What does it take to be a successful indie author?
I’m not talking about things like a great cover, professional editing or a dedicated fanbase — I’m thinking more along the lines of the introspective, self-helppy (sure, that’s a word) qualities which set you up for success.
Looking at that self-helppy side of things, there’s plenty written about habits of successful people. You know, things such as being proactive, rarely complaining, focusing on solutions, creating success and never playing the blame game.
While those habits also sound like a pretty good recipe for self-publishing success, I want to tackle this subject in a different way — kind of like you would, as an author!
You know it and I know it: self-publishing requires that you commit yourself totally to your end goal. It’s certainly not as simple as writing a great book and offering it up for sale. If you get into the publishing game thinking the quality of your work will make you an overnight sensation, you’ll likely be disappointed.
That’s where the key personality traits of successful indies come in. While you probably already exhibit several of these, they’re all things we can work on better achieving!
Let’s look at ourselves like a character in our own self-publishing story. Which traits should we express to be most successful?
Googling awesome resources to go with this post got me thinking about how much the world has changed since we first used the search engine over 10 years ago. Back then, it was a marvel just to search for anything and get relevant results.
Now, not only do we want those relevant results, we don’t even want to click ‘enter’ to get them (and, thanks to Google Instant Search, we don’t have to)!
Work on being more patient in varying life situations. In your career as an indie, give new marketing ideas at least a month to work before writing them off and never rush a book to publication before it’s ready.
Just like the new Mars rover, boldly make your way through the world, seeking new knowledge and skills.
Let’s face it: unless you have a sizable fund dedicated to self-publishing, you have to learn much of what’s involved in the process on your own. But, without curiosity, you can’t even figure out what to learn — in cliched terms, ignorance isn’t bliss and you don’t know what you don’t know.
Self-publishing related or not, learn how to do one new thing every week. It can be something as simple as adding a new page to your website or as complicated as creating your own book cover!
Unless you’ve lived a ridiculously blessed (and lucky) life, you’ve certainly experienced setbacks and disappointments. Those are all too common when striving for any big goal, and self-publishing is no different.
The trick you must practice is taking the icky stuff that happens and reframing it in your mind. All of a sudden, that Big Six rejection turns into indie publishing possibility!
Negativity gets you nowhere but sitting on your couch, wallowing in your own problems. Foster a more positive spirit. Not only will your publishing prospects improve, but you’ll also have a happier life, in general!
Write 3 writing or marketing disappointments or setbacks. For each, figure out a silver lining or new opportunity!
After the 2012 Olympic torch was extinguished, I felt kind of out-sported. I admit that I didn’t initially pay much attention to the (just as exciting) event that comes next, the Paralympics.
This week in London, however, they’re showcasing some stories I can’t help but tune in to see. Read how those athletes have risen above unimaginable odds and you can’t help but ask yourself: what’s my excuse for quitting?
So many authors end up dropping out of their publishing journey not because of poor quality work, lack of funds or rejection, but because of the overwhelming nature of it all. Be clear about your goal and the steps needed to get there.
Post your goal where you can see it daily, and everytime you see it, remind yourself of why it’s so important.
If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you won’t have to actively work at being determined — it’ll come naturally!
I hope that all of our indie author friends have no issue with this one, but it’s not just having a passion for your writing or for being published that’ll help you along your self-publishing journey.
You need a passion for life, for creating success, for rising above challenges, for kicking naysayers in the face and for sharing your work with the world. If you have that kind of passion, I’m pretty darn sure you won’t need to work as hard at these other four traits — you’ll have them in the bag!
Share in the comments (1) the thing you love most about your book or WIP, (2) the best thing about your indie author experience so far and (3) what you’re looking forward to most in your writing career in the next year.
Which of the five traits comes most naturally to you? Are there others I didn’t mention that have been helpful along the way? How else can we practice each of the above? Let’s discuss in the comments!