The Biggest Block to an Indie Writer’s Success

Clyo Beck

When you first conceived of your book, it
was so exciting. In the creative flow, you probably told yourself that you
would have no trouble getting it published because what was coming through was
so darned good. It would be a gift to
the world.

What you didn’t tell yourself was that
editing and preparing it for publication would be easy. Or fun. Or cheap. You
didn’t affirm that you would connect with the perfect publishing platform because
you weren’t at all sure that you would. Neither did you jump up and down with
joy at the thought of marketing your book.

In fact, as you recall the process you went
through, you may realize that, at times, you felt almost apologetic about writing
a book. Sometimes you couldn’t tell if your writing was brilliant or a bunch of
poop. Doubts about yourself and the value of your writing kicked in. Who were
you to be so audacious? Who were you to expect to be published? Who were you to
make money when so many other writers don’t make a dime?   

Yet, we’re in an Indie revolution; so you
decided that you would self-publish. After all, who has time to deal with the endless
submissions and rejections associated with traditional publishing? Who wants to
play the Catch-22 game of “you must have an agent to get published, but
you must be published to get an agent.” Besides, how hard could it be to publish
a book yourself?

With the desire to write so fervent within
your soul, you had no choice but to keep writing, and it was exhilarating. As
idea after idea came to you, and as the pieces of the puzzle that was your book
came together, you felt on fire. This had to be your higher guidance kicking
in, right? You had to be writing for an audience who really needed—and would
love—what you offered…right? Your book would just have to sell…right?

But then that inner doubter—the one
embedded in you when you were a little kid—started circling you, like a
vulture. While it couldn’t stop the flow of inspiration coming through, it started
to sabotage you. The result is that you started to doubt yourself and
everything about your process. Then things started to snowball. You signed a contract
with a print-on-demand publisher before your book was finished. You found
yourself facing a deadline you had to meet or you’d forfeit your deposit.

As a result, you didn’t have time to take
your chapters to a critique group or read through your book out loud. Tired of
trying to figure out whether your writing was good enough or not—and in a panic
to get your book up and just be done with it so you could try and recoup the
money you were investing in self-publishing—you decided you could do without a
professional edit.

After all, what could it hurt? You can
write, right? And, besides, these are your
words. Why do they have to be edited? Why can’t they stand as you first wrote
them? Isn’t that what will make your book unique? What can anyone else possibly
add to what has emerged from you? And how dare they think to subtract anything?
Besides, editors are too darn expensive.

So you rushed yourself into self-publishing
with a print-on-demand publisher. The bad news is that your book isn’t selling.
So you feel sick, and like a failure. You don’t even tell people you wrote a
book. You’re afraid they’ll read it and think less of you because, secretly,
you’re afraid your book is junk and doesn’t measure up, especially since you
discovered a couple of typos in it. Worse, you are afraid to try again. You are
afraid to write another book.

So, what’s happening? Wasn’t the Indie
movement supposed to empower you? Weren’t you supposed to be earning your
living as an author by now? What’s going on?

Why Are You Failing At Your Dream?
You need to heal your beliefs about what
you deserve before you put yourself and your work out there, or you’ll just be
kicked around.

See if this feels true for you:
While, in your heart, it felt like your
writing had value as you put words down on the page, your inner critic kept
sniping at you. It said what you were writing wouldn’t sell. It poked and
prodded you, and got you to doubt what you thought was truest in you. You may
have even felt some shame about daring to write a book. And that’s when that sinking
feeling that you were going to fail showed up.   

At that point, if you were like me, you
went to a marketing guru to get an opinion about your book. In exchange for the
fee, you were told that the general consensus in the publishing industry would
be that your book was too “different” and there wasn’t a market for

Since that was your greatest fear, it made
sense to you that you would receive that depressing review. Yet what you might
not have realized is that the review you received was a self-fulfilling
prophesy. The reviewer was merely reflecting your most deeply held belief.

The Power Of Your Deepest Beliefs
The lesson offered here is this: your deepest beliefs determine your result.
This means that your own subconscious belief system, when it’s negative, is the
biggest block you face as an Indie writer. So, before you put pen to paper
again, take a personal inventory of your beliefs. Do you have doubts about your
value, or the value of your output? Do you, secretly, think that you cannot
write well enough to meet the standards of a traditional publisher?

If so, publishing on the Indie platform is
unlikely to get you sales. If you don’t believe in your work, that will come
through in your writing, in your promotion, in your face, and in every word you
utter about your book. Yet, instead of despairing, simply realize that you have
inner work to do, and do it. Emotional Freedom Technique is great for this, but
explore and find what works for you.

If you have finished your book and received
feedback that it’s really good, still check in with yourself before you publish
it. See whether you have any beliefs or fears that will interfere with book
sales. For instance, imagine yourself contacting people to review your book. Then
imagine animatedly promoting your book when you talk to people. Can you do? Are
you looking forward to it? Or do these ideas make you feel uncomfortable?

If the idea of marketing your book makes
you cringe, you have blocks to success that must be cleared. It may be that an
inner aspect doesn’t value your perspective or your work. If your family
struggled with money when you were a child, you might have subconscious blocks
to abundance. You might even have energetic blocks to being happy.

If any
of this resonates with you, don’t put yourself out there again before
correcting your core beliefs. You’ll only be battered around by the publishing
world and ignored by readers. Take the time to clear all self-sabotage and program
yourself for success.

How Can An Indie Author Be Successful?
realize that writing is an honorable endeavor that requires patience, time, and
respect. As Richard Bolles, the author of What
Color Is Your Parachute?
once told me, “It takes three times longer to
do anything than you think it will.” He was right; so be prepared to
invest the time.

Second, if
you feel driven to write a book and it feels like a joyful “calling”
then there is an audience for it. You will, however, not connect with that
audience until you value your perspective, value your work, believe you have an audience and know you deserve success. So start with
healing that part of you that does not believe what you write is of value, or doubts
you deserve money for writing. Heal the core beliefs that work against you, including
those that would allow you to put an inferior book on the market, and
everything else will begin to fall into place.

Third, make
sure your book is well-written. Find a critique group and read a chapter of
your book to the group each week.  Really
listen to the feedback and take notes. Read select pages aloud at open mics and
glance out to see whether the audience is fidgeting and longing for escape,
falling asleep, or rapt with attention. Tighten your prose and tighten it
again, draft after draft. Polish it like gem you intend for someone you love. When
you feel you have tightened and polished as much as you can, have your book
professionally edited.

If you can’t afford an editor, then, at the
very least, go through your book and read it out loud, word by word—with your
finger beneath each word as you read it—to make sure you have no mistakes in
grammar, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization. Do this because your eye is
treacherous. It will skip over all the other letters in a word when the first
and last letters of that word are correct. Your brain then “sees” the
word that should be there—the one you
expect to see—instead of the misspelling that is actually there.  

Fourth, when
your book is ready for publication, fling yourself into the arms of Amazon’s
Kindle Direct Publishing. It costs nothing, and Amazon has a free book that
walks you through the process. Your sales potential is huge and growing bigger
as iPhone and e-book sales rise exponentially. Millions of people visit Amazon to
search for titles, whether they buy there or not. Given that Amazon’s sales and
marketing processes are the gold standard for selling books, there’s no good reason
to start anywhere else. Plus, you have great creative leeway. For instance, if
you decide your cover isn’t compelling enough, you can switch it and try
another one—anytime.

Fifth, after
your book is live, solicit reviews. Look at other books in your genre and
contact the people who have reviewed those books. When you sign up for KDP
Select, you get twenty days a year (five days per quarter) when you can offer
your book to reviewers for free. This is something you must use because your
success lies in getting good reviews. Until you have fifty or more great
reviews for you book (and some say the magic number is 300), do not expect
sales to take off. So budget part of your time every week for contacting reviewers.
Keep a list of the people who have agreed to review your book. When you have
ten people on your list, schedule a free download day and let them know when it
is. Persistence will win the race.

instead of worrying about why your book isn’t selling, start another one. Very
few authors have made a living with just one book. So if you are serious about
living off your royalties, keep writing. Improve your craft. Build up a body of

Seventh, when
you have a well-reviewed and good-selling e-book, that’s the time to issue a
hardbound version, not before.

My Book Is A Flop And I Know It
So what if you published, but those who reviewed your book didn’t like it? Or what if, like some Indie publishers, you didn’t take your book to a critique group and you published a poorly-edited stinker? What if that is precisely where you are, and you realize your book is never going to sell?

The beauty of KDP is that you can do a
rewrite. You can, potentially, make that stinker into something good. Issue it
as version two. You can even delete the old title, rename your book, and start
over. There’s no penalty. There are no deadlines. There are no lost fees. You
can even go back to the people who reviewed your book, and tell them you took
their reviews to heart and completely rewrote your book because of what they

A reader can experience nothing more
flattering than for a new author to take his or her opinion seriously. To have an
author correct typos, grammar, or a confusing plot line to please me and make
my reading experience more enjoyable would mean that my input was appreciated,
and who doesn’t love to be appreciated?

People love to be helpful and it can feel exciting
to be part of a process that helps a fledgling writer become a better writer. So
don’t think you’ve burned your bridges with your readers if your first book—or
first version—bombed. Simply try again.

Wherever you are in your writing and publishing process, it’s important to realize that this writing game is not all about the money. It’s not about hoping for a one-hit wonder. Neither is it just a learning process. It’s a litmus test of your self-esteem, flexibility, and courage. It will shine a glaring light on the beliefs you hold about your value and the value of your perspective. Both the quality of your book and the sales you make will show you, in real time, what you think about yourself and what you think you deserve.

If you don’t love writing, the Indie route
is probably not for you. It’s a road that reveals the truth to us about who we
are, and so you will have to face that you may not be a writer (because a
writer loves to write).

If you love writing, then the Indie route is
the best road to be on—despite the potholes—because it will lead you to your
true self. That’s the Self who knows you deserve to earn a good living doing
what you love, and that you can earn
a good living doing what you love, no matter what others—including big
publishing houses—think about your work.

When you go the Indie way, you do all the
work that you’d have to do for a traditional publisher—including marketing your
book—with the difference that you are
in control. You get to make all the decisions about your book. While that makes
you responsible for quality control, it also gives you tremendous creative
leeway. You can write the book you want to write, not the one that focus groups
say will sell. In other words, you get to be your most adventurous and
expansive self.

So go Indie!
Prayerforce Book of Prayer

Written in a fire of divine inspiration,
Prayerforce Book of Prayer was created as a year-long journey of transformation
to bring the reader in closer contact with God.

The beautiful and heart-felt
prayers in this collection offer ongoing insight, comfort, and inspiration. Focused
on raising our vision of humanity, this book is not just a spiritual resource,
but a “spiritual treatment” designed to bless you on your path in

Hardbound copy of Prayerforce 365 Days To A
New Life

Author Clyo Beck

Clyo was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio
and received her Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University. She worked as
a teacher of the developmentally disabled before moving to California where she
served as a claims adjuster and vocational consultant before beginning a
private practice as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. 

Clyo moved to Florida in 2001 and created Prayerforce.Org, a prayer website and
blog dedicated to achieving world peace. In 2004 she published Prayerforce: 365
Days To A New Life. In 2007 she conducted experiential spiritual workshops on
the power of images to harm and heal for the Thomas Merton Society Of Canada.

Clyo writes short stories, poems, prayers and inspirational essays. She has
been involved with critique groups in Florida and London, Ontario since 2001
and served as the founding president of the London Writers’ Society from
2007-2008. Married to a Canadian, Clyo and her husband have residences in both
the U.S. and Canada.

Anything you want to say about this post?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.