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What’s the Biggest Threat to Indie Authors?

photo by Mrs. Gemstone

If your indie author career had a color-coded threat level chart, do you know what (or who?) would be at the very top tier in flaming red with blinking neon lights?


Yeah, that’s right.

The biggest threat to your indie author career is YOU, the indie author.


Because you’re human.

You were built with flaws and weaknesses. Yes, it’s what makes you who you are and it’s why your friends and family love you. But it’s also a huge danger to your success in self-publishing.

That’s why you have to take care of yourself if you plan to make a career out of self-publishing.

The best advice I’ve ever received…

Toni and I have a few mentors who really inspire us, one of whom is this unbelievable marketing genius named Clay Collins. A few weeks ago, he shared this beautiful, insightful post about the perils of entrepreneurship on Facebook:

The best thing I’ve done for my business is take care of myself. All your personal issues, hang-ups, fears, flaws, etc. WILL show up in your business and manifest in your company culture. Entrepreneurship has a way of finding your weaknesses (even more so than relationships), so my advice is to constantly work on getting your [censored!] together. Work out, meditate, go to therapy, read self-help books, journal . . . whatever you need to do become as psychologically and physically healthy as you can be is what you need to be doing.

If you’re not already happy, your business isn’t going to make you happier. If you have weaknesses, your business will find them and exploit them. Entrepreneurship can be one of the greatest impetuses for self-growth, and you can either embrace the challenge or run away from it. But the challenge itself is not going to go away.

This is some of the best, most honest advice I’ve ever heard about going into business for yourself. It really made me re-evaluate some things in my life and work harder to get my affairs in order (i.e. joining a gym, getting more organized, adjusting my priorities and leaving my day job).

What do y’all think?

  • How does it apply to being an indie author?
  • What can you do to help prepare yourself for running your indie career?
  • Is there anything in your life you feel like you need to change to give yourself a better shot at success?
  • What weaknesses do you need to work on?
  • What would you add if you were advising someone else interested in becoming an indie author?
  • Tracy_R_Atkins

    I think the biggest hurdle in the beginning is with accepting responsibility. I don’t mean that as in taking the blame for something you have done. I am talking about realizing that you will have commitments that will require action. Having a business is like having a child. Every day you have to get up and make sure you kid is dressed and ready for school. With business, every day you have to make sure the daily tasks before you are completed on time and within budget.

    It’s that responsible approach that tends to bite people initially. When you have a task that requires action, you must act. When people communicate with you, be prompt. When you make a commitment, fulfill it to the fullest. You are responsible for your part of the equation. Responsibility also means understanding that inaction carries consequences as well.

    • Hey Tracy! I could not agree with you more!! Accepting responsibility is such an important first step — you are in charge of your career, the good, the bad and the ugly of it. I like your analogy with the child, too. It is definitely a big commitment, requires a lot of work, but the payoff can be exponential. You just have to take action and be prepared to manage the consequences on the other side.

  • Nigel Debussy

    Wise words in the article and it Tracy’s response and I couldn’t agree more with all of those observations. So adding my two-penneth worth from a perspective of holding down a 50 hour a week salaried job, family, kids etc and attempting to get an indie author book completed and published (just about there with the first onereally). Organisation is my mantra at the moment. Organised methods of writing, accounting and book keeping, marketing and achieving that balance mentioned in the blog here – so yes I did join a gym and I will be there in 1 hour and 28 minutes time ! (now that’s organised!). But seriously I do work hard at making sure that my first part of any day (I am an early riser) is spent organising as best I can the rest of the day. And don’t forget to enjoy it.

    • Right on Nigel! Organization is SO important. Time is our currency and we each get 24 hours to spend as we choose. If you’re balancing a full-time job, family, sleep, etc. you cannot afford to waste a minute, which is why that organization is key. And of course enjoying what you do is super important as well :-) Thanks for sharing Nigel!

  • That quote from Clay Collins is killer. I have learned more about myself and especially about my weaknesses as a person in the last four months (since I took self-employment full time) than I did in the last four years–and I have always been pretty committed to self-growth. It’s incredible how entrepreneurship really lays it all out there for the world to see. I wouldn’t have it any other way.