing that this is your journey you are on and it is not need to be dictated by anyone else.
4) Being an indie author means that you can proceed at your own pace. At the beginning of your indie adventure, you may be feeling a little bit disheartened. Your confidence may have taken a battering from all the rejections. Okay, so you are doing it your way and you have a lot to learn. This is now a time to refuel your energies and rebuild your confidence.
Being independent allows you the time and space to do this. You now have the chance to take a deep breath, and do things in your own time, in your own way. There is no hurry, no schedule, no pressure. At least not yet. At this early stage I personally felt very unsure of my writing abilities and needed a break from throwing myself to the wolves.
Going indie meant I could learn at my own pace, slowly reaching out to social media, becoming more familiar with it’s rules, posting my work on my blog, connecting with other writers and so on. It was a slow and calm process, and personally I think I have grown wiser and stronger in this time. I have much more confidence in my writing. As a writer, I know who I am.
5) Finally, as an independent author, above all else you have hope. Confidence starts to build once your book starts selling and the reviews start coming in. Now you can rest assured that you have the talent.
You weren’t necessarily what the traditional publishers wanted, but that does not mean you are inferior. Maybe you were too quirky, too different, too original. So you have had to carve out your own path instead, grow in confidence and exalt in the artistic freedom you have as an indie.
Alongside all of this, you must remember that indie authors do make it big sometimes. They do succeed. It can happen. All you have to do is recognize and enjoy the freedoms your position allows you, and keep writing better and better books.
Ultimately Becoming an independent author may or may not be your first choice in terms of publishing. Either way, it is time to embrace all the freedoms and opportunities it has to offer, and see your new direction in a more positive light.
Success is not guaranteed in any area of life, but the refreshing thing about independent publishing is that although the hard work is all yours, so are the results.
Chantelle Atkins is the author of four novels including The Mess Of Me and recently released This Is Nowhere. She lives in Dorset, England with her husband and four children. Atkins work is often described as gritty and character driven, and she writes within both the adult and young adult genres. You can connect with her on Facebook


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