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Tips To Indie Success

Last week I had to pleasure of going to the Lowcountry RWA chapter and speak on how to market and promote your novels effectively.

It was great because most of them are just now seeking the Indie way. As a matter of fact, a couple of them are dropping their publishers (and I mean big six) and going the independent route. Of course I still claim that any road to publication is the right road for you, but I'm a big champion in the indie arena!

Being Indie has made so many dreams come true for me. Including this blog! If it weren't for all of the marketing and promoting techniques I used to make it on Amazon's Movers and Shakers, double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and winner in the women's fiction category of the eFestival of Words!

I can tell you to buy The Tricked Out Toolbox for all of my tricks, but no matter what I say, there are three BIG tips that bring about INDIE SUCCESS:

1) Successful Indies don't bash other writers! We help them. When we see something other writers are doing that isn't etiquette, we politely and privately email them. If they take the advice, great! If not, no sweat off the successful Indie's back because they tried to help someone.

If that someone comes back with a bitter pill and begins to publicly bash the successful Indie...guess what, that someone looks like a fool! That doesn't promote our craft, our colleagues, or our passion.

2) Successful Indies don't sit on their laurels. They don't wait around to see if their novel is going to be published. They write the book, establish a relationship with their readers (STREET TEAM),  and continue to market their novels.

Successful Indies put their money where their mouth is and laughing all the way to the bank!

3) Successful Indies don't talk about their ideas, they WRITE them! GASP!!! Yes, to be a successful Indie, you have to continue to write, write, and write. Get the next book out there for the reader.
Write in all genres and get those GREAT stories out there!

Now do you want to be successful? GO DO IT!

What do you think is a good tip to Indie success?

One lucky comment will win a copy of my marketing and promoting book, The Tricked Out Toolbox! Be sure to check back on Sunday because I will be announcing the winner Sunday night!


  1. Thank you for this, Tonya! I find myself struggling with the time factor, especially since I am also a teacher. I'm putting all my "extra" time into marketing my first book, but I know I need to get going on writing my next one. I would say that a successful indie is able to balance! If there's a secret formula for that, I'd love to hear it :).

    1. Balance is a great tip, Tracy! We can market and promote all we want, but if we aren't doing those three tips, we won't make it at all:)) Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. As always, Tonya, great advice! Thanks!

  3. What about in the case of coming across a dreadfully-written indie book? Does one give it an honest review, to alert potential buyers that they may be disappointed? Give it a sugarcoated review in the interest of "we're all in this together?" or simply not review it at all and move on?

    1. Bill, I live by the old saying: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything. Especially as an author to author. I read a lot of books and a lot of them I didn't like. But it's not going to do me or the other author any good to give a bad review. I simply don't promote it. My actions speak louder than words.

    2. That's what I do, too, Tonya. I think it would cause too many problems to write a bad review author to author.

  4. For me, the single most important tip is; write the best book that you can, and don't be in a haste to publish it.
    Many of us writers, while working on a present book, tend to have bigger and better ideas. We'll say, "that's definitely going to be my next book!" No, make it your present book! Try to find ways to incorporate those beautiful ideas into the book you're presently working on. Remember, write the best book that you can at the moment. Try your best to make your book as beautiful and interesting as you presently can because months from now, you'll find out you have bigger and better ideas.
    Next, don't be in a haste to publish. Looking at many books in the market, you'll find out that those authors could've done better only if they'd taken more time. Don't be in a haste to send your book out to the market. Your readers aren't running away. The market has been there for decades and it will continue to be there (at least there will always be people willing to buy books).
    So take your time, and write the best book that you can. If you follow that simple, most important tip, you won't need much promotion to succeed with your book.

  5. As always, you give us pearls of wisdom, Tonya. I much prefer the term Indie author, than that of self published.

    1. Hey, KT! There is so much discussion about that whole indie vs self published name. I use both. Neither of them stroke my ego. BUT I will say that "the industry" (whatever that is) believe that Indie should only apply to small publishers. NEWSFLASH: SELF PUBLISHED AUTHORS ARE A SMALL PUBLISHER!

  6. One of the points that I always try to remember is to be social when using social media. Interacting (nicely) with other people and helping others when possible is so much more appealing than the buy-my-book bullhorn technique that some people employ.

  7. Thanks for sharing, Tonya.

    One characteristic I've noticed that the most successful Indie authors all possess is professionalism. They treat every aspect of their writing as a career, not a pastime or get-rich-quick scheme. That professionalism carries over into their interactions with other authors and readers, their consistent production rates and quality. In turn, the rest of the world treats them as the professionals they are.


    1. Kenra, I think you are spot on! Indie authors realize the importance of readers and they take their career so serious because it's them that they rely on. Indie Authors can't blame anyone but themselves if their career tanks.

  8. Excellent post, as always, Tonya. I'd be thrilled to win a copy of the book, I've been eyeballing it ever since you did the guest post on my blog :)

  9. Great post, Tonya. And great advice. Thank you.

    My tip would be to write the story that wants to be written...WHEN it wants to. I recently found this out from experience. I've been working on the third book in my series, and it's a super complicated story that is taking a long time to complete. So I figured that I would set that aside for a while so I could crank out a few simple one-off stories instead. My series characters were not happy with that decision and my writing shut down. ALL of my writing. When I decided to nix the simple book idea and go back to my series, my writing began to flow again. The characters of the series had spoken. Now I've learned never to walk away from the story that wants to be told, no matter how long it will take to complete it.

    1. Wonderful, Donya!! It's great to listen to your creative muse:)) Wonderful!!

  10. Would love to have a copy of the book, but Laura Howard said it first!!! :)

    I'd like to add that (IMO) successful authors pay it forward. That means helping out author-friends with e-publishing snafus or cover design choices, taking time to offer advice to budding writers who are thinking about publishing, giving away an ebook--or a dozen--to your blog followers, and saying 'thank you' to reviewers, readers, friends, and everyone who helps promote your novel(s).

    Thanks for the great post! xx, Lauren

    1. Lauren, Paying it forward is a HUGE thing to me!! So many authors think they are paying it forward, but they are NOT! Paying it forward is doing so and NOT expecting anything back.

  11. Great tips. Thanks Tonya. The best way to win over any reader, is to produce the best possible book - story, syntax, grammar and punctuation all count. If we want to be taken seriously as professionals. then that's the product we must produce.

  12. Tima, you are so right. That is the hardest part of being indie. I'm pleased to have a wonderful editor!


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