So, before you drop off loads of congratulations in the comments, let me clarify: I am not about to become an indie author. I have not written a book. I have not just submitted a manuscript for publication through Kindle Direct Publishing. But, I do want to become an author one day. But I’m not sure if I want to become an indie author. Even though becoming a “real” author has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, I have always considered it to be a very difficult and cutthroat feat, with only the very best in the industry being accepted by the traditional publishing companies. I would never have imagined then that publishing would suddenly become a lot easier, more user directed and controlled, with the advent of self-publishing. But despite how easy self-publishing has become, there are greater fears to becoming an indie author. In this article, I want to share with you my five worst fears about becoming an indie author.
Having no readers
This is perhaps a dismal prospect, but one that I sometimes contemplate, often humorously. I often tell myself that even if I did publish a book there is a possibility that no one would read it. It’s hard enough finding people to read my free blog, and I imagine that it would be even harder to get people to take a chance on me and buy my book. Of course, I am sure there is no book that has absolutely zero readers. With billions of people in the world, the chances are great that there is someone out there who would be interested in a book that I wrote. I just have to target the right demographic.
Making no money
Becoming an indie author is a risk. And I have never been one to take a risk or gamble. The thought of spending x-amount of money and time on an investment which could potentially yield less than $10 is not very enticing.
But, one of the benefits of becoming an indie author is that you get paid more per book than you would if you were to go the traditional route. With that in mind, the chances of making at least more than $10 is greater, but if you wanted to live off of your writing, that is another story entirely. Not every indie author makes enough to fully make a living from their books. And that’s okay. Because the point of writing a book is not about earning money. It is about spreading your message and vision to the world. If at least one person is touched by what you wrote in a book, then it should be worth it. Now, if only that feeling could be converted to cold hard cash….
Getting bad reviews
And then, once I have the fortune to get a reader or two, what if one of them did not like my book? What if they wrote such a horrid book review with a 1-star rating that it makes other people reluctant to take a chance on me? Getting a bad review won’t help the book’s ranking on Amazon, for instance, and then it can also lower your reputation, reducing your chance of getting any subsequent books read by the masses.
But I like to think that book reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. Most people write reviews when they have a bad experience, and they are also purely subjective. One person can’t speak for others. Everyone won’t like your book. Even the best selling series Harry Potter isn’t loved by everyone. Becoming an indie writer means that you should develop some thick skin, not let the bad reviews get to you, and realize that not everyone will like what you write.
Getting lost in the sea
Another fear I have about becoming an indie author is the possibility that my book will simply be just another book. In short, it will simply get lost in the sea. With more than a million self-published books out there, it is overwhelming for me as a reader. In the grand scheme of things, my book would just be one book out of money. With no previously excellent track record or best selling status, who’s to say that it would even get noticed? Who’s to say that it would even get read? Who’s to say that it would simply just be published to be yet another book, its sole purpose inflating the self-publication numbers on Amazon?
Not being taken seriously
And finally, I have a fear that as an indie author I won’t be taken seriously enough, or that people won’t perceive me as a “real” author. Despite the rise of self-publication, self-publishing still has a bad reputation. I feel as if society views self-published books as being low quality with poor editing and design. Who would want to spend their hard earned money on a book that could possibly be drivel? After all, when we go to the library or bookstore, one of the things that influence rather or not we end up purchasing or borrowing the book is the overall look of the book. If the book doesn’t look good, then we won’t buy it. If, after the first two pages, the book is written poorly, we won’t finish it. We still judge a book by its cover and because of that this stigma against self-published books is very much real and alive.
So many things seem to stand in the way for anyone striving to become an indie author. The chance that no one would bother to read yet another self-published book which could just be doomed to get lost in a sea of books is great, coupled with not making any money, getting bad reviews, and not being taken seriously as an indie author are all fears that I think everyone experiences when choosing to go the self-publishing route.
But, at the same time, it is a chance worth pursing. If you believe in your book, and have put your best effort into it, then there is no doubt that someone will read it. Or rather, there is no doubt that a couple hundred of people at the very least will be interested. And even if they aren’t interested, it doesn’t matter. Because the important thing is that you wrote a book. And that in itself is an accomplishment.