Friday, October 19, 2018

Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—What If I Can't Do It?

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

#1 in a series where I answer questions I suspect you are asking

Indie Author: I took an indie class by some girl named Tracy Tunes Hooton or something like that, and she said I have to publish a book every 90 days or I might as well not do it at all. But I can’t do that. It’s not how I work. Do I have to give up on my dream of being my own boss and running my own empire?

No! You don’t! 

Let’s consider the case of Dorothy Sayers, the girl in that famous group of Christian literary geniuses, The Inklings.

Dorothy Sayers wrote during the golden era of detective fiction when Agatha Christy was ruling the field in the UK and a guy called Rex Stout was killing it over in the US.

Sayers work is considered some of the best ever produced and much of it holds up to contemporary writing techniques, even though some of her work is almost 100 years old. Her work is smart, moving, charming, her characters are irresistible, and have been made into TV shows.

She wrote sixteen detective novels in her career.

Her detective novels were published between 1923 and 1939. 

That’s one novel a year.

*you might be tempted to say “but she had a traditional publisher behind her to make sure her books got into stores and stuff* but that would be silly, and I think you know it. Indie author sales numbers can outstrip the average trad book because of our control over pricing and ability to run our own ads, etc. 

So what was Sayers doing with the rest of her time? She also taught. And worked in advertising—in fact, she invented the phrase “It pays to advertise!”

She wrote nonfiction works of theology. She wrote articles and poetry. She wrote plays. 

In other words, she hustled.

What does this have to do with the aspiring indie author who can’t write a book every 90 days?


Without a novel every 90 days you have to work a lot harder to advertise, which means you need money to buy ads, which means you have to hustle. You may never ever get to quit your day job. So what? Sayers is considered one of literatures greatest artists, and she hustled just like you will.

So, as always, whether you are working yourself to the bone writing a book every 90 days are burning the midnight oil working side gigs, or day jobs, the secret to success in literature indie-style, is lots of hard work!

Do you have a day job or a side hustle? What do you love about it?

Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—What If I Can't Do It? @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Publishing isn't a one-size-fits-all endeavor - thoughts from @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Other Posts in This Series
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—What If I Can't Do It? (Part 1)
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—Aren’t All Indie Books Bad? (Part 2)
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—But Everyone Else is Cheating, Why Can’t I? (Part 3) 
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—Help Pirates! (Part 4)
Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—I'm Ready for the Big Time! (Part 5)

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven RomanticMysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at


  1. That's encouraging, Traci. It seems like all I do is hustle, but I'm still standing in one spot. And a book every 90 days? Wowza, that's a bunch.

    1. It is an obscene, absurd, amount of writing, and it is an amazing way to have great success as an indie one should let it hold them back from doing the best THEY can do.

  2. Well... in my book, a book every 3 months is ridiculous. Does that include editing? Formatting? Two a year would be the absolute most a person could do. But then, who am I?

    1. Let me give you a picture of what this looks like for the indies making it work. :D

      They write full time, to start. It is their primary job. So they are able to write something over 5ooo words a day, with ease, 5 days a week. That will get you a full length novel in a month no trouble. It sits for a bit, then gets some rewrites, then goes to an editor or two. It comes back midway through the second month, changes are made, rewriting is finished, and then off to final edits and beta readers.

      Final changes are made by the end of month three and the book is published.

      While the book is with various editors, plotting and prewriting is being done on the next book as well as advertising.

      Other writers knock out the first draft in that first month and let it simmer while they do the editing processes on a book that has been simmering already.

      Many indie authors are able to work a little faster than the three months per book because they can either write faster than 5ooo or so in a day, or write cleaner and don't need as extensive edits as some will.

      I write 16oo and hour with ease, so I have no excuses to not do the every-three-months plan!

      The thing keeping most writers from being able to go full time indie is that...they have to work to afford to go indie at all.

      Those who can jump in with both feet have a huge advantage.