Indie authors rule!

Like traditionally published authors, they’re smart and motivated. They write their books for a reason so they want people to read them. But unlike many of the authors who have traditional publishers backing their writing project, indie authors know from the beginning that they and only they are responsible for promoting their books.

This is a big deal.

It means that they begin learning about book publicity, promotion, and marketing long before their publication date is confirmed. They’re often starting to learn how to get the word out when they’re still writing “ and acting on what they learn at the same time. They’re reading books, taking courses like mine, asking questions, and building the networks that will constitute their platform.

Indies understand DIY 

Authors going the conventional route often don’t discover how little their publisher can do to support them until their book is almost on shelves whether those shelves are virtual or real. They also often accept publisher promotional promises without considering whether those promises will actually have an impact on their book sales.

One author I know contracted with a publishing company for her e-book instead of going the self-published route partly because the publisher said it would send information about her book to thousands and thousands of people on its in-house list.

Your book is for a specific niche audience, I pointed out.Is your audience on that list?

I don’t know, she said.

Well, you know the rest of that story, right? The e-mail campaign didn’t generate sales. It was a good learning experience; she has already decided to independently publish her next e-book.

Indie advantages make a difference

As far as book promotion is concerned, indie authors have a number of advantages over their traditionally published counterparts. Here are just a few:

Indies can react more quickly. This is important, for example, when there’s breaking news that an author can comment on with knowledge and authority in media interviews or with a traffic-generating blog post. You can reach out to your local media contacts much more quickly and easily than an in-house publicist can when you have something significant and relevant to say in this situation.

Indies know how to shift gears. If you’ve tried a tactic that works, you might want to put other tactics in your book marketing plan on hold so you can do more of what’s working. Publishing houses can’t spot and respond to these patterns as quickly as indies can.

Indies are plugged into their markets. You know who blogs and tweets about your book’s topic or category. Because conventional publishers aren’t always very specialized, they have to spend time identifying those influencers that you began connecting with before you even started writing your book.

Indies know they always need to be learning. They’re asking questions in writers forums or LinkedIn groups. They’re reading books or taking courses that explain how to do specific tasks they need to master. They’re looking online for knowledge and information they need. They are sponges.

Indies have control. Control can make such a big difference, can’t it? I’m working with an indie author now who wanted to get back cover blurbs for her upcoming nonfiction book, but didn’t think she had time because the somewhat random publication date she had selected was looming. When I reminded her that she had as much time as she needed because she was in charge of the publishing process, I could almost see the light bulb pop up over her head.

Indies are motivated. Let’s be honest: You have to spend money to make money, right? Independent authors who are smart enough to invest in a professional cover design and manuscript editing have to sell enough books to cover those expenses. That means they work hard to get the word out.

This isn’t a commentary on authors who are traditionally published, of course. I’ve gone that route several times, as have many of my amazing author friends. I understand why they do it “ and there are many excellent reasons to pursue that path. But as someone with experience with both approaches, I’ll say that I continue to be impressed with the self-published authors I meet and advise. They are open to learning, able to shift gears quickly, and they know how to make things happen.

Indies: Leverage these advantages and watch your book sales soar.



Sandra Beckwith is a former national award-winning publicist who now teaches authors how to promote and publicize their books. Get free tips and subscribe to her complimentary Build Book Buzz e-zine at