Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Indie Tuesday—Characteristics of a Successful Indie Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Anyone can self-publish, but not everyone is comfortable the skill-set required to do it with excellence. Today, I’m going to highlight some of the things that prove you’ve got what it takes to be an indie writer. Some of these things apply to any publishing endeavor, but they’re an absolute must for self-publishing.

General Writer Characteristics
  • Story/book ideas that won’t leave you alone. The one thing I hear over and over again from writers is that a specific story and/or book idea won’t leave them alone. Those type of ideas echo in our minds and won’t leave until we commit them to paper.
  • Characters in your mind that talk to you. This is a variation of the point above. Most writers have both characteristics, but as long as you have one, you’ll be able to succeed.

Indie Writer Characteristics
  • A You can’t tell me what to do mind-set. Indie and Hybrid authors are notorious control freaks. This doesn’t mean that we reject valuable professional advice. But we always reserve the right to make the final decision regarding our project.
  • A pioneer mindset. By this I mean the willingness to be on the cutting edge of publishing. We’re not mainstream, we’re blazing a trail for others to follow. This mindset holds that we are willing to risk failure for the sweet taste of success.
  • The courage to try new things. The publishing industry is in a constant state of flux. This is especially true on the Indie side of the equation. That means success comes from trying things you’ve never done before. Beyond that, you have to be willing to spend the time and energy
  • An I’ll never give up attitude. This is vital for writers in general, but especially for Indie writers. A lot of times those authors who pursue a self-publishing course expect almost instant results. Occasionally things can happen fast, but far more often it’s a long-haul proposition. Giving up is the difference between success and failure.
  • A love of books and the people who read them. Indie writers, especially those in the YA genre, have close ties with their readers. The most successful indie writers I meet are actively engaged with their audience.

Like everything in publishing, these aren’t hard and fast rules. The industry is littered with exceptions. But they’re called exceptions for a reason. So I’d love to know what you think. In your opinion, what characteristics are necessary for independent authors to succeed?

Don’t forget to join the conversation,


Characteristics of a successful #IndieAuthor from @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Boy, howdy, so much of this sounds like me, but...I'm torn. My first idea has been to self-publish some of my non-fiction inspirational posts as a springboard for the fiction novels. But, not quite sure how that would look, or how to proceed. Second, I read a comment that went like, 'I've had people tell me they are published authors, then I find out they have self-published. They are people writitng for family and friends...'. I don't know that the person believed that in ALL cases or just in some, but my concern with self-publishing the novels is, one, I want the quality of work that I would be forced to produce if someone else were reading the manuscript. Two I suppose would be validation of the story. Three might be the help in promotion of the item. However, #one could be answered with professional editing--perhaps. #two I don't know how that could be answered in self publishing other than by the book itself hitting the best seller list ;). # three, with the amount of effort/work most publishers want the individual to invest in promoting their own work, I'm not sure how much the third one is valid? So, now that I've written a tome and not said anything, I'm going into politics... ;) Any more thoughts?

    1. Donevy, you've just expressed what we're all struggling with! It's a difficult decision, but I can say I've never regretted waiting until I'm more certain when I face this kind of decision. It's also good to get feedback on the idea for varied places and people, to validate the concept. Beyond that, professional editing is a must, I don't care who you are. The rest is just personal preference and for me, guidance through prayer. Keep learning and growing and you'll never go wrong! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Blessings, E

  2. Totally agree with all of the above. This is my fifth go-round as an indie author, and, while I haven't sold a quadrillion books, I still have the integrity of my work and final creative control -- which plays into the whole "control freak" thing. I know it's a hard road to hoe getting publicity and doing marketing on my own, but I've learned so much in the past four years. Thanks for sharing!