5 Worst Fears About Becoming an Indie Author

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

There are dark blue-gray clouds over a blue calm sea.
Photo by Federico Orihuela on Pexels.com

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.

Conclusion

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.

[See also: 9 Outrageous Things You Can Do After Publishing a Book]

What are your worst fears about becoming an indie author?

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Hi! I'm Helen and I am a 32 year old biracial millennial mom raising two multiracial children. I am a writer, English consultant, and social media manager. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic.

22 thoughts on “5 Worst Fears About Becoming an Indie Author

  1. I wrote two books which I self-published on Kindle and I have been through everything you mention in this blog. To be honest, rather like blogging it was something that was started in a blaze of enthusiasm which, as the reality of three years of writing became two books that hardly anyone was interested in, over time became a feeling of why bother? I sold a lot of copies of one book but that was only because it shared a name with a massive bestseller that was published a few years later! I have ideas for new books and I am seriously considering giving it another go. Watch this space as David G Pearce (author) may be back in a year or so! It’s amazing how your blogs are chiming with me at the moment. I have written two blog posts in the last week with the third to follow this weekend. If you have time please take a look. Thanks once again for the encouragement you are providing.

    1. Hi David! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. It is a tough thing to be an indie writer and success is definitely based on luck. I often wonder myself why I even bother blogging or even potentially publishing a book when most likely it won’t be a huge success as book sales are in fact diminishing as people favor video and audio books and podcasts. But I think as long as you believe in your book and the words you are trying to impart then that is what is most important.
      Thanks again & I will definitely check out your blog!

  2. My opinion is.. doesn’t matter that there are more than one million books or indie authors out there, whoever that supports you right now will support you if you have your own book. We all have fears but if we don’t take a risk and go for it, then you’ll wonder later on in life ..”what if”. Just go for it! I’m confident you’ll be successful and your book will do just fine.

    1. thanks and you make a good point. That is why growing a presence on social media and promoting your book is so important.

  3. Haha you just pour down all of my fears 😅😅😅 along with my blog growth one of my dream is to publish a book, but all of the fears you have listed above made me push that dream for upto 5 or 6 years later…. currently I am focusing on to become a better writer ❤❤

    1. That is a good focus to have! IN order to succeed as an author, we must create the best content possible . I wish you luck on your book

  4. CONGRATULATIONS on your first book. . . oh, you didn’t publish it yet (😞) Never mind.
    Just teasin’ of course. I seem to procrastinate perpetually on writing a book, because of the same reasons you list here. And then there is this word of discouragement that even comes from the Bible (usually a source of ENcouragement!)
    “The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-12 😉
    Best wishes and daily prayers, my friend.

    1. LOL thank you!
      I am in the process of writing a children’s book based on my biracial experiences but I am also grappled with certain fears that I underline here. It is tough being a new writer, an indie writer nonetheless, especially in a world that is oversaturated with content, preconceived notions of what an indie book is, and a lessening demand for books.

  5. I can imagine these are all very real fears – I had some that where very similar when I went freelance with my blog/business! 1 star reviews do hurt but at the end of the day you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea x

  6. These are all valid. I’ve been indie publishing for about ten years and I’ve gotten to a point where I was making about $20-40 monthly after years of marketing and promoting my books on social media. Some of my books have over 5 reviews, which is something. The growth has been small, but in time you will attract some readers, and hopefully one day you’ll attract enough to make a sustainable income from writing. I could definitely use some better marketing tips here!

    1. Hi Sara!
      Thanks so much for reading and leaving such a thoughtful comment. The prospect that you described is certainly sad… but as with blogging, we must venture on and slowly but steadily (with lots and lots of luck) we will be able to earn enough.

      1. Yes indeed. I had meant for it to be encouraging lol. I find it inspiring, really, that our income can be limitless once we tap into the right market.

      2. Yes absolutely one of the best things about the digital age is that we have many more opportunities to literally be our own boss & work from home.

  7. Keep dreaming 🙂

    Those fears are valid. Thanks for sharing.

    I self-published a book last 2019 – I felt happy for accomplishing something though it didn’t fly as expected.

    but like I said – let’s keep on dreaming. Better days ahead!

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