Four Things I’ve Learned as an Indie Author

indie-authorIt’s been a little over three years since I published my first book in The French Illusions Series and I thought I’d recap four things I’ve learned during that time.

1. Some people will not like your story and there’s nothing you can do about it. Once your book is published and you giveaway or sell a bunch of copies, you will eventually receive a negative review and it will hurt your feelings. It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so cruel with reviews, but once you become an author, it’s a fact of life.  The important thing is to have confidence in your well-edited, well-vetted piece of work.

2. After you publish your book, if you receive a consistent complaint, seriously consider a revision. I received multiple negative comments about “the way” my story ended, so one year after publication, I extended and enhanced the ending to my memoir. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. My reviews are consistently better after this addition and I rarely receive a bad review about the ending to my book.

3. Once you become an author, you will have good days and bad days. This point is closely aligned with number 1 and 2 above. I had a great day yesterday— I sold several books and I received a five-star review. Earlier in the week, I felt sad when sales were slow and a reader came in and trashed my story.  On days like this, I shrug my shoulders and find a distraction, such as a long walk.

4. Selling books will be an uphill battle. Once you publish your book, the dreaded question of “How many books have you sold” will come up again and again. Fortunately, my number is above average, but (sigh)…I’m still not satisfied. Each day I send out a tweet, post to my Facebook Fanpage or head over to the Francophiles Group at Goodreads hoping to gain more traction. Oh, and don’t get me started with the promotions I set up throughout the year. Someday, when someone asks me about book sales, I just want to be able to say “they’re okay,” and mean it. Time will tell with this one.

Well…there you have it. What about other authors out there. What lessons have you learned?

Amazon.com

 

Comments

  1. Great advice. I did a similar post on my blog about this a while back. Publishing is a huge learning experience but I personally enjoy learning new things. Knowledge is power. When I don’t understand something, I learn everything I can about it.

    As far as the “How are your book sales doing?” question, I have a standard response to it. “It’s going great! I’m so blessed to be able to make money doing something I am so passionate about.”

    It usually shuts them up. I’ve yet to have people get more specific about the money after that.

  2. Christoph Fischer says:

    I particularly agree with point 1. You need to develop a thick skin and distinguish between nastiness and justified critique. Bad reviews can help you with your craft

  3. Chris Freed says:

    One of my favorite quotes goes along the lines of, “How sad it must be that mere words can harm you.” Of course I come from old Viking blood and spent 3 years in 2 wars so thick skin is easy, but I agree with Christoph. We also need a firm sense of humility.

  4. Murielle Cyr says:

    Bad reviews are part of the game. Most are because people pick up a genre they don’t like. Instead of dropping the book, they write a negative review. Always getting good reviews doesn’t help you grow as a writer.

  5. True insight into being an author. As my basketball coach used to say “You better learn to suck it up buttercup, cause it won’t get any better.” Great words for any athlete, author or just for life in general. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, Hunter. Your basketball coach didn’t muddy the waters, did he. Those words would stop me from complaining. Yes, they are applicable in our business too!

  6. Hi Linda

    After writing six books for the skeptical business crowd, I finally started to look at negative reviews in a more positive—and I think, more realistic—light. Reader reviews are not usually about the book. They’re about the REVIEWER. After I’ve had a chance to say what I wanted to say, they have a chance to react. It doesn’t matter that my effort took three years and their effort took three minutes. This is their moment to express who they are. It has little to do with me or the quality of my work.

    Thanks for leaving such a nice comment on beginningfrench.com. (We agree about the taste of capers on fish—transporting!)

    • Yes, Marty, I think you’re right. Often negative, hurtful reviews say more about the reviewer than they do about the book in question. It was difficult in the beginning, but I’ve learned to shrug them off 🙂

    • I don’t have many reviews but I tend to agree that the review is often more about the reviewer than the book; particularly when a less-than-glowing ‘star’ review is left without a comment. A friend taught me to think of these as ‘lazy’ reviews and not worth getting upset over. After all, without an actual written review how can we, as authors, understand the reviewer’s point of view?

      • Hi Catherine. Yes, I would agree that reviews without comments, which is the case often at Goodreads, are not helpful. I try to brush the bad ratings off of my shoulder and move on.

  7. It’s been a couple of years since I published my book. I still find it interesting that as a review I get a ton of requests for reviews from authors, but few of the authors that read my book, which is intended for authors, left a review for my book.

Speak Your Mind

*