Being Indie

© 2017 Daniel Arenson

Indie writers do not have a publisher. We upload our books ourselves to stores like Amazon. Indie authors (authors in general, but this is especially true for indies) do a lot more than write books. I estimate that actual writing is probably only about 25% of what I do. Indie writers also:

  • Rewrite, edit, and revise meticulously, turning rough drafts into polished manuscripts
  • Manage advertising campaigns on many websites, such as Facebook, BookBub, Goodreads, Amazon, and others
  • Build, maintain, and manage mailing lists -- this involves collecting email addresses in a variety of ways, maintaining list hygiene, and sending out regular emails
  • Run contests, promos, and bargain deals
  • Run cross-promotions with other authors
  • Deal with many aspects of accounting: handling taxes, bookkeeping, payroll, cash flow, and so on
  • Answer many emails and messages every day from other authors, marketers, and readers
  • Maintain multiple social media accounts
  • Build and maintain a website
  • Format ebooks and paperbacks
  • Deal with bookstores, ebook stores, distributors, and libraries, each with their own peculiarities and needs
  • Work with audiobook narrators and producers
  • Track sales and library borrows, build reports and graphs, discover trends, and adjust future projects
  • Create graphics for marketing -- banners, ads, website graphics, and so on
  • Work with Amazon and other ebook stores to manage promotional opportunities
  • Write blog posts and do interviews
  • Regularly keep up to date on new technologies -- there are always new apps for reporting, for handling free ebook giveaways, for mailing list integration, for book formatting, and so on. Every month, the industry is different, and we must stay in the loop and adapt.
  • Handle mailing out swag, whether it's complex prizes or as simple as signed paperbacks
  • Maintain street teams
  • Work with cover artists and graphic designers
  • Send out Advance Review Copies
  • And many other things...

75% of my time is spent on the above. Indie writing isn't just sitting at a desk, making up stories. It's running a business. It's hard work. It's often overwhelming. It's often scary, especially if (like me) books are your only source of income. But luckily, it's also tons of fun. I wouldn't want to do anything else.

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