I was super excited to visit my first local meeting with a well-known writing association. From everything I had read, it was one of the best in this region. More than a hundred showed up at any given meeting. And I was excited to meet them all to learn how to better perfect my craft.
I walked in and was welcomed by everyone. It was a friendly bunch. So I started moving between people, introducing myself and finding out what they were doing.
“I’ve spent the past ten years writing the epic novel.”
“I’m writing my memoir. I should have it ready in the next couple of years.”
“I published a book six years ago and am working on my second.”
I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life. When my father passed away at 54, I was 28 years old and already sick of my life in the corporate world. There was already talk of downsizing and moving our office back to headquarters, 1,700 miles from my home. My husband had been downsized out of his position three times. With all of that in mind, we knew we didn’t want the standard way of life; what most people considered “safe” was far too risky for us.
So we abandoned the JOB lifestyle once and for all, and have never looked back.
Fast forward a few years, and I started writing books about my experiences. And I quickly gained a sense of the different ways of writing and publishing. There was the traditional route; the one where you found a publisher to do all the work, you simply write.
And then there’s the indie way.
By definition, indie means:
One that is independent. Something (a record, a film, a music group, a screenplay, or a book) that is produced by an indie.
To be indie means to take chances. Where large corporations only fund things that have a high probability of creating a return on investment, the indie world isn’t afraid to try something new. If it’s cool, creative, and different, it’s indie.
And while taking that road may have been challenging to do twenty or thirty years ago, indie is no longer difficult.
Back in 2003, I had a wild and crazy idea to publish a coffee table book filled with photographs taken from our wedding clients. My goal was to sell the book anywhere but a bookstore. Of course, I couldn’t find a publishing house to back me. I didn’t have a track record in the publishing industry. So I found a class in self-publishing and never looked back.
Since then I’ve published more than a dozen books in the niche of photography – one traditional published and the rest self-published. I made A LOT more on my own. And because I’d created a portal site filled with coaching ideas too, I combined my books with my blog and sold the entire site and business for a healthy profit. And that gave me the chance to pursue other dreams.
Traditional will have you believe the old way is best.
Indie will tell you anything is possible.
Traditional will sell you on the concept that it has more power, more chance for a big return.
Indie will tell you that’s impossible. Unless you have a big name, very few “lucky breaks” ever happen for someone just getting started.
Thanks to the internet, going indie is easier than ever before.
Whatever your idea, you can find someone doing what you’re dreaming about. You can find easy ways to put all of your ideas into action.
I did that way back in 2003 by finding a self-publishing guru. I invested in his classes, his mentoring, and several publications I’d deemed relevant. I learned. I acted. I succeeded. And that was when things were A LOT more difficult than they are today.
If you want to write books, you can publish them yourself on Amazon and keep 70 percent of the profits. Compare that to traditional publishing where you’re almost guaranteed to have a rate in the single digits. (And you still have to do most of the marketing yourself anyway.)
Of course, it’s not just writing books that’s easier. You can find anything you want online.
Want to write screenplays? Search out screenwriting resources – American Screenwriters Association is a good place to start.
Want to move into indie music? Check out the American Association of Independent Music.
Interested in getting your independent film to market? Start online by looking for resources that can help you. The Directors Guild of America can give your ideas a boost.
What Do You Want – Fame and Fortune – or a Publishing Contract?
A friend of mine is also writing a series of fiction books. Her dream is to be able to quit her day job forever, and turn her trilogy into a movie. So she recently attended a niche writing association that pulled in a lot of big names from her genre. She showed up on the first day bright-eyed and ready to go. Within the first few hours, she learned the error of her ways.
The conference was keynoted and taught by people who had been in the niche for a decade or more. They had traditional publishing contracts for years, and spoke more about perfecting their craft.
When my friend raised her hand and spoke of indie publishing, they scoffed. One of the men – someone you’d see on the shelves at your favorite bookstore – with more than a dozen books to his name, spoke of quitting the business and doing something else. “You just couldn’t make a decent profit from publishing books anymore,” he said to the attendees. The publishing houses are making a lot. He can no longer afford his lifestyle.
Yet indie publishing? He said he wouldn’t consider it. He had his line in the sand, after all. He liked the appearance of having a big name publisher behind him. He didn’t want to “lower” his standards.
I also have a friend who tore up her traditional publishing contract five years ago when she discovered how easy it was to self-publish. And she started publishing on her own. Last year, she signed a one million dollar contract with a publishing house. And that’s for a separate series of books outside of what she produces on her own. She’ll never give up her indie publishing – she makes a healthy seven-figure income every year thanks to self-publishing on Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Nook, and other indie platforms.
Indie is easy. You can find all the resources you need to put your own ideas into place.
Indie is accessible. Every tool you need is readily available to you for a very low cost.
Indie is achievable. There are more millionaires today created by indie work than ever before.
Indie is viable. Yes, you can do whatever you’ve been dreaming about and make a good income by doing it.
Indie is smart. It gives you a chance to build up your second act before you quit the job that’s bringing in money.
Indie is astute. It gives you a chance to investigate all you need to do before committing in bigger ways.
From day one, I looked at my book writing process as an income source. I don’t have a day job – this IS my day job. If I’m going to pay the bills, I have to make sure I’m providing content with a lot of value, content that people are willing to pay for to learn from.
I have a unique approach, one that many people are willing to learn from They like what I have to say. So I say it in a way that benefits us both. The indie way.
What about you?
Sure, you can write your epic novel. You can spend years on your memoir.
You might get a few people to buy it.
But if you want your dreams to fund your new approach to life, it’s never been easier.
That’s the true indie way.