Indie Authoring is incredibly rewarding. It’s also incredibly hard. I’ve written about twenty of these articles now, hoping to help other authors realise their dreams (and avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made), but the one cold, hard, truth I can give you is: quality Indie Books are hard to produce.
A lot people (especially readers) seem to have the idea that “Indie” = “easier”. Traditional publishing can be hard to crack into. I am by no means an expert on Trad publishing, but in my experience it’s hard to find an agent, a publisher, etc. If you looked at the sheer volume of books being submitted per year versus the number of books actually printed, chances are you’re going to be waiting a long time for a break (if you ever get one).
Another reason people seem to be under the impression that “Indie” = “easy”, is because anyone can upload a manuscript and a cover image to a platform such as KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) or Smashwords and voila! Published Indie Book. Without the “gatekeepers” of Traditional publishing (agents, editors, and publishing houses) there is a potential for books perceived to be of lesser quality. It’s another issue I’ve written about at length, and there are some Indie books out there that desperately needed a little more love and work before they were released into the world. That is not to say that all Indie Books are lesser quality than Traditionally published books, and there are a lot of authors like myself fighting to remove the stigma that was prevalent towards Indie books.
I’ve written in several of these articles about the pros and cons of the process of Indie Publishing such as having to do everything yourself or pay qualified individuals to outsource some of your tasks. I’ve written about these from a professional point of view (how hard it is when you have little to no income to produce your books, finding quality outside sources within a budget etc) and I’ve even mentioned the emotional toll and stress related to finding time to get all the work done (or how stressful it is when things go wrong, or get on top of you, trying to fit things in around paid gigs). What I haven’t mentioned is another side of how hard Indie Authoring is: the toll it takes on relationships.
There are only so many hours in a day and most authors (Indie or otherwise) have to consistently schedule in time to write if they want to make their dreams come true. That may mean turning down social invitations, taking “holidays” from your regular job to stay home and write, or otherwise “missing out” on things. This takes a toll not only on the writer but on the writer’s friends and family. Some writer’s are surrounded with people who emotionally support them, cheer them on, and are their biggest advocates. Not everyone is so lucky, and not everyone in your life will understand how important writing is to you.
It’s incredibly hard emotionally when you don’t get the support you need. Even well meaning friends or family can make unintentionally cutting remarks when they think they’re being helpful. I know so many people who’ve had comments made to them from relatives asking when they’re going to give up their unrealistic dreams. It can be hard to believe in yourself when it seems no one else does either.
There’s no easy/right way to deal with this kind of issue either. Every person is different so every situation is different. The best advice I can give you is to establish whether or not YOU think your dream is worth it. Are you willing to put in the hours? Are you willing to invest financially in yourself and your author business until you are successful? Success doesn’t happen over night. Success takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. It’s hard work and it can take a long time to pay off.
So if you’re looking to make your publishing journey they “easy” way through Indie Publishing, think again. If you do the “easy”, bare minimum, it’s unlikely you’ll see the success you want.