Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Indie Tuesday—A Year Learned

by Jessica Keller @AuthorKeller

In the past year I’ve tried to share as much as I could about the life of an indie author. I hope someone out there has found Indie Tuesday useful. I’ve really enjoyed my time on The Write Conversation and appreciate the interactions I’ve had with so many of you. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and today marks my final day as a regular contributor to this blog.
So what have I learned this year?

Keep your focus. I’ve learned that I need to focus more on the vision I have for my career and let my “yes” be used for things that build toward my career goals. I’ve too often said yes to really good things that didn’t fall in line with where I wanted my career to head, or what I had chosen to focus on and got off track this past year. A lot. In that vein, I will be (attempting) to follow Edie’s excellent example and work on building a better schedule over at my personal blog. I will also be focusing on only writing novels that fit into my goals for 2015.

Swallow your pride. I’m strongly considering moving my young adult fiction under a pen name, which will mean rebranding myself some. Is this a good move? Actually, for an indie, this is an excellent move. Regrettably, its one I fought for a long time because I really only wanted to manage one online profile, but my audiences are starting to hurt each other. I have inspirational romance readers who have questioned if my Love Inspired books would be enjoyable for them since I write “those kid books” and I have teens contacting me telling me they are nervous to read my YA book because they saw I write inspirational romance.

So learn from me. If you are going to write for audiences that are diversely different, consider a pen name before your books start coming out.

Do what you love. Know what? I love writing young adult fiction. It makes me giddy. When I’m in the midst of working on my young adult fantasy books I’ll stay up until two in the morning typing away—lost in the story. My inspirational romances, not as much. Don’t get me wrong, I love the romances I write. It just feels different when I write them. I schedule out my time and set a timer to make myself get a certain word count in. I will continue to write both genres, but I realized this year that my time spent on both need to be flip-flopped. So going forward the bulk of my time will go toward my YA books and a smaller percentage will be left to write my romances. I think this’ll reenergize my writing time going into 2015.

Reach out. For a long time I’ve lamented that fact that I don’t have tons of really close writing friends (especially in the indie arena). Being an indie is difficult and it’s a journey that you really need to have support on.

When I first started talking about “going indie” it was still considered a bit taboo in the CBA writing world. In some spears it still is. I had many friends who loved my book, but indies need other indies who understand what a long haul this is. Who will support, cry with you over indie specific issues, and people who will help each other with promotions. I spent a good chunk of 2014 frustrated and questioning why I couldn’t find those indie friends that I desperately needed, and then I finally stopped waiting and went looking in a different pond. Consequently I found the #IndieBooksBeSeen movement on Twitter and have found an ocean of support there. It’s made all the difference for me in the last half of the year.

Just keep writing. Remember Dorie? The fish in Finding Nemo that chanted, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. If there is one piece of advice I could leave you with, it’s just keep writing. I know that sounds simplistic, but when it comes to the indie writing world, that really is the biggest part of the puzzle. Want to sell more books? Write another one. Get series out in a timely manner (many of my friends have smashing success with releasing three book series over a 90-120 day period). More books in the Amazon algorithm drives higher sales. And the more books you have out, the less books each you have to sell per month to make a decent living. Books serve as the best promotion for your next book, and your next—as long as they keep coming. A year between each book? That doesn’t bring sales for an indie.

While I won’t be on The Write Conversation in the new year I’m still around and still love chatting about anything writing related. Always feel free to contact me on Twitter or Facebook—especially with indie questions.

The 5 things I learned about my writing career in2014 – via @AuthorKeller #IndieBooksBeSeen #IndiePub #Publishing (Click to Tweet)

Jessica Keller holds degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She is multi-published in both Young Adult Fiction and Inspirational Romance and has 100+ magazine and newspaper articles to her name. Her latest indie release is Searching for Home. She also has a speaking ministry and loves to talk books. Jessica lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their very giggly daughter.

Connect with Jessica through her Website, blogFacebook, Amazon Page, Pinterest, and on Twitter.


  1. Jessica, I'm sad, but completely understand. I've hopefully learned what my "best yeses" are versus just saying "yes" because it's a good thing. I plan to stay connected because I've learned a lot from your posts. You've inspired me to take a bold look into my 2015 goals as I complete 2 more books in my Markers series for single moms. Then I'm going to try my hand at fiction with a story in my head that keeps me up at night. Merry Christmas and many blessings as you move forward in 2015.

  2. Wonderful article, Jessica! As a traditionally published author who has wholeheartedly thrown her hat into the indie ring, I agree it can be a difficult journey, but now that I'm firmly entrenched, I can say it's worth it. As for going back to traditional publishing... Things would have to change mightily to even consider it.

  3. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge, Jessica! Sure hope next year goes as planned for you.

  4. Jess, I'm so blessed to have had you spend this year with us! I hate to see you go, but I'm excited to continue following your personal blog. Merry Christmas! Edie