By Jason Kong
Smart indie authors learn from each other.
One way to do that is through lots of scrutiny. To become a better writer, read those who write well. To improve your marketing, learn from the people with that skill. It’s likely that there’s already someone who has done what you hope to do.
Of course, determining the reason why something works isn’t always obvious. Being a motivated observer doesn’t mean you’ll be able to deconstruct the process on your own. In the end, simply keeping tabs on your role models may be more inspiring than instructive.
The alternative to figuring it out by yourself? Find people leading conversations around the challenges you care about.
There are successful fiction writers taking the initiative, using digital platforms to address issues in self-publishing. These are places where like-minds gather and connect, to analyze and dive deeper into matters impacting indie authors.
If you read and hear what they have to say, you will gain additional perspective. You will have more ideas to advance your efforts. And you may even discover that contributing to the discussion is one of the best ways to get the clarity you seek.
I’ve identified nine fiction authors that have established followings interested in self-publishing. Give these folks a look, and see if you can acquire some insights that help your cause.
- Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
In addition to being prolific authors, Sean and Johnny are also savvy marketers. They understand success as an indie publisher also means being a businessperson, and that you have to do both very well.They’re also pretty funny guys. Prepare to be entertained.
- Their Self-Publishing Podcast.
- Their book of self-publishing advice, Write. Publish. Repeat.
- How the idea of product funnels can increase your book sales.
- CJ Lyons
CJ made the career switch from ER doc to writing thrillers, but her aim was the same: to change the world and make a difference. These days, she’s a hybrid author which means she both traditionally publishes and self-publishes her books. She’s quite successful at both.
- Lindsay Buroker
When she’s not writing stories revolving around adventure and fantasy, Lindsay blogs about self-publishing and marketing. Because she’s willing to experiment and share her results, she’s a must-read for indie authors, especially those seeking that level of transparency.
- Her blog, which often has good self-publishing and marketing advice.
- What happens when an established self-publishing author starts over from scratch. What advice would she give herself?
- Lindsay’s landing page for a free story that introduces new readers to her work.
- Joanna Penn
Somehow Joanna manages to write both fiction and non-fiction, run a podcast, maintain several blogs, and does speaking engagements too. On top of all that? She’s both super helpful and nice.
- Her blog, containing tons of resources for writers.
- Her comprehensive guide on How to Market a Book. I recommend it.
- Her blog for readers of her thrillers under her pen name.
- David Gaughran
David is respected for his knowledge about digital publishing, which he shares in depth through his blog and several books. If you have any interest in being an indie author, you’ll definitely want to read his stuff.
- His blog, full of publishing industry insights and marketing tactics.
- A free version of his book, Let’s Get Digital.
- His take on book pricing on the cheap side.
- Joe Konrath
Highly opinionated and no-nonsense, Joe often blogs about the publishing big picture and how the various changes impact indie authors. His archives include plenty of advice and resources for writers new to the business, and he’s quite willing to share his personal experience too.
Joe primarily writes thrillers. His body of work is impressive.
- His blog, which will make you think and push you to do better.
- A summary of what he believes when it comes to writing and publishing.
- A useful post on writing, digital publishing, and marketing.
Nathan is a former literary agent that has now written several children’s novels. He blogs about both the writing craft and business, and supports both traditional and self-publishing paths.
- His blog, where he always has something interesting to say.
- What to ask yourself if you’re considering self-publishing.
Hugh is very passionate. About his storytelling, sure, but also what it means to be a writer today and what it takes to make readers happy. His thoughts and ideas on publishing are worth pondering.
- His blog, a mixture of insightful and inspiring.
- His AuthorEarnings project, which aggregates data for authors so that they can make better decisions.
- His post on the state of self-publishing, as he sees it.
Elizabeth is a mystery author that mostly blogs about the various challenges writers face, often sharing her personal experience. She leads a very supportive community, and welcomes others to chime in with their perspective.
- Her blog, a good place to find useful tips, links, and resources.
- Writer’s Knowledge Base, a search engine for writers that she co-manages.
- Her thoughts on different distribution channels she’s using to reach readers.
I’m sure there’s worthy self-publishing fiction writers not covered here. Who would you recommend and why?