Debunking Myths About Self-Publishing and Indie Authors: Advanced Self-Publishing Podcast With Orna Ross and Joanna Penn

Debunking Myths About Self-Publishing and Indie Authors: Advanced Self-Publishing Podcast With Orna Ross and Joanna Penn

In this #AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing Advice podcast, ALLi Director Orna Ross and author Joanna Penn explore the top ten myths about self-publishing and indie authors. Some people think all self-publishers are amateurs, that we can’t get our books into bookstores, that we never use trade publishers, that we can’t win prizes. Then there are the myths we believe, ourselves. “Authors can’t make money.”

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On the #AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing #Podcast, Director @OrnaRoss and author @thecreativepenn explore the top ten myths about #selfpublishing and indie authors. Click To Tweet

About the Hosts

Joanna Penn writes nonfiction for authors and is an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author as J.F.Penn. She’s also an award-winning podcaster, creative entrepreneur, and international professional speaker.

Orna Ross launched the Alliance of Independent Authors at the London Book Fair in 2012. Her work for ALLi has seen her named as one of The Bookseller’s “100 top people in publishing”. She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing. For more information about Orna, visit her website: http://www.ornaross.com

Read the Transcripts: Myths About Self-Publishing

Joanna Penn: Hello everyone, and welcome to the Alliance of Independent Authors’ Advanced Self-Publishing Salon with me, Joanna Penn, and Orna Ross. Hi Orna.

Orna Ross: Hi, Joanna. Hi everyone, hello!

Joanna Penn: Here we are again. We can’t believe that it’s almost the mid-year, and we just have so much to do. Today we are talking about myths about indie authors and self-publishing. We did have seven or 10, and now I’ve just got a pile of them. So, that is going to be our segment today.

But first up, we are writers first, and so, Orna, let’s start with you. What is going on in your life, you’re writing life?

Orna Ross: Everything’s going on in all my lives! I think it’s post-pandemic. We’re easing out of lockdown here, and life is changing just loads. I’m having one of those periods that I think come along every number of years, where things really change, and you go to a different level. So, that’s where I feel I’m at, at the moment.

I’m spending the summer away from the city and working in a co-working space for the first time. Our space in the Free Word Centre unfortunately closed. We were there for many years, and they’ve moved on. So, yeah, I’m just really enjoying it, and splitting out my creative work from my other work, in a physical way. So, I’ve always split them apart, but now physically going into a different place to do actual kind of manager and marketeering work, and separately doing maker work in a little cubby hole. So, I’m really enjoying that.

And moving into audiobooks for my fiction at last. I’ve found a great service where they actually help you to organize the narrators and everything. So yeah, that departure as well. So, lots happening.

Joanna Penn: Yeah, it’s so funny, we were talking about this before the show. We are both in co-working spaces, you’re actually in one right now, and I’m not, I’m at home, but it’s so funny because I did my first session today, and I’m the other way round. So, I’m doing my fiction in the co-working space, and then I do my manager/maker stuff here, my manager/business stuff, my podcasting and all that. And it’s so weird going into a co-working space after many, many years, but my writing cafe now doesn’t open at the time I used to write in, and I feel like I just want to get out of the house. And of course there were all the various health things in place, but I just felt it was time.

Like you, I needed to shift up my creative process and get out of a rut. And it’s funny because we talked about this last April. It was like, oh my goodness, everything’s changing, how do we recreate our artistic side and our routines, and now I feel like we’re doing it again as we come out of a lot of the lockdowns.

So, that’s been good. Also went on a cycling week, which again, chucked me out of my comfort zone because I’m not really a cyclist, so that was pretty funny. But yeah, I feel like I’m getting back to that creative side, which I feel really suffered in the winter lockdown here in England. Here in the UK, it’s been very difficult. So, I feel like with the sun and the weather and these new spaces. So, hopefully everyone listening, coming into a new phase, wherever you are in the world, I guess.

And what about the Alliance, what’s going on?

Orna Ross: Yeah, always lots going on at ALLi. We have these Apple Books webinars going on at the moment. How to Sell More Books on Apple, and they filled up in five minutes. So, they only take 50 people at a time. So, do let us know, members, it’s member-only, do let us know if you want to be part of that.

The other thing that we’re doing is, we are looking at the whole ethics around AI for indie authors.

So, obviously you and I have spoken before about the copyright implications, and all that kind of stuff, but this is more about using AI as a tool and some authors seem to be really quite uncomfortable with the idea, and others are absolutely delighted to have this tool, and waiting for it to get better and better.

So, we just wanted to look at, are there ethical implications in terms of using it? What does it mean? How does it connect to any concerns that we might be having around copyright? So, we’ve just put out a call for comments on that. So, if any of you who are listening are particularly interested in AI and what it means for our writing process, our publishing process, we’d love to hear from you. You can comment on the article. It’s selfpublishingadvice.org/aicomments, if you’d like to make a comment on that, and from the submissions that we get, we’ll actually draw up some guidelines, obviously bearing in mind that we don’t have all the answers and that indie is always a broad church and people have a lot of different opinions about this, as with everything else. Still, there are things that I think we need to be thinking about as we go forward.

Joanna Penn: Absolutely. We’ll look forward to that. Okay. So, let’s get into the topic for today, which is myths about indie authors and self-publishing.

So, we’re going to talk about a few myths that other people hold around indie authors, and then also some myths that too many of us hold.

So, I’m going to start by putting out there a myth that has been around for a long time; all self-published books are terrible, low quality and responsible for a tsunami of crap, which was a term I think Jo Conrad first coined about a decade ago. That, essentially, all self-published books are terrible.

So Orna, what are your thoughts on that one?

Orna Ross: Well, it’s clearly and obviously untrue, yet it’s held very widely still, in certain groups. Readers don’t even think about it anymore, and all the things that we said at the beginning about discoverability and how it’s like a big iceberg, isn’t it?

And yes, there are people putting out books that are less than perfect, shall we say? There are authors who are just beginning their journey and don’t really know how to publish, what makes a good book, or even maybe how to write, there’s that whole kind of thing, but that can be a learning curve, that very quickly is surmounted. And lots of books have been the pathway, poor books have been a pathway to a good book.

So, what’s happening, I think, with authors is, very often publishing to soon perhaps, and drafts going out that are less than perfect. That’s one aspect to it.

And then, of course, there’s all the plot stuff, and there’s a whole load of stuff that’s really awful, but it falls away. It’s not important. Up at the top of that pyramid, you’ve got some fantastic work, and in every age when there are lots of new people doing things in new ways, there’s always an expansion, and what happens is the stuff at the top gets better and better, because there’s just more of it, and I think that’s what we very much see with self-publishing.

What are your thoughts on this one?

Joanna Penn: Well, first of all, that this tsunami of crap is not just from independent authors, there are quite a lot of really terrible books coming out of traditional publishers, as well, as we have seen with many of the celebrity memoirs would be a favorite category.

So, one person’s definition of crap is different to another person’s, and we all have to decide what we want as readers. So, we’re absolutely acknowledging that there are books that aren’t great out there, some of which are written and published by indie authors, many of which are not. And I think that’s the point, is that not all indie authors are the same.

And this kind of brings us to another myth, that someone who scrapes information off the internet and puts it up on Kindle is not the same as most, I would say, of the members of the Alliance of Independent Authors who are committed to putting out quality books, doing the best they can at the point at which they’re publishing, and that’s a really important point as well.

The other thing is I always find that this, sort of, devalues the readers. We do have gatekeepers and those gatekeepers are readers, and readers are not stupid, and we are not stupid. We read a lot of books. I see a lot of crap when I go shopping for books, which is almost every single day.

And basically, I know what I don’t want, and I know what I want, and that’s what we have to think. Readers are intelligent enough to ignore all of that stuff that they don’t want to read and pick up the stuff they do want to read.

So, let’s get more into that “indies are all the same” myth, because you brought this one up, you see a lot of different types.

Orna Ross: Yeah. I mean, there’s so many different indies, and diversity has just exploded as a result of self-publishing. So, if anything, trade publishing is much more homogenous than independent publishing. So, what we’ve seen is, first of all, all sorts of different genre emerging, niching down into all sorts of different tiny niches that we didn’t know existed, that are super popular once you’ve got a global audience and they can be facilitated. So, we’ve got diversity at that level, in terms of content, but also of course, with self-publishing, I think, you can do it, there’s nobody stopping you. You don’t have to have an Ivy-league degree, you don’t have to have anything except the will to actually sit down there and do it.

Now, that doesn’t mean that absolutely everybody can do it, and obviously there are literacy issues, and publishing literacy, and all that kind of stuff going on still, and there are still barriers to entry. It’s not a complete open door, but it’s so much more open. So as a result of that, you’re seeing groups of people whose voices we didn’t hear before, are coming through loud and clear, and that’s having an effect then right throughout publishing.

So, I think that’s one of the most positive things about self-publishing, it’s one of the things that I love most about it, is just this diversity of voices that it allows.

Joanna Penn: The other thing about not being all the same is the way that we publish. So again, I think, because there is a loud majority who focus on eBooks in KU, a lot of people outside the indie community think that’s all there is to being an indie. Whereas actually, there’s a huge group of people who do things in very different ways, from the people who print only zines, which are these little chapbooks of things, which are very creative and often very visual as well. Poets, for example, do a lot of these types of things that don’t necessarily even exist in digital form, that are a physical object only.

We’ve now got a growing number of people doing crowdfunding to do beautiful books in all different ways. And now the new form of crowdfunding, which you could say, through NFTs on blockchain, which is the emerging way of doing things that is crossing over from the digital to the physical realm. We’ve got audio-first projects starting to emerge. So, those are all just some things, you know, indies are not the same in terms of what they’re producing by genre, also who they are and where they are in the world, and also what formats they produce too.

So, we are indeed a very diverse community, and it is both wonderful and the problem, because it means, the myth, people think that because they think a certain way, that everybody thinks the same as them, and that’s not true.

Another myth that comes up is the relationship with traditional publishing, that indies can’t get a traditional publishing deal, that indie authors hate traditional publishing in some way, and that we think it’s wrong and nobody should traditionally publish, that all the, sort of, licensing rights things, we just can’t do that.

So why is that a myth, Orna, and what are the different things that authors are doing in this space?

Orna Ross: Yeah, this is one that actually drives me crazy, because it’s obvious to everybody that indies are publishing eBooks, print-on-demand, audiobooks, and doing extremely well, because you’re seeing that in the sales on the platforms. It’s undeniable, but we’re not seeing behind-the-scenes so much, indies who are doing licensing deals, doing other kinds of deals that traditionally have only been possible for trade publishers, and a lot of people think still isn’t possible for indie authors. So, even the concept of a hybrid author, I’ve a real problem with, because I think indie author describes that perfectly. Sometimes we’ll self-publish, sometimes if somebody comes along with a nice deal, we will take that if it’s a good deal and it works for a particular book at a particular point in time. Being an independent author means doing that, it means meeting a rights buyer with your business hat on and trashing out a deal.

They’ll be working on their behalf to get the best deal possible, and you go working on your behalf to get the best deal possible, and it’s called negotiation. So, these are skills that indie authors are now gaining, and we are seeing a big difference in trends. This is something that people weren’t thinking about at all, I would say five years ago, or very little. When we wrote a guide to it, it hardly sold. It sells much more now, and members download it far more often now. So yeah, there is nothing to stop an indie author from pursuing rights deals and indeed, once you achieve a certain level of visible success, and this doesn’t happen so much for those who sell direct, but for those who very visible, particularly on Amazon, you will just get the rights buyers coming to you, wanting to talk to you.

Joanna Penn: Yeah, absolutely. And certainly, you know, I have books in French that are licensed, and in South Korea that are licensed, that did sort of emerge over time. We know people in the community who’ve done this in so many different genres. I was listening to Podium Publishing on the Six Figure Authors podcasts, which is a great podcast, people should listen to that one, and they were talking about how they do pick up successful Indies from looking at their eBook sales, and that’s their business model.

I think they’re responsible for Andy Weir’s, The Martian audiobook, and now his sequel’s come out and the movie, and all of that. Hugh Howey, another one who has just announced, this must be a decade after Wool. It came out as a novella originally, he expanded it in an eBook, he got a print-only deal, and now it’s being picked up for a second lot of movie rights and will be on apple, I think, and TV. So, this has taken a decade, but Hugh’s a good example of someone who’s moved one piece of IP through lots of different processes outside of where he started.

So yeah, also what annoys me, someone said it to me at a literary event, oh, you’re not one of those militant indies who hates us? Us being traditionally published authors or traditional publishing, and I’m like, definitely not. We’re readers. We love books. We love authors. We love publishing. I’m always spending money on publishers products, and that’s not it at all. It’s not an anti-them approach, it’s just a choice for our business and our creative work.

And as you say, we can choose to work with different partners, some of whom might be publishers, over time.

So, I think, probably five to seven years ago, there was a sort of, militant arm, but I don’t think that’s so true anymore. I think a lot more indies are open, and a lot of traditionally published authors are coming into indie as well.

Orna Ross: Absolutely, but what does drive me crazy is an assumption that you are indie because you couldn’t get a trade deal, because very often the deal isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. I get offers, but I’m not signing any of them because it just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up. So, I think also when Hugh did his print-only deal back then, it was huge, in the sense that it was the first that people had heard about it, and that’s why it was such a huge deal. It was a good deal, but now it happens all the time as a small level as well. You see people who say, okay, I can’t be bothered doing print, and POD isn’t even worth it, I would like to work with a small indie publisher who will put my book into bookstores, and not because of the money, because the money is rarely good in that model, but because I want to be in the bookstore, that’s something that indies want.

I think that’s the biggest thing of all, whatever it is you want, whatever your definition of success is, there is a way to do it as an independent author. It doesn’t mean that you give up your independence because you choose to do one thing or another, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you couldn’t do something else, and that this is some kind of poor second best. For many people, it’s the absolute opposite.

Joanna Penn: Yes, definitely. Definitely one of my business choices from day one.

But one of the things that also really annoys me, I hear so much is, oh, all you do when you’re an indie author is marketing. That indie authors just do marketing, whereas we traditionally published authors we just write, we only have to write. So, I have something like 32 books at this point, and I’ve been an indie for a decade, and Lindsay Buroker put out a tweet the other day, she’s written over 80 books in her decade of, and they’re like epic fantasy, sort of 120,000-word each, and it’s like, I’m sorry, indie’s only market?

I think some of the hardest working, most prolific writers, actual just writing words every day, are indie authors now. And if you look at the number of words coming out of the self-publishing people and the number of words that a traditionally published author will publish in a year, we’re talking orders of magnitude.

So yes, indie authors understand that we have to market, but, sorry, traditionally published authors have to market too, but I actually think the bulk of writing right now is coming out of the indie community. I don’t know, what do you think, Orna?

Orna Ross: Yeah, I think this is such a myth, and it’s a very understandable one, because we can fall guilty to it ourselves, you know, we can say, oh, if only I didn’t have to do all this business stuff, I’d have so much more time for writing. And as you say, the facts just don’t back that up. In fact, knowing that you can put out a book whenever you want, on your own schedule, to suit your own creation conditions, and your own creative rhythm and flow, and so on, seems to be hugely energizing, because in trade publishing you won’t get the slots. So, for example, some of the series and things that we’ve seen coming out, and obviously all the time coming out of self-publishing, there’s just no way a trade publisher would allow it.

Similarly, all the authors, you and I included, who write all over the ranch and who like to do non-fiction book time, I do a lot of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, and nobody’s going to take you on.

All of these things generate more writing. So, and signs on it, we see it all over the place. So it is a notion, and it is a complete myth.

Joanna Penn: Absolutely. So, one of the other things, and I thought for years that anyone could be a successful indie author and I’ve now come to the conclusion that, that is a myth, because I actually think, you know, this sort of myth that, oh, you just upload a book, MS word document to Kindle, and you’re a successful indie author. This is a myth, and unfortunately it’s quite a damaging myth for early stage indie authors, but I equally think there’s a damaging myth in traditional publishing, which is if you get an agent and then if you get a book deal, you will be successful as a traditionally published author.

So, I think there’s these early-stage myths that can lead you into some disappointment, but all you really need to do at that point is learn the skills to move to the next level, but I do think it is a myth that anyone could be successful self-publishing; you do have to learn a lot of skills craft and business in order to get there. Any more on those myths?

Orna Ross: Yeah, I suppose we’re slightly moving away from the myths that other people hold into the ones that we, kind of, hold about ourselves, and I think you’ve said it all along that. I don’t think I have anything to add to that one.

Joanna Penn: Okay. Well, one that I also hear is, I’ll never be a “proper: writer unless I am traditionally published.

So, what do you think about that, because I’m technically, I mean, I have been traditionally published in other languages, but not in English, but you have come out of traditional publishing. So, what about this myth that many people hold, which is I’ll never be a “proper” writer, I’ll never be acceptable in some way.

Orna Ross: It’s a myth, for all the reasons that we’ve been talking about already. But again, I think some of these myths are, kind of, understandable. There’s always the thing that you haven’t done, is something that you want, isn’t it? And you assume, you don’t see the downside, it’s the faraway hills are green, kind of thing.

So, because trade publishing did have such a grip on the whole publishing sector for all of the 20th century, and particularly intensely towards the second half of the 20th century, then self-publishing came along and it’s a whole new way of doing it. There are still, in the wider world, it’s very often indies say to me, I’m happy, I love it, I don’t it, but my mum would just love if I got a deal, or my family or my friends, or whatever, I just want to do it for them or whatever. But the idea that some third-party saying, yes, this book works for our business model, in some way makes you a better writer, clearly, it’s a myth.

Joanna Penn: Well, but then I would counter on this, which is, when there are myths that we hold, we have to change them with empowering stories and re-write the myth in some way. So, I think this, I’ll never be a proper writer, is the need for validation. The fact if an external party, a respected external party, like an agent or a publisher says you are good enough, then you feel validated. So, what we have to do is find ways to be validated within the community that we’re in, and I guess a common one is book sales, a common one is income, reviews, emails from happy readers, which means so much. I think we can all agree. What are the other ways, Orna, that we can counteract that myth?

Orna Ross: Yeah, I think the reader relationship is the big one, and I think the closeness of that relationship that we get, where we cut out all the middle people, and we just have that relationship, particularly if we’re selling direct from our own websites and they’re buying from us in that way.

Or there are people who are on our mailing lists, or supporting us on Patreon, or part of our membership group or whatever, and I know that you don’t have to be indie to do these things, but I think being indie gives you A) more incentive, but B) it’s the closeness of that relationship. So, you’ve just got the two imaginations that are coming together in the book, and nothing else coming in between, and because then that’s reflected in covers and that’s reflected in other aspects of your publishing and on your platform, how you put yourself out there, how you talk to your readers, how they talk to you, how accessible and open you are, you know, all of these things are much more evident on the indie side and, I think, that’s where we get and our validation. Our readers are the people who get us, and get what we’re doing, and you can forget about everybody else. And I think it’s a far more stable and scalable, it can grow rather than, you know, somebody else’s decisions very often deciding that actually, you know, your readers fall away because somebody else made some kind of call that you had nothing to do with.

I personally found that very frustrating.

Joanna Penn: Yeah, or when I met several traditionally published authors who were huge, like back in the nineties or something, and then they’re let go, things change, and they don’t have any way to contact the readers or any ownership of the series that they used to write, and it’s like, whoa, okay. Things change, and we’ll come back to that in a minute.

Something else that I find difficult in the community, and one that I definitely believe that I had to tackle in myself, was this idea that certain genres are worth more or worth less than others, and that it is “better” to write certain genres and less worthy or less important to write other ones. And classically, the genre that is the least appreciated in traditional publishing, which is romance, is one of the highest earning and most sort of voracious readership amongst indies.

And so I learnt, when I met all the romance ladies, back in 2011/2012, I was blown away by how far ahead the romance community is, by the amount of money they were making. I was like, whoa, okay, why is traditional publishing so down on this incredible genre that basically powers so many other genres, because romance, let’s face it, underpins the world and in all the other genres, it appears in different ways.

So, I hate this, this drives me nuts now, and I will stamp on it when I hear it, which is this sort of stigma and writing certain genres.

So, what do you think Orna, why is this still so endemic amongst writers, it’s like, what’s more worthy?

Orna Ross: Yeah, I really think this comes out of trade publishing, but not only trade publishing, also authors themselves. So, literary fiction is valued because, and those kinds of genre, you know, heavy political books or literary nonfiction, creative non-fiction, all that kind of stuff, more than the genres that sell so much more, and that hasn’t always been the way. But I think it’s purely down to the facts that that’s what people who work in publishing like to read, and therefore they literally value that genre more because that’s their own kind of reading, and you never know what is a great book until time passes or it crosses borders, really. You need to get it out there.

Certainly a book that isn’t appreciated by a lot of people is rarely great, and most of the literary fiction of the last 50 years is nowhere to be seen now. Genre books that are incredibly amazing stand the test of time and stand the test of crossing borders.

So yeah, this kind of snobbery, which it is really, drives me completely crazy. And you talk about the ability of the romance writer to engage their reader, and everything new that has happened in indie, it’s been romance writers who have broken those barriers, but it’s the same in trade publishing, they completely and utterly underwrote all those other books that got big advances that went nowhere, but without getting any of the credit, they’re hidden down the back of the shop, not even visible at all. So yeah, is it a myth, or is that even the right word?

Joanna Penn: Well, I think I put this under, myths too many of us hold, and the myth that some genres are better than others, that for some reason you’re a more worthy writer if you write some kind of genres. I still think it definitely pervades the community. I spoke at another online summit recently and someone started saying this. It’s a combination of the tsunami of crap thing, and the intimidation by another author was that the tsunami of crap was all the genre fiction, and boy, I stomped on that quickly, especially because I write   genre fiction, and I don’t write romance, but lots of us write other things in genre fiction.

So, it stunned me that someone on the one hand could be so pro-indie, and on the other hand so down on certain genres. So, what we’re trying to encourage your listening is to be open-minded and celebrate everything that everyone is writing, and that half of the point of being indie is, let it fall where it may. And there may be a readership, there might not be, but that’s not for you to judge someone else’s choice of creative output.

Orna Ross: And also that every genre is a genre, like the idea that this is genre fiction, and this isn’t a genre, but it is a genre. It’s just a genre for different readers. It’s just not called genre fiction, it’s called literary fiction, or whatever. It’s just a different label.

Of course we have our preferred genre, we have what we like to read, that’s a different thing. That, I think, is again, what it is fed so very well by self-publishing. But yeah, the idea that one genre is superior to another is the same sort of hierarchy that says, one person is superior to another. It’s nonsense.

Joanna Penn: Absolutely.

Someone’s just commented about Stacey Abrams, who’s writing, I think she’s just written some romance, I think her latest deal is on thrillers, she is, I believe she’s the politician out of Georgia in the US, who has done an incredible job in the political sphere and is proudly writing genre fiction. What a woman. I’m pretty sure that’s the right person. So, that’s brilliant.

Okay. So, another myth that’s a sort of business money thing which is, authors can’t make money. This isn’t just about Indies. Authors can’t make money, cost matters more than return on investment. Lots of myths around money. Now Orna, you’ve been doing quite a lot on creatives and money. So, why don’t you talk about that?

Orna Ross: Yeah, I’m always super interested in the myths we feed ourselves and then how they can limit us, and in challenging the things that you find yourself saying to yourself.

So, I get all the time, this assumption that authors don’t make money. People will say to me, you can’t make money writing books, you can’t make money self-publishing books, poets never make any money, I hear all the time. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, because they do, they can. Not only can they, but they do, and they’re there and it’s happening, and it’s right there in front of you.

And if you hold that belief then you’re not actually allowing it to happen for you. So, it’s really important that we challenge.

I hate marketing is another one. Well, that’s probably because you haven’t thought about it enough and you haven’t gone in there, and often you haven’t worked out how your marketing connects to your writing, and how you reach the readers through, because marketing these days, if you’re using social media, which most people are, is actually writing. So, it just doesn’t make any sense to feed yourself that line.

Another indie thing that I come across with self-publishers a lot is that it’s too expensive. You suggest something that they could do to increase their sales, it’s too expensive. But expensive isn’t what matters. It’s a myth that anything is expensive actually, if the return on investment warrants it. So, we shouldn’t ever be looking at the pure cost of something, we should be looking at the plan, the money plan we have, and whether we can make that money back with some more money, and then it is something quite different.

Another one, on the business of money front is, your business income is your income. So, a lot of authors don’t have a business head and don’t really understand how business works. I didn’t, when I started, I hadn’t a clue. I shunned business, business was not me, and all that kind of thing.  When I saw money coming through, I didn’t differentiate between that and actually paying myself a salary, and that’s my income, everything else belongs to the business.

So, there are a lot of myths that we feed ourselves that are not helpful for us.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. So, as we come to the end, there are lots more myths, but we don’t have any more time tonight. So, I just wanted to round up by saying, part of the reason we talk about these myths is so that we can recognize them. And what we want you to do is potentially identify the myths that you have around self-publishing, around you as a creative, maybe around money, and listen out for things that other people say so that you can recognize it, because so often someone will say something, and we react emotionally.

The stigma sort of self-publishing can still infect people emotionally when they know that it’s a myth, and then to really just take action on trying to change the myths, particularly that you have around yourself and around the community. You can’t change other people’s opinions to be honest, all we can do is live in a way that demonstrates the myths are wrong.

So, create brilliant books, high-quality, in whatever genre you want and be a happy indie by choice. All these things we can do to bust the myths and hang out in communities like the Alliance of Independent Authors, where people are myth-busting all the time.

Orna, any other tips on busting myths and getting out of that?

Orna Ross: I think the ability to recognize your own self talk, to catch yourself and to hear it. Very often when we’re feeding ourselves a myth, we, kind of, know it’s not true then going one level down as to what we’re really kind of thinking. So, sometimes, it’s, I hate marketing, but what lies under that is, actually, I’m afraid to put myself out there. That’s just an example.

So, first of all, hearing yourself, when you’re saying these things to yourself, hearing other people and then having that conversation that kind of goes a little bit deeper, because our work is fascinating. We’re not just writers, we’re publishers as well. We’re business people as well. We’re growing like crazy. All the time challenging ourselves creatively and in every way, and sometimes recognizing that, and really going for it, yeah, that’s when the myths dissolve or get exploded.

Joanna Penn: Yes, let’s bust the myths! Fantastic.

So, next month we are doing a really interesting topic. We’re going to talk about the nimble advantage. Indie authors in an era of accelerating change, because as I’m sure many of you have read in the news and things, things have accelerated due to the pandemic and due to more business and e-commerce going online. So, we’re going to talk about the basics and what to hold onto when things are changing, the mindset of dealing with change, and what’s happening in traditional publishing, and also the technological tools that are coming along, and how we can be nimble because we own all our IP, or we’ve licensed it with a good contract.

That is next month, and we’re excited about that. That’s something we talk and think about a lot. So Orna, anything else you want to announce or share?

Orna Ross: No. Just to reiterate the call at the beginning, that if you didn’t get a place for the Apple Books sales webinars, and you are interested, to just drop a line to [email protected]/

And we’ll see if we have 50 people to fill a new one, I think we do. Alright.

Joanna Penn: Fantastic, and thanks to everyone who’s joined us live and all the comments you’ve put. Sorry we haven’t addressed them all, but we really appreciate your live comments. I’ve certainly been looking at them and we’ll address some of them in the Facebook group, I’m sure. Thank you everyone. And happy writing.

And happy publishing. Till next time.

Orna Ross: Bye-bye

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