Let’s take a quick trip back in time! Not too long ago, independent publishing was a laughable dream for the deluded. Most of us can remember the only way you’d get published: Find an agent. Apply to a publishing house. Get rejected. Keep applying. Get published.
Now it’s not quite as straightforward … or rather it is.
These days we are in the age of the maverick. Music, film, business, publishing, theatre, and art are all filled with people smashing apart the conventional routes to success. Authors and artists alike are now entrepreneurs in their own right.
So you can be forgiven for imagining this indie lifestyle as one of Gatsby grandeur and riches. Make no mistake though, it’s nowhere near such a fantasy.
The Truth About Indie Publishing
Forget perfect humans dressed extravagantly at an elaborate ball for the bourgeoisie. You’ll more likely see rough-faced groups of threes crowded around a coffee shop table. The writerly friends will be furiously typing at their laptops. Blueberry muffin crumbs will scatter their lips. Their hair will be wild from lack of care after waking up. Occasionally you will catch them rising up to ask for a synonym for “beautiful.”
Or maybe they will look just as sleep deprived, locked in conversation with the other writer, until they accept no writing will be done today.
It is not as glamorous as you might think.
Even these days which we weirdly treasure come only when we are free from our full time or part-time jobs. Yes, indie publishing or traditional publishing still means, for a while at least, a job of some sort is required to pay the bills.
None of this is written in the hopes of deterring you.
No, the lifestyle is not glamorous nor immediately fraught with riches. It often comes with an unhealthy dose of stress and self-doubt. But yes, it’s worth it.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared
The biggest thing you need to accept though is that, unless you are an exceptional marketer or incredibly lucky, you will not skyrocket to the top off the back of your first release. There’s a strong chance you won’t even breakeven on the money you spend making it. But as is the same for anything, the work you put in and the patience you hold will inevitably reward you.
You may have days when you totally give up, and you retire as a writer completely… for all of 24 hours. You may hate your work while stuck in a rut. But as soon as someone tells you they relate to your work, that it saved their life, that you can open your own paperback and smile, you will remember there is nothing more you want to do.
You spend all your time on this book and you get the chance to make it a success. If you get the marketing right, if you have the audience right, if you have a good book, you will succeed.
So many people underestimate this, but the truth is if you have the drive or the belief for even a second, then you have the key.
The Secret to Success is That There’s No Secret
There is no secret route, no special sauce, there is just your talent – WHICH YOU DO HAVE – and the willingness to not give up until you make it to where you want to be.
If nothing else, the people you will meet while on this noble pursuit will lighten your days, and keep you on track. Traditional houses are not obsolete. Some people could be better off with them, it depends on how much work you want to do.
So do the research, think about what you want, and if you chose indie publishing then don’t be afraid of the unglamorous side. Thrive off of it, for it is the most bittersweet addiction. It is something you can be proud of for the rest of your life.
Featured Image Credit: TONL