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Opinion: A Celebration Of The Generous Spirit Of Indie Authors And The Self-publishing Community

Opinion: A Celebration of the Generous Spirit of Indie Authors and the Self-publishing Community

Photo of McKenzie Austin

Fantasy writer McKenzie Austin's eloquent post reminds us to share the generous spirit that characterizes indie publishing

Fantasy writer McKenzie Austin provides a welcome reminder of one of the great benefits of being an indie author, and one that is so often remarked upon, especially by those new to self-publishing: the generous spirit of the sector, which drives us all to work together to help each other, in book marketing as well as in the writing and production of our products. 



Competitive nature drives people. It is ingrained in us from a young age. To be viewed as a success, you must be faster, smarter, more driven than your opponents. But who are your opponents?

Unfortunately, the world dictates our opponents are the people who surround us. These are the people who stand in our way on the road to success.

The indie author movement is growing. Writing the next great novel is quickly becoming the dream of many. With the internet flooding in opportunities for writers to publish their stories, it has never been easier to see your words bound by a paperback cover.

But the struggle independent authors face is not birthed by crafting their tales—it’s by selling them.

How do you stand out in a sea of limitless tales? How do you set yourself apart from the 200,000 other books published this year alone?

Luckily, our proverbial writing forefathers (and mothers) have paved the way. They weaved through their own successes and failures through trial and error and possess the skills to pass their knowledge down onto the younger writing generation.

Some do. Most don’t.

The Whale and the Plankton of Self-publishing

cover of The Tree that Grew Through iron

The title of McKenzie's novel echoes the positive and determined spirit of her post here

Before I found ALLi, I scoured the World Wide Web for anyone who might bless me with what worked for them on the marketing end. People held fast to their secrets. I’m not here to out anybody; it is well within their right to seize what worked for them and stuff it into a vault where only they know the combination.

To this day, I do not know if their ownership over their secrets stemmed from that innate competitive drive we all harbor within ourselves, but the outcome was the same: loose lips sank ships. Ships that carried the financial successes they worked hard to achieve. And nobody wanted those merchant vessels to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

The thing is, the ocean is a big place. There’s room for all of us. One writer cannot satisfy every reader out there.

Countless genres separate billions of peoples’ likes and dislikes into categories for a myriad of authors to feed. And yes, there’s a hierarchy in the ocean: a food chain, if you will. Though nature has a way of appearing grotesque, each part of the ocean serves a critical purpose. Even microscopic plankton sustains the whale.

The problem lies in the fact the whales often forget they were once plankton, themselves.

Why You Need to Be a Part of It

If you’re a beginning writer, seek places like ALLi. We’re here for you:

  • Even if some of us are still struggling to ‘hit it big’ ourselves, we’ll struggle together.
  • We’ll pat each other’s backs with each ‘The End’ we type.
  • We’ll congratulate you on every award you win.
  • We’ll cry with you for every marketing dollar spent that doesn’t yield results.

If you’re a seasoned author, answer questions. (If you are asked nicely, of course. Manners go a long way.)

  • Be honest without being brutal.
  • Encourage those who reach out to you. Tell them to continue writing. To chase the dream.
  • If you found your success, do not snub the beginning writers.
  • Do not forget that you once possessed those eager eyes, staring at those who ‘made it’, looking for guidance.

Leave a Personal Legacy You Will Be Proud Of

Stay humble. Share your tips. Remember where you came from. You will leave a legacy behind in your writing. People will remember your books. But how will they remember the person who wrote them?

Celebrate the #indieauthor spirit of generosity and mutual support with this guest post by fantasy writer McKenzie Austin on our #selfpublishing advice blog Share on X

From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive

Author: McKenzie Austin

McKenzie Austin is the author of The Tree That Grew Through Iron, book one of the new dystopian fantasy series, The Panagea Tales. For more information, visit www.treethatgrewthoughiron.com


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