Indie author – afraid to change?

It’s daft I know.  There I am, an indie author, with books only selling the odd copy every now and then – yet for some reason I’m afraid to change things.  Perhaps part of it, as I talked about in my last blog, is the vain hope that an agent and publisher is going to come a long and wave their magic wands.  Well, that’s not going to happen and even if it does I’m still the one who is going to be making most of the running.  However, even knowing that, it’s as if there’s this conversation going on in my head:

“Hey, I’ve got to change things, try something new.”
“Why, things look pretty good to me.”
“But I’m not selling.”
“Yes, but you could make things worse.”
“I don’t know, but you might.  Or your changes might not work.”
“But nothings working now.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to get some help.  Set up some giveaways, make one of my   books free, change my blurb.  Change everything.”
“Oo, I don’t know, giving a book away for free.  Is that a good idea, really?”
“But I’m not selling any!!”


And so it goes on.  Well, I’ve finally given myself a good talking to and I’m making those changes.  I’ve invested in an on-line course by a successful on-line thriller author, Nick Stephenson.  If you go his web site (follow the link) there are some useful free videos as well.  I don’t know his work, but he’s given up the day job and is making a good living.  What resonated with me was that he said that he was writing books, putting them out there and expecting/hoping sales to happen.  And guess what, they didn’t.  It sounded familiar.

Now I know there’s lots of free information out there.  I’ve read numerous blogs and articles and I’m sure much of it is good advice.  However, to be honest I was going around in circles wondering where to start, what to do etc. and with all the self-doubt the above conversation implies.  If anything I had information overload.  I was in, what a former boss called, “analysis paralysis”.  At least this way I’ve something to follow, a plan of actions that have worked for someone else (and he gives other examples besides himself).  Also having paid good money I feel more commitment to follow through.

One early point the course makes is that a good book (and by that I mean a good story, well edited and proof read) with a good cover, well written blurb etc. is the cost of entry.  Something, as I’ve blogged on before is not always the case with indie-authors.  I’ve stopped reading a number of self-published books due to grammatical errors, typos and plot holes. However, back to the point – a good product is just your starting point.  There are many thousands of authors out there with a good product and it’s not so much that you’re competing with them (readers will buy books from many authors) but your voice has to be heard.

So, I’m in.  I’ve started.  Some of it I kind of knew, but what I didn’t really understand was what to do with it/about it.  At least this way I have a strategy that has been shown to work.  There are also a number of ideas that are new to me or I thought didn’t apply in my case.  What’s more, when I invest in advertising I will have a much better idea of where and why.  I know all this will take time and effort on my part, but then I feel I was wasting time and effort on random activities in the past that I had little faith in.

Now, I’m not trying to make my fortune.  However, it would be nice if my books paid for themselves and a maybe bit more.  Also, as an author I want people to read my work and enjoy it.  So, if I get this right and sell those books it will give me more time and incentive to do what I enjoy the most – writing.


As always comments are welcome.

Ian Martyn

Author: Ian Martyn

Science Fiction Writer

4 thoughts on “Indie author – afraid to change?”

  1. Thank you for writing this, Ian. I am having exactly the same experience. I looked at Nick Stephenson towards the end of last year. I didn’t register because I could see the large amount of work and time involved in the course. However, I think he has quite a lot to offer, and even if you do not end up following his ‘system’ you will have gathered a great deal of useful information.
    At the moment I am going along the road of cross-promotion, learning techniques of self-promotion through sharing, particularly on Twitter and Facebook.
    However, when it gets down to the line, the fact I have had to accept (and I don’t like it) is that marketing and promotion are a large part of a writer’s life. But I hang on to my writing time; otherwise, I can’t call myself an author.
    I went through the Books Go Social “Quality Mark” process to get stickers attesting to the technical quality of a couple of my books. It makes them stand out a little from the others.

    1. Glad you like the blog. I figure if I can put in time now, then that’s an investment for the future and it will save me time in the long run. I have paid for some twitter advertising in the past (as well as doing my own) and it didn’t even pay for itself. I will use it again, but perhaps when I have a better base to work with. Best of luck, Ian

  2. Great that you’ve invested in Nick’s course. I did exactly that for precisely the same reasons, and although I haven’t got far through it yet (family issues have intervened), the course material is there for good, and updated constantly as the market changes. Plus, the Facebook community is a great place to go with any questions.
    Before buying the course I queried an author whose books I enjoy, having seen her posts on FB about her successes following Nick’s advice, and she couldn’t recommend the course highly enough. She has been able to ditch the day job.
    I guess it won’t work that well for everyone, but I feel it gives such a clear structure to follow it does give the best possible chance. And removes all that procrastination about where to start!

    1. Deborah, thanks. It’s good to have an independent recommendation (even if I have already invested). I’m about half the way in and I’m starting to adopt his advice. At least I now feel I have a plan. I’m also delaying a book launch until the autumn to give myself the best chance. As you say it removes that “der… what do I do next” feeling.

If you have a view on this, let me know: