5 Awesome Reasons for Going Indie — By K J Waters

KJ Waters
KJ Waters is the Amazon best-selling author of the short-story called Blow and time travel series Stealing Time. The second book in the series, Shattering Time, is in development and is slated to be released in the spring of 2017. In addition to her writing, she is the CEO of Blondie's Custom Book Covers and the co-host of the popular podcast Blondie and the Brit. She has a Master’s in Business and over 15 years of experience in the marketing field. Before quitting her job to raise a family and work on writing she was the Director of Marketing and communications for a national behavioral healthcare company.
KJ Waters
RT @dmtoft: HEADMASTER AND THIRTEEN BOYS STILL MISSING https://t.co/nGslPiMwV9 #amwriting #amreading #fantasy #IARTG #ASMSG #books #goodre - 8 mins ago
KJ Waters
KJ Waters
KJ Waters
Blondie's Custom Book covers specializes in book cover design using professional photographer and designer sevices. Covers can also be designed using stock photos. Visit their website for more details. Twitter: @BlondiesBookCov Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlondiesCustomBookCovers?ref=hl

THREE YEARS AGO I sat down with a friend who worked for a publishing company. I had gobs of questions for him about how to publish my book. The picture he painted for me was very discouraging–two years of sending out manuscripts with stacks of rejection letters. Even if a publisher signed me on, since I am an unknown author, they would provide little if any cash advance.

 

Plus, I would mostly have to market the book on my own until I had shown my ability to sell. Only then would the publisher step in and help more. Even though legimate publishers have established distribution channels, I left the coffee shop with images of my garage chock-full of books waiting to be sold and a feeling of hopelessness. It definitely halted my rush to finish the book.

 

Lucky for me it took a few more years to complete my book and in that time a totally different publishing world has emerged. Today a successful independent author is no longer an imaginary creature like a unicorn or a fairy. The key element to this success is putting out a polished and professional product to be able to compete with the traditionally published books that are in the marketplace. It is crucial in this market to hire an editor and create a high-quality book cover. For more tips see this post.

 

Picture of Indie Author Unicorn

A successful independent author is no longer an imaginary creature like a unicorn or fairy.

 

 

Five More Awesome Reasons for Going Indie:

 

1. Independence – I’ve always worked better with a big-picture goal and no one breathing down my neck. As an Indie author I have no one asking for a draft or cramming deadlines down my throat. This whole journey has been a free creative process without outside pressure to perform or deliver. I think my novel is so much better for it, too.

 

I hear authors talking about writer’s block. I can honestly say I’ve never had writer’s block because if I wasn’t in the mood to write, I’d work on the plot outline, or character backgrounds, or something related to the book. I have worked hard at every turn of my novel to surprise my readers, to keep them on the edge of their seats. For me that is a craft that takes time, takes thought and bursts of writing and pausing to develop the next layer.

 

2. New Ideas – There is a marketing term that researcher use – Innovator – and describes someone who is at the forefront of their peer group for trying new products regardless of the price. I think this describes me to a tee. I have been very innovative with my writing, with my marketing and the spin-off projects I’m working on. A majority of my jobs have been working closely with new technology, new ideas, and or new practices. I love change and can turn on a dime to take advantage of a new way of doing something or a new technology offering solutions in a unique way.

 

It is the same thing with the indie market. Look at the market just six months ago. We now have the traditional publishing market turned on their ear scrambling for market share against the rising tide of indie authors. See my guest blog that outlines our recent climb to the top of the heap of the e-books market here. What it will be in another six months? The big publishers will continue to fade away if they don’t change their business practices and big players are developing as we speak. I couldn’t be more excited to be in the heart of the Indie tide. In fact I’m innovating something as we speak for my novel, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. It is still in the development stages but I cannot wait to get working on it.

 

3. Diversity – Being an Indie author takes a diverse set of skills to succeed. First of all you need to be a good writer. Pretty much a deal breaker – if you can’t write well you’re in for a rough ride. Another crucial element to being an author is marketing skills, because once your book is done the work really starts to get your book in the hands of your reader. You are completely in charge of that as an indie author. To succeed you need a giant serving of perseverance and a thick skin.

 

Understanding the book market – eBooks and otherwise – is also as important as any of these other skills. I love the challenge of being and indie author. My destiny is in my capable hands and my success will be measured by my actions not anyone else’s. My efforts, or lack thereof, are the key to making it and to me there is nothing more exciting than to create something out of nothing with my skills, my blood, sweat and tears and succeed at it.

 

Cover of Stealing Time

 

4. Instant Gratification – I still can’t get over the fact that I can write something today and have it out in the world in a few hours. Conveniently I can also take it down and fix it without a lot of hubbub. Not that I’m planning on doing that but it does take away some of the pressure when you go to release the book. I love the flexibility of being an indie author. One thing that excites me about this flexibility is that you can make a few edits to your novel to take advantage of trends.

 

For example, my book is about hurricanes and time travel. I could pull the book down and change all the details about the hurricane to capture a new storm that just devastated an area, or do a quick rewrite to include new findings in time travel. Such flexibility is very intoxicating.

 

5. Endless Possibilities – The learning curve for publishing your first book is steep, but once you’ve mastered the basics of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the other e-book providers, marketing, promoting, social media, print books, etc., the skills are there and you’ll only get better as you go along. The potential to use these skills for other projects is boundless. Here are some of the projects I’m working on are using the same skill set.

 

  • Books – My novel Stealing Time will be out in December. I have my second book in the series halfway written and book three partially mapped out. When I get the chance, I want to focus on this stupendous idea for a children’s book. I’ve been chewing on it for about ten years and I think it will be completely unlike anything out there.
  • Book Covers – As an Indie author I was really bothered by some of the covers my cohorts were using for their books.  Last winter I decided to partner with a professional photographer, Jody Smyers, to start a business to provide custom covers for authors. Check out our site here: Blondie’s Custom Book Covers. We are excited to provide a highly professional alternative at a reasonable price for indie and other authors. See here for a guest post on how to create a winning book cover. In the process of creating covers for authors I had to find models. Since then I’ve signed on fifteen people of all ages who are ready for anything that may come up. I’ve become quite good at approaching strangers to ask if they want to be on a book cover, much to the chagrin of my children. Over the summer Jody and I shot six of these models for stock photos.

 

Picture of Crouched Man

Blondie’s Book Cover Model: Lee Pat

 

Picture of man aiming pistol.

Blondie’s Book Covers Model: Zach

  • Fitness Calendar — One of our models is a physique show competitor and he introduced us to a number of other men in competition. The models were so good we are now in the process of finalizing a fitness calendar called ‘Men of Steel.’ We will be selling this calendar soon on Amazon using the same social media contacts (over 10,000 across several platforms). How is that for using the old bean for endless possibilities? We’ve already found models to shoot an all-female fitness calendar for next year and hope to do a nature calendar and who knows what else we’ll come up with.

 

Picture of Blondie's Books Muscle Model

BCBC Model Zach Featured in the “Men of Steel” Calendar Coming Next Month.

 

Please take a minute to tell me your Indie thrills and spills in the comments section. You can see how enthusiastic I am about this market, I’m very curious to hear more about your experiences.

 

Thank you Jeri for once again allowing me to write a guest post for your blog. I’m thrilled with the responses on my last three posts and hope to be invited back soon. My last post was picked up by Where Writers Win for publication on their site. It has been a great honor to meet the other authors and bloggers that visit your site regularly. Jeri is in the process of editing my book right now so stay tuned for more when it comes out in December.

 

 

Permission must be granted by KJ Waters to use the images in this post.

 

Author: KJ Waters

KJ Waters is the Amazon best-selling author of the short-story called Blow and time travel series Stealing Time. The second book in the series, Shattering Time, is in development and is slated to be released in the spring of 2017. In addition to her writing, she is the CEO of Blondie's Custom Book Covers and the co-host of the popular podcast Blondie and the Brit. She has a Master’s in Business and over 15 years of experience in the marketing field. Before quitting her job to raise a family and work on writing she was the Director of Marketing and communications for a national behavioral healthcare company.

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70 Comments

  1. LOVE that KJ sees this mess in publishing as an opportunity:) She is completely right! So many good options out there to get your words out. And The Blondie Book Covers are so cool! Yet an another opportunity that she seized…inspiring!

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    • Jacqueline, thanks so much! There are a lot of great options! I hope I can spur on a few authors to marketing their amazing work. I have a few friends who have masterpieces but are not really taking advantage of all there is to get it out into the world. Let’s do this INDIES!

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  2. I think the Indie book publishers have created a terrific opportunity for new authors. I have read so many books and articles about an unknown trying to break into the large publishing houses with no luck, simply because they were unknown and no one took the time to read their material.

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    • It’s so true! Now we have options to make our own little empire and be in control of our success. Not easy to do but massively easier than it was five years ago.

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  3. Glad KJ is having success with her indie publishing experience. Lots of great points here, though if a publisher does pick you and they are only offering a pittance why would anyone sign. There are still debut authors who do get six figure deals, rare though they are. But I can def. see the draw of the immediacy of going indie , the independence and the opportunities to do things exactly the way you want them.

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    • AK, I know what you’re saying. For me a publisher will have to come to the table with a really good offer.For other authors, it may be worth it if they don’t have the social media presence or marketing savy. and of course a major publishing house will be a huge asset in any book sales.

      I’m very excited about my indie path and the control I have. Thanks for commenting! 😀

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  4. KJ, thanks once again for giving us some great food for thought regarding the various publishing paths available to authors these days. I’m still torn over which path to take which is why I plan to query my first novel. There’s no doubt publishing is changing in many exciting ways, and the excitement of indie publishing made me want to write again. I’ve since realized factors such as genre and output play a role that works less in my favor than a more traditional path might. For now, I’m happy to test the indie waters with shorter works. Luckily, I’ve found my footing with offering editing services while I further define what writing path best suits me.

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    • Jeri, the best part about this market is that there are choices for authors now. I wish you the best of luck with your traditional path. I think you’ll be a great success. I’m excited to hear your adventures as you find success with your longer works, and the shorter indie path.

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  5. I like this blog, I must say that the only downside about self-publishing is the book world’s attitude toward them. There are many who look down at self-published authors, but if you look deeper you will find that these are people from the publishing and agent business. Those who do not make any money off someone who self-publishes.

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    • Yes, the self published author is still trying to be prove their worth, but we’ve made great strides. The authors that take it seriously by having their books professionally edited and use a professional cover makes all the difference to bring us forward.

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  6. What terrific ideas KJ. Thanks for sharing her with us Jeri.

    When I get over the hurdle of my current publisher, for my only second published book, I’ll consider the upside of self-publishing. My guess is, from reading your pluses of being an indie publisher, there is a great possibility that many of us have more than one book in us.

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    • Patricia, congrats on your two books! So excited for you! You would have an easier time than an unknown author like me since you’ve already published. Best of luck on your next book! 😀

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  7. Great guest post and truly persuasive… I guess tips and one, three and five are more than just well enough in order to join The Indie Team!…
    Once being a member you’ll notice that ‘Endless Possibilities’ are waiting for you around the corner.
    All the very best and thanks for sharing!, Aquileana 🙂

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    • Aquileana, thank you so much. 😀 I thought those were good reasons, glad you agree. Best of luck with your endless possibilities!

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  8. What a clever and innovative person you are! I am really curious to see what surprises you have dreamed up! I think it’s great that there is room for new ideas. There are some terrific success stories in indie publishing.

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    • Thanks Beth! I can’t wait to share them. I will as soon as I can, I don’t want anyone to steal my idea so I’m keeping it close to my vest until I have the resources to pursue it. Hopefully I’ll get it out shortly after the book is out.

      There are a lot of Indie success stories, finally. For awhile it wasn’t so common, but the market is changing and growing. Thanks for your comment!

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  9. This post is loaded with a lot of information and inspiration for indie authors! Thanks so much KJ for giving a big positive nudge. I am totally convinced that we are on the right path. I love the independence that self-publishing gives us and yes, there are so many possibilities.

    I love the cover of your book, KJ.

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    • Balroop, so glad you enjoyed the post. I always have a bit of a panic before I publish it, but all of my guest posts on here have been so well received.

      Best of luck with your Indie possibilities! I always enjoy connecting with you on here.

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  10. As someone who’s started reading Kawasaki’s APE, this post is something good to consider because the former is so cautious about guaranteeing success in the self publishing realm. It’s great to hear that the process can be fun while still hard work. KJ, you really seem to be doing well. I am envious that you’re working on publishing a new book and have so many great things ahead of you. I can’t wait to join you there someday in that pantheon.

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    • Duke, Kawasaki’s APE is right there is no guarantee of success, but there isn’t a guarantee with traditional either. Only if you’re defining success by getting a publisher to believe in you. I’m happy to believe in myself and dream of Gerard Bulter playing the male lead in the movie of Stealing Time. Hehe, go big or stay home, right?

      Thanks for your comments and I hope you enjoy your inde ride when you decide to take it.

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  11. Thanks for the encouraging and uplifting article about self-publishing. I know it’s not all easy but given the state of traditional publishing for new authors, the benefits are definitely there as you describe them.

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    • Thank you Jagoda! Yes there are benefits and time will tell about the success of our endeavors. I’m a firm believer of work hard, play hard and enjoy your success. It doesn’t always work that way, but I can only try my best to reach towards what I want.

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  12. I wonder if the trend of traditional publishers providing less and less support and less and less value will ever change? I don’t think they really see self-publishing as a threat to their business. Someday they might have to think about that a little and think about why more and more authors choose to go that route.

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    • I think the state of the Indie vs Traditional will reach a balance at some point. It’s too new to know how it will end up. I do think the smaller publishers will have to straighten up their acts as indies get leery of trusting them. I’ve had many friends who should have gone Indie but listened to a smaller publisher that just couldn’t deliver what they promised. My friends would have been better off going on their own. I don’t think they will be able to stay in business with the market pressures and more savvy Independent authors.

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  13. Traditional publishing for unknown authors sounds like an up hill battle and extremely discouraging. I’m sure most people, unless they were super tenacious, used to just give up. So it really is refreshing and exciting now that there are alternatives through Indie publishing to get their books out there and have their success or failure be completely in their own hands.

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    • Susan, it is uphill, but there are plenty of people who make it in the traditional venue. For me it is very refreshing to have a choice though, and get my first book out there without waiting for a publisher to get involved. It is quite exciting to be in control of it all though I have to admit!

      Thanks for your comments.

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  14. Awesome!! Great write-up. It feels good doing it your way and most importantly your pace. No pressure or quest to please any shark of any kind except of-course your readers.

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    • Thanks Max! It is really nice to watch the sharks but know they’re after someone else. And yes, I hope my readers are pleased but that is why I took so long to write it, to please them. Thanks for reading and commenting on this.

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  15. It’s nice to see an encouraging post about indie publishing. The publishing landscape is certainly changing. A writer needs to be prepared to learn the ropes. spend time and use a lot of skills other than writing, but it opens up opportunities and possibilities as this post points out.

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    • Thanks for your comments Donna, you are definitely correct. There are a lot of possibilities in this new market.

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  16. Always so upbeat, your posts are a joy to read. Glad to hear “Stealing Time” is finally within reach. I do so love the cover…

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    • Thank you so much Jaye and anita! Yes i can’t wait to get Stealing Time out into the world!

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  17. I think it’s naturally difficult for a creative person such as a writer to give up control over their “baby” to a publisher that may do things very differently than the writer had envisioned. To me, this would be one of the biggest reasons to go “Indie”.

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    • I completely agree and would be a good point number 6. Similar to independence, but in a different way. It is really nice to not have to fight with a publisher about my wants for the novel I’ve poured into 9 years of blood, sweat, and tears.

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  18. Go Indie Writers Go! This is a post to motivate writers everywhere! PS I will have to check out the book covers section again when I do publish Indie style one day 🙂

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    • Yay team! Great and when you’re ready to get a great cover let me know. By then we should have a website full of potential covers to use. We’re working on that now.

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  19. I admire your creativity. You’ve done what in the retail business is called a “line extension.” Your book was the springboard for other products and services. Congratulations!

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    • Thanks so much Jeanette! Yes, the book has been a good starting point for my other projects and who knows what else! Appreciate your comments and encouragement!

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  20. It is truly the Indie’s time. Anyone can write and be successful. I will have to say that Amazon has done Indie’s a huge favor by giving them a platform they might otherwise never have. Exposure is key to success, along with a great product of course. Now that other’s have followed after Amazon Indie’s really do have a great chance of success.

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    • Cheryl, yes I agree, the market is ideal for the indie author and seems to be improving daily. It will be very interesting to see what happens in the near future.

      Thanks for your comments!

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  21. It really gives a huge sense of accomplishment when you see a book through from start to finish, pretty much all on your own.

    Great list here, and so true! 🙂

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    • Mishka, yes it’s an incredible feeling to complete such a huge undertaking and finish it. Thanks for your comments.

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  22. Amazon hit it big with self publishing and not only for authors.The jobs for voice over talent narrating their work for the audio-books market grows bigger each year.Many VO’s are building new careers as readers. The dream job for us in voice over is connecting with the next big author and becoming the “voice” for their work. So keep writing!
    It’s all good!

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    • Yes Amazon has been great for indie authors. I didn’t know that about voice over talent, it’s really exciting time for a lot of people that revolve around the indie book market. Thanks for sharing your story! Best of luck!

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  23. I don’t have a lot to offer on this subject but wanted to let you know that sometime soon I hope to. I am very excited, like you, about the idea of Indie publishing and look forward to getting started down my own road. Thanks for the advice and encouragement.

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    • Tim, how exciting for you! I wish you the best of luck when you begin your indie journey!

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  24. I’d also say that indie authors are a catalyst in pushing the traditional publishing world to reform its outdated business models, which then benefits traditionally published authors.

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    • Yes Laura, I completely agree. The success of the Indie author is definitely creating a new paradigm for the entire industry. Let’s hope it pushes change through and creates a new model that is more fair to the author.

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  25. Great article! I’m delighted to note that I will be going Indie when I get down to writing my book. Sounds like just my cup of tea.

    Reading is how I get by in life. Have hence promised myself that when I get old I will write fiction based on my global life on high levels in politics, business and society. Believe me there are plots worhthy of say, David Baldacci, Lauren Weisberger and Robert Ludlum.

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    • Now you’re talking! A great story waiting to be told. I wish you the best of luck when you decide to start your indie career!

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    • Thanks so much Denise! I can’t even tell you how excited I am — but I guess you felt a bit of that from my post.

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  26. Hello KJ The Blondie Book Covers are very nice and I am happy for your achievements.
    Seems Indie book publishers has created a great opportunity for new authors. It is nice that you took some time to publish your book on right time that has helped you a lot. I am happy that you are thinking to write for kids.

    All the best.

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    • Thanks so much Andleeb, thanks for checking out the covers and for the encouragement on the kids books. I’m getting excited to begin that project.

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  27. It was just a matter of time that Indie book publishers would give authors the opportunity to publish a book that they may not have otherwise. I think with the interent exploding with new technology, the decline in authors seeking out publishing companies will be the thing of the past. As time goes on it will get easier and easier. I think from here is it is important to constantly get the word out on your book

    Post a Reply
    • Arleen, yes it is such an exciting time to be in this market. Technologies are continually changing and Amazon and other outlets are creating more and more opportunities for us authors with ebooks, audio books, print books and other options.

      And good point about the book marketing. It’s never ending and crucial to sales! Thanks for your comments and connecting on here!

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  28. This is a great post that has some wonderful ideas for going indie in it. I think everyone loves #4 instant gratification.

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  29. Highly enlightening post clearly articulating how one can pursue the indie side of things. It is good when other options are hard to come by, to magnify the benefits of the remaining options and make them work. Not only did you give the reasons, but you also gave tips for improved writing skills as well.

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  30. LOL! I’m picturing a lady with grown kids approaching muscle bound strangers to ask if they want to be a model. I’m really interested in looking at the book covers but the links in this article aren’t working for me. Good information here! Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • Ha, well my kids are still small, but yes, rather awkward to start that conversation. All for a good cause and the guys and gals have been very flattered that I asked.

      Hope you can see the book covers now. Thanks so much for commenting and hope to meet up with you on other social media sites.

      Post a Reply
  31. I’d barely finished reading this post when I sent a copy of it to a friend of mine who is thinking of writing a children’s book. Your enthusiasm about being self-published coupled with your advice are the perfect combination for an aspiring writer. Thanks for sharing.

    Post a Reply
    • Wow, that is such a thrill to inspire you to send the article off so quickly! I hope it helps her. Feel free to share my contact info I’d be glad to help her (and you) in any way I can. Not that I’m an expert, but I do know marketing. Thanks so much for sharing! You’ve made my day!

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  32. I am not a writer of books yet- but if I ever do publish my life stories, it’s Indie all the way for me. Great resources and I think your images are fantastic. Your devotion and enthusiasm is definitely evident in this post. And, good luck!

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    • Thanks so much Laurie! Really appreciate your comments and I wish you the best of luck when you decide to go indie.

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  33. I definitely agree. Those are the most awesomest reasons to go indie. I particularly like having control over my cover. 🙂

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  34. Indie publishing is more in line with what most authors hope for when conceptualizing a book–creativity, control, and completion. I’m happy that your efforts are blooming like flowers. The writer’s block statement made great sense. Someone’s got to do the related work.

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  35. I like the excitement in your writing voice talking about going Indie! You’ll be motivating many people 🙂 Great interview!!

    Post a Reply

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