Common wisdom nuggets for indie authors (and my thoughts on them)

When you start out as a writer interested in indie publishing, and you look around for advice, a way to get started, there is broad consensus on an array of things you “should do”. For a while, I felt these things didn’t fit me, without knowing what it was about certain ways to go about it that appalled me.

Let’s look at what conventional wisdom of indie authors says about having success as a writer without going the traditional publishing route.

Create a web presence. That’s what this homepage is, and the idea of having a place of my own, where people interested in my books, can find out about them. They can see what I wrote, they can read my blog posts if they’re so inclined, and WordPress allows them to subscribe to the blog to keep up-to-date.

Create a social media presence. There is no one way to go about this, and they all have upsides and problems. Some authors run groups on Facebook, others go on Instagram, and TikTok has gained some popularity in the recent past. But I chose not to do this. I’m a writer, I write books, not Facebook posts and I don’t know and don’t want to learn how to attract “followers”. I’m not interested in followers, I’m interested in writing books. If these books then make people happy, then that’s great, but I’m not living off my writing (I’m a teacher), and even if I did, I’d rather not work my ass off using tools I really dislike and never use privately, for “business purposes”.

Create a newsletter. I didn’t do that. I hate email spam, and I know nobody who actually enjoys getting ads in their mail, even though other writers constantly tell me they love them. Yeah, right? You don’t, and you won’t make me love them either, and I won’t spam people’s email addies with my ads. I have a blog, come and check me out, subscribe to that if you want to, but if you want to forget me and rediscover me ten years from now, then that’s cool with me.

Create a “reader magnet” to lure people into signing up for your trash — err, newsletter. No. You could argue that my blog functions like a newsletter, and that my serialised posting of Pendulum works in similar ways to a reader magnet, but you can come and read it without subscribing to my blog, and you can scroll through all my posts and pick those you find interesting. You have them all before your eyes at once (with some scrolling) and can just pick from the menu.

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