A little over a year ago I began my journey as an Indie author. My job in IT was downsized, I was tired of moving bits and bytes around, and I had little enthusiasm to continue working in the field. Twenty years was plenty. But what would I do to make money? How would I feed my two young children? Pay the mortgage? Ugh!
I wish I could say the light came on and I knew exactly what I wanted. That’s how it works in the movies, right? But what really happened was I decided I wasn’t going to be one of those unemployed guys parked on a sofa playing video games all day, just waiting for that dream job to knock on the door. I kept one foot in the IT world by doing contract web design work to keep some money coming in. At the same time I did a lot of reading online about how to author books and publish them. I had some books I’d written for fun, and I wondered if I could sell them…
In 2014 I wrote my first novel as part of the November edition of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoMo). I was so pleased with the result I began writing a second book in early 2015, and a third in mid-2015. By the time I was let go in August 2015 I was about halfway done with book 3. If I was going to be unemployed, I figured I’d use the time wisely and finish those books and publish them to Amazon Kindle. All the articles I’d read said it was super easy.
At the time I wasn’t necessarily thinking the books would make me any money. The simple act of writing them was satisfaction enough. Publishing was just my way of declaring them “real.”
In December 2015 I published Since the Sirens: Sirens of the Zombie Apocalypse, Book 1. In January 2016 I published book 2. February was book 3. Those were the three books I had already completed, minus editing. Once book 3 went out the door, and the series started to sell, I realized a) this WAS a way to make money and b) I needed to write more books!
For me, #PoweredByIndie helped motivate me to write six books in my zombie series during 2016 — each title was close to 100k words. It was an exhausting process, but sales and reviews have justified the effort. Granted, I’m not making much more money than if I worked for minimum wage at a fast food establishment, but this is the foundation for a career I’m building. Being an indie means I have to learn the craft, learn how to write to market, learn what makes a good cover, become my own marketer, and most importantly learn what works (and doesn’t) for other indie writers. I’ve joined author communities like 20BooksTo50k — designed to help writers reach that magical place called “being an author” full time.
“Being an author” is hard work. It has been the hardest year of my life in terms of employment. I’ve spent weekends editing. I’ve spent Friday nights formatting print books. I’ve sweated deadlines and dealt with the pressure of not making enough to balance the checkbook. But, every ounce of sweat goes into my own business. It helps me improve my next book. It brings me closer to permanently working at the “job” I’ve loved more than any other in my life. After a year of banging keys, I’d say I’m almost there.
Now, I must get on down the tracks. I have another book to write!
Thank you for learning about my story.