The Indie Book Revolution

Reach for the sky

I recently wrote a reply to an Indie author bemoaning  on Facebook they weren’t making sales on line.  I think my reply is worth sharing.

There are 1.5 million Indie books published in the US alone, every year. I wondered how many of these authors buy Indie books?

I buy 2 a month as that fills my reading time. Mostly I find them lively and interesting, the occasional one, not so.   No different from a traditionally published highly advertised book, they are not always great even if the grammar is pretty much guaranteed. To be a successful Indie author you have to be better than the best, even then you might not make it. It’s like agents who have turned down amazing works of literature many times over but they have gone on to be best selling novels, the reading public are doing the same thing, turning away from amazing possibilities. Don’t miss out on discovering a book that might be brilliant; buy loads of Indie books. How many agents turned down Beatrix Potter and J. K .Rowling etc. As an Indie author your experience may be like theirs and you have to keep marketing – and waiting, and hoping readers will cotton on to your amazing book.

In the meantime why not buy a few Indie books and enjoy the whole reading writing scene?

As a Creative Writing tutor I have read across genre, often reading genres I would not have freely chosen. Sometimes they have surprised me at how much I have enjoyed reading them, sometimes I have found them awkward and uninteresting. I am never sorry to have read them. The bad ones teach me how not to write a book and I think about the author who has embarked on a learning curve and , on day, they might become a great writer. Everyone starts somewhere.

From a writer’s perspective reaching the top rung of success can be an unrealistic goal. If you play tennis are you going to be a Wimbledon champion? Would you give up singing if you weren’t the winner of X Factor? You can enjoy playing tennis and singing at any level – you can enjoy writing at any level.

Make friends and meet people on line and through organisations; enjoy working on language skills, going to literary festivals etc. There is so much more to do when you are interested in writing than become famous. Even listening to related programmes on radio or analysing something you are watching on T.V. I would recommend a writer’s life to anyone.

Why do people ask, ‘Do you write? What have you published?’ Would we ask, ‘Do you play tennis? What tournaments have you won? If a writer is successful they will tell you without being asked!

It’s all about money for some potential authors. If that’s you and you’re starting out, make sure you have a good day job.

I have made a living out of writing. I started out earlier than most and this was a big advantage. From selling articles and poems to major magazines my writing career developed. I went into education and taught other people to write, I wrote Creative Writing examinations and marked them. This gave people a qualification that was recognised  in a subject they enjoyed and I loved teaching. Splitting the subject into communications and media studies at level 3 meant that adult students could use it for university entrance.

The aspect of my career I enjoyed the most was Creative Writing for rehab of mental health patients, for prisoners, and as a stepping stone for homeless people back into education.

Over the past few years I have been teaching Creative Writing in Sri Lanka (for free), a work/vacation. I’m lucky that writing has added so much to life, and I believe in can for others. Don’t be a  lone writer, get out there and join in things.

What I really have written this blog for, is to say to indie authors – buy indie books. If we all did this we could start an indie revolution.

As I sit looking at my cup of coffee I realise that for half the price of that coffee I can download an Indie book. For the whole cup – thats 2 books (I’m sure you worked that out). So what if I don’t enjoy them all? I will certainly enjoy most. Of all my reading this year one indie book stood out and I will always remember it. I bought it because I met the author at one of these social writing events and bought the paperback. Indie books can be better than the best.

My husband has met people at these indie events when he has tagged along with me. Occasionally he smiles at the daft book, but it made him smile and other times he has raved on about how good a book is. Because it’s indie he has been able to read their blog, join their twitter etc. and he has spoken to the author and might meet them again.

I write reviews when I’ve read a book, but if it is not my usual genre I say so, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a good review . If it really is bad then I don’t say anything. I’m sure a poor writer is capable of giving back what they get. When I do write a poor review it is for a highly publicised book and the story genuinely isn’t good. I  hate reading a traditional published book with the might of the media behind it and it could – no should be better. You can forgive indie books but not professional writers. Readers have often agreed with my review and said so. If I love it I do always say so, or if it’s good but not my type of book it may be worth 5*.

Christmas is coming and I’ve order my presents – I want paperback Indie books and they will cost under £10 They will give me several hours of pleasure when Christmas is over. ‘Which indie book,’ I’m asked. My reply, ‘Surprise me. You know me.’

I belong to BGS. If you are looking for an indie book join this site or something similar.


See what other people are reading. Goodreads has indie books with reviews.

Be bold and make an Indie book a regular addition to a book club reading list. My Romantic Comedy is only 99p 5* reviews around the world.