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  • Kharma Kelley

25 Things I've Learned as an Indie Author


Self-actualization and accountability are two of my biggest traits. I believe that there are no failures, just learning opportunities. With that said, I've had many aspiring authors and new indie authors ask about the things I've learned. Here's 25 points of my wisdom to share.


1. Be resourceful. 

2. If anyone claims to be an expert in indie book publishing, RUN. They don’t know $#@!

3. Write more, market less. Building a backlist of books should be your goal. The more good books you have, the likely you can keep your sales circulating. Don't write drivel--make it count.

4. Not everyone is going to like your book. Don’t sweat it. That’s a fact for EVERY book.  Yes, even the Harry Potter series.

5. Reviews are for the readers, not for you. Whether it’s one star or 5 stars, getting reviews is super important.

6. If you don’t have a website, you’re already behind. Get a website.

7. The Indie community is a lot smaller than you think. Reputation gets around. Be kind to other authors.

8. Invest in quality editing. Get a Developmental editor, a copy editor and a proofreader. Your book deserves the best.

9. People do judge a book by its cover. Invest in good cover design.

10. Build a email list. Don't rely on Facebook or Twitter followers. You will need a “lead magnet” for this.

11. Automate as much of your marketing as possible. Trust me on this.

12. Everything in book sales is a numbers game.  If you invested $50 into a promotion that only got you 3 book sales @ 99¢, then seriously rethink using that method again.

13. People will try to scam you. Everyone's got the secret formula to a million book sales. Keep your wits about you and get recommendations on services. 

14. Getting your “letters” (hitting the bestseller lists) isn’t everything.  A bestseller doesn’t mean a good or well-written book. Marketing and/or hype is what makes a bestseller.

15. Plan your book launches.  Remember, you should promote 3 months BEFORE your book releases.

16. Build an ARC team. Reviews are super important.

17. On that note, be prepared to send hundreds of free copies only to get 5 or 6 reviews.  That’s just the way it goes. 

18. Send your subscribers/fans emails on their birthday. I get a reply smiley face or Thank you every. single. time. Build a connection and engage your readers.

19. If you get a VA (aka Personal/Virtual Assistant), be sure to leave some engagements for you.  Your fans want to interact with you, not your PA. See #18.

20. Keep your drama-filled life away from your readers. They have their own problems. And they actually came to you to escape theirs!

21. People may not approve of your writing. That’s okay. Good thing other people's opinions don’t determine your life’s path, right?

22. Be resourceful. Can’t stress this enough. 

23. You are a business. Determine a fair price for your book and don’t think twice about it.  You pay for quality in this world. Value your work.

24. Don’t leave your readers hanging.  If you make a book ending on a cliffhanger, you better have the second book drafted already.

25. Write. Don’t make excuses. I wrote chapters during my lunch break, and while I waited in the doctor's office. I dictated in my car while sitting in traffic and while I waited for dinner to finish. You don't have to be a superhero; just work with what time you have. 



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