Writing inspiration… who needs it? Well, it is easy to become discouraged when in the process of self-publishing your book or memoir. There is never a shortage of inner and outer critics. To help clear away the grey clouds of gloom, below you will find writing inspiration with quotes and information from some recent popular self-published (indie) writers.
Included are some examples of indie 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, some while in their elder years. All their stories provide insight, practical information, and inspiration.
In addition, be sure to check out the Self-Publishing Resources section to find tools, resources, and services that you might need to see your publishing project to completion.
writing inspiration 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. If you can do all of these things, you’ll earn some money. Maybe enough to pay a bill every month. … Maybe enough to quit your job. Thousands of writers are doing this, and we are welcoming all comers with open arms.” ––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)
“How could I be so popular and yet rejected so often?”
“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
“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
“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
“[Budget] 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 author Jeff Midgett
“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.” ––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, 2018
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)
While these writers have had big successes, a more typical example of self-publishing is offered by this non-fiction writer who decided to self-publish not to pursue high sales, but simply because he wanted to share the story and see where it would go. Because of his public speaking and presentations, he’s already sold 3000 books.
More writing inspiration comes from the many famous historical writers who self-published at some point in their career. This includes notable authors such as Poe, Blake, Austin, Whitman, Proust, Woolf and more. However, this is a whole other topic. To learn more, start here. Their stories are also inspiring.
Updated September 2018