Are You Really Ready for Indie Publishing?

Indie publishing is a viable option for many authors who don't want to pursue traditional publishers for whatever reason. But that doesn't mean it's for everyone (despite some people's claim that "anyone can do it") and it certainly doesn't mean indie publishing or self publishing is for you.

Let's look at qualities and skills of successful indie publishers and what might hold you back.

4 Questions to Ask Before Pursuing Indie Publishing

1. Can you handle constructive criticism?

If not, you're not ready to get into indie publishing. Not having rejections from agents and editors doesn't mean you can throw up your hands and say "but it's my book so I'll do whatever I want!" If you can't take constructive criticism and advice from professionals during the self publishing process, you're ready for nothing more than good old vanity publishing -- not the kind of professional indie publishing people are going to take seriously.

Leave the temper tantrums to your five year old. And learn how to separate yourself from your work. When you can pursue objective feedback and use it to make your book better, then you're on the path to becoming a successful indie publisher.

2. Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit?

Indie publishing is an entrepreneurial venture. If you aren't ready to be in business for yourself, you aren't ready to pursue it. Indie publishing is a business. You conduct market research (or you should). You create a high quality product (or you should). And you bring that product to market with long-term marketing and PR strategies in place (or, again, you should).

It doesn't stop after the book is written. If you want the book to be a success, you'll market the hell out of it for a long time to come. Not ready for that? Well, then not only are you not ready for indie publishing just yet, but you probably aren't ready for traditional publishing either since authors are expected to do much of the marketing for their books.

3. Are you able to delegate?

Yes, we all know that your book is your "baby." That's all well and good, but you can't raise it on your own if you want it to turn out well. Or at least most can't. If you want the best book possible, you have to be willing to let go and delegate some tasks to professionals. You are not an expert at everything related to writing, editing, publishing, and marketing a book.

A part of your job as an indie publisher is to look beyond yourself. Slapping a book together, proofreading it yourself with no credible outside feedback, and tossing it on a POD service is not indie publishing. It's just sloppy. You have to be willing to delegate tasks to others, and you have to be willing and able to find the best team possible for your book. After all, that's one of the biggest benefits of independently publishing your book. You don't have to put up with whoever a publisher assigns to your project. You can hand-pick the best people for the job.

4. Do you have a platform?

There's a reason publishers want new authors to have an existing platform before considering their books. Your platform means you have a built-in audience ready and waiting to buy your book. And you should have that as an indie publisher too. Well, at least it's a heckuva good idea.

If you don't have a platform yet, that doesn't mean you aren't cut out for indie publishing. It just means you might see more success if you take the time to build one before releasing your next book. Start a blog. Get some interviews lined up. Or use any of these 30 ways to build a writer platform that I previously presented to freelance writers.

These aren't the only things that can influence your success in indie publishing. Your background in business and marketing can play a role. Your budget to bring the best product possible to market can as well. But I know there are more. What qualities and skills do you think are important to finding success in indie publishing? Why are they so important to you? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

Subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to get freelance writing updates from Jenn in your inbox.

Leave a Comment