Inspiring quotes from self-published authors can often help anyone who sets off on the sometimes daunting quest to write and self-publish a book. It is very easy to get discouraged during the self-publishing process. There is never a shortage of inner and outer critics. In case you need to clear away the glomming grey clouds of gloom, below you will find inspiring quotes from some recent popular self-published (indie) writers.
Included are some examples of writers who start by self-publishing and then, because of high sales, they attract the attention of a traditional publisher. Surprisingly, some writers choose to go from having a traditional publisher, back to the full control that self-publishing gives them. Some writers start and stay with self-publishing while a few have both a traditional publisher and self-publish. Some start writing when very young, while others only get started in their elder years. All their stories provide insight, practical information, and inspiration.
Also, be sure to check out our Self-Publishing Resources section to find tools, resources, and services that you might need to see your publishing project to completion.
inspiring quotes from best-selling self-published authors
“Every author should begin their writing career self-publishing, even if their dream is to be with a large publisher. … The key to making it as a writer is to write a lot, write great stories, publish them yourself, spend more time writing, study the industry, act like a pro, network, be nice, invest in yourself and your craft, and be patient.” ––Hugh Howey, Digital Book World interview, 2016
“I write because I love it, not because I see readers as dollar signs. I am very, very passionate about my work, and I take it very seriously that people are inviting me to entertain them every time they buy a book.” ––Amanda Hocking
“Self-publishing will play an increasing role in the future. The big publishing houses are keeping an eye on self-publishing books, and if sales are going well, they will most likely offer the author a contract. Therefore, I believe that self-publishing will become the new way of breaking into traditional publishing.” ––Emelie Schepp, (Sweden’s top self-published author)
“I wasted four years waiting for agents to tell me that my book was worthy of publication. Then I decided: let readers decide what’s worth reading, not agents or publishers.” Eva advised newbie self-publishers to research: “Use search terms like, ‘worst mistakes I made when I self-published.’” ––Eva Lesko Natiello (From Self-Published to Bestseller)
“The benefit of remaining independent is that you can take your own creative and business decisions, so I chose to leave them both in because I preferred the story,” Ross added. “As it happened, readers did too…” –– L.J. Ross (4.5 million books sold)
“How could I be so popular and yet rejected so often?”
Sometimes the most inspiring quotes from self-published authors come from those who faced rejection early on, but didn’t let it stop them.
” …after thirteen novels, and more than a hundred rejections, I quit…vowing never to write creatively again. Well, never turned out to be almost a decade, as I couldn’t suppress the itch any longer. Over those eight years, a story had been growing in my head and I decided I would write it on just one condition: that I wouldn’t seek publication.” ––Michael J. Sullivan, best-selling author
“My stories hit favorite lists left and right. I stood there and read through these, shaking my head in confounded bewilderment. How could I be so popular and yet rejected so often?” ––Heather Killough-Walden
“After he self-published three autobiographical works, Smith was given the opportunity to write a column in the Guardian. …The essay caught the eye of a book agent, who thought Smith evoked the spirit of a generation. … It was also, says Smith, ‘a blockbuster.’ … At 91, the legend of Harry Leslie Smith was born.” ––Toronto Star interview with Harry Leslie Smith
“I’m working all the time so that every book is better than the last one. I don’t mind having done my learning in public. I do cringe a bit when I look at the early books but it’s what I did to get where I am now.” ––Adam Croft
Choosing self-publishing over traditional
“[Self-publishing and using Kickstarter] turned into a way for us to be able to reclaim power, and we were able to negotiate our place in the literary world thanks to the backing of community support.” ––Author & illustrator of Trailblazers: The Black Pioneers Who Have Shaped Canada
“Francis found one of the benefits of self-publishing is that she has the power to have the book translated into the two Indigenous languages of New Brunswick: Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaq.” ––Gail Francis of Negotkuk (Tobique First Nation)
“Although nothing about self-publishing is easy or simple, I am the captain of my own ship. Whether a title sinks or sails is on me. I am the sole steward of my failures and victories—and there will be both. Not every writer is comfortable with that responsibility.” ––Jamie McGuire
“ …you wanna know a secret? I prefer to self publish. I love having total control over my books, from the original ideas, to the editing, to the cover design, to the formatting, to the release dates, and finally to the marketing. … Both publishers found me through the modest success of my ebooks.” ––J.R. Rain
“[Mudgett] faced a momentous decision — to take the money and attractive contract or to remain true to his convictions. The convictions won out, and he decided to self-publish instead. … His TED talk caught the attention of The History Channel, which led to a mini-series based on his book, ‘Bloodstains: American Ripper.'” ––Interview with Jeff Mudgett
“WRITING IS ALL ABOUT THE READER”
“Writing is all about the reader. I never sit down and start out thinking about ‘what I’d like to write.’ I start out with what I’d like to read. I’m even more interested in what others would like to read. I think about the reader all the time. … Writing is not about me. It’s about my readers.” –– B.V. Larson
“If there’s something to be learned by me, HP Mallory, Selena Kitt, Karen McQuestion, Amanda Hocking, LJ Sellers, Michael R. Sullivan, and the many other indies currently doing well, it’s that good books can find a wide audience without New York. But before that can happen, those books have to be self-published.” ––J.A. Konrath
“Write the best book you can, producing the best final product you can, using whatever set of tools and methods you favour. People who succeed at anything do so by making that thing a priority in their life. They work at it daily; even a little bit. They think about it, even when they are not working on it. They constantly strive to improve and learn new things about their priority.” ––Kevin McLaughlin
“Although publishing quickly is critical to success in the independent world, Mancuso and Crawford said they aim to match the quality of trade-published books, which receive months of editing. One method they employ to keep reader interest high is stockpiling books in a series as they write, then releasing all of the titles within a few weeks, making binge-reads possible.” ––Interview with C.N. Crawford
Dealing with criticism and bad book reviews
“…you can’t please everyone. Nor should you try to, as a writer or anything else really. So how, as a writer, do you respond to public negativity? First rule: you don’t.” ––Devon C Ford (best-selling, self-published dystopian fiction author)
“Too many writers get stuck trying to get their first book noticed and when it isn’t, they become discouraged. It’s understandable – writing a book takes a great deal of effort, physical and emotional. So does promoting. But the very best calling-card for a book is another book. The sooner you can get over yourself and move on to book two, then book three, the better.” ––Orna Ross, founder of Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)
Writers Overcoming fear
“While ensconced in the writing cave, I suffer the same anxieties that most writers experience. I wonder if my garbled words are making sense. … And I scratch my head and deliberate whether the quality of my writing will be enough to entertain my readers. … Despite that, I always manage to push through all the insecurities. I have to.” –– Martin Crosbie (best-selling ebook author)
“There are almost too many to name. I find indy publishing frightening. That lack of a barrier is both a curse and a blessing…. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that I felt more supported while traditionally published. I’m flying solo now. I’m Lindbergh over the Atlantic with no radio.” –– William Kowalski, (award-winning author who was traditionally published, then switched to self-publishing)
“While writing itself hasn’t changed, the way books are marketed has – and it changes constantly. You have to be on your toes, have able people helping you and not be afraid to lay down one tool and pick up another.” –– Sable Hunter (full-time self-published romance/suspense author)
Self-Publishing with no monetary goals
While the writers above have had big successes, many writers who self-publish simply want to share their story and see where it goes. And sometimes, sales take off.
In the case of Andy Weir, author of The Martian, he simply put his story out there (free online). He did no marketing but found readers, then a small publishing company found the story, then a big publishing company, and finally, a movie was made.
“I was surprised that anyone was interested. Remember, at this time, I didn’t think that the book would have any mainstream appeal. So I thought it was just – oh, you know, it’s just a book, you know, by a dork for dorks.” Andy Weir (best-selling author of The Martian)
In another example, the author of the popular web-based series Worm offers this advice:
“I was lucky in that my expectations were nil as I wrote Worm. Every new reader was a pleasant surprise, every uptick in views. It didn’t matter that it took almost a year before comments were regular … writing for the sake of writing and having no expectations at all might be better.” ––Wildbow (John C. McCrae)
For the author of Still Alice, her reasons for writing and self-publishing were about sharing complicated medical topics in an emotionally relatable way, and asking those big questions about life:
“I see the tragedy and I witness the losses and the devastation. I also witness the most remarkable love and intimacy and caring. And so, it has to be about the human story.” –– Lisa Genova
Self-published writers in history
There are also many inspiring quotes from self-published authors we can find back in history. There are many famous historical writers who self-published at some point in their career. This includes notable authors such as Poe, Blake, Austin, Whitman, Proust, Milton, Woolf, e.e. cummings, Beatrix Potter and more. However, this is a whole other topic. To learn more, start here. Their stories are also inspiring.
Updated January 2021