5 Lessons I’ve Learnt From My First Year As An Indie Author

A couple of years ago, I made the fateful decision that I was going to pursue a career in writing, part-time at first while I build up my author platform. Sounded like a plan but how was I going to let people know who I am and what sort of stuff I write?


The answer was simple.


On the 6th June 2020, I launched my official author website and blog along with my author socials. Now at the time, I thought once I had launched the website it would be smooth sailing and boy was I wrong.


The entire year has been one big learning curve for me and I thought I’d share some of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from the previous year.


The other authors are not your competition.


In today’s world, there’s a lot of emphasis on competition. Business, society, pretty much every facet of life. So naturally, when I was starting as an author, I was a bit wary of connecting and engaging with other authors. However, once I was more experienced with Twitter and had met some talented fellow Twitter authors, I realised how wrong I was.


Indie authors have a lot of cards stacked against them already and having everyone convinced they need to fight amongst themselves in order to stand out only heaps a whole bunch more onto the pile.


Some of the best encouragement and support I’ve gotten in the last year has been from other writers in the indie community. They’re some of the warmest people you can find and you’d do well to engage with them as soon as you can.


Write what you enjoy writing, not what you think will sell.


There’s a whole lot of writing advice out there. Write what you know, write to trends, show don’t tell, write in the morning, write in the evening, write every day, don’t write at all. Yeah, there’s a lot of writing advice, and like with all advice, not everything’s going to work for you.


I’ve read a lot of advice in the past year and really if I could give one piece of advice it would be this: write what you enjoy writing and what you want to write, not what you think will sell. Your passion and excitement for the work will shine through to anyone reading it and if you just phone it in, everyone’s going to know pretty quickly.


There’s always a place for your writing, you just need to find it.


Before I started up my website and for a little while after, I was submitting short stories to literary journals and magazines and getting knocked back every time. Eventually, I decided just to post my stories on my website because there wasn’t any place for my work besides my website.


This was the completely wrong attitude to have, something I only figured out right at the end of 2020 when I discovered the awesome Retro Replayers and some magazines that accepted genres that were more in line with my own work.


You see, when I started off writing and submitting to places I didn’t look hard enough because if I had, I would have found out the truth. My work wasn’t unfit for any place, I just had to look a bit harder.


Most advice (including this) won’t work for you.


Advice is nothing more than people’s opinions. That’s part of its definition. Everyone’s got an opinion and everyone’s opinions - like their experiences - are different. This difference really underlines the issue with these types of articles.


Don’t treat any of the advice you’re given as gospel, just scavenge bits and pieces from these articles and figure out what works for you and ditch everything else. Just find what works for you cause it’s just your personal journey, no one else’s.


However, there is one piece of advice I would highly recommend you absorb from this post.


Never Give Up.


The truth is that the creative industry is overall a crapshoot. Rejections letters, stress, creative burnout, audience indifference, and people getting paid twice as much as you for doing nothing.


Yeah, the industry’s a crapshoot but it can also be incredible once you’re in. You just have to keep throwing yourself at the brick wall and eventually, the wall will crack and the only way that’s gonna happen is through persistence.


Like I’ve said, a lot of this advice might not be of use to you but hopefully, there are at least a couple of things you can take away from this.


What's some advice you'd give to fellow creatives or even your younger self? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Looking for more to read? I also have short stories that you can read for free.


I'm also offering feedback and developmental editing services for indie authors. If you're interested or want to chuck a couple of bucks my way to show your appreciation, you can check it out here.


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Have a great day,


-Rohan


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