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Opinion: Indie Author Burnout Can Happen To Us All – But Together, We’ll Be Fine

Opinion: Indie Author Burnout Can Happen to Us All – But Together, We’ll Be Fine

Headshot of Patti Brassard Jefferson

Patti Brassard Jefferson offers moral support to indie authors reaching burnout

Being a part of the ALLi community doesn't only set you on the fast-track to best self-publishing practice – it also connects you with a wonderful support network that will buoy you up when you are feeling in need of moral support and encouragement in your life as an indie author.

This post is one example of a very kind and thoughtful comment that ALLi partner member Patti Brassard Jefferson left on our members-only Facebook forum in response to an author member who was feeling on the point of giving up. As a writer as well as the proprietor of the indie-only bookstores P J Boox, now a chain of two, Patti really got what that author was going through and offered sound and compassionate advice to help her get through it. Thank you to Patti for allowing us to share her response on our website.

(Happy ending: the author who started the conversation took a much-needed break and is now back in the game.) 

Is the Burnout Worth It?

As an indie, I find I've become 100% on it. This includes during downtime too. Even when I participate in guided meditations on my bed, my mind drifts off to use *that* time ‘pro-actively' or ‘wisely' too. I'm specifically thinking about new initiatives, convincing others of them and seeking out funding/whether to volunteer time.

Then my question is: can we ever try too hard? Or am I wasting my time? I'm concerned I'm approaching another burnout.

I think we all encounter those times. Sometimes it requires a temporary reset and sometimes a full disconnect. Only you would know what's right for you. Me? Definitely in need of a reset… right after this next deadline… or maybe the one after that.

My Own Experience of the Pressures of Indie Author Life

My immersion into the industry went something like this:

  • 2013 crowd-fund and publish first children's book and join local writers' group (la-la-la-la)
  • 2014 crowd-fund and publish second children's book, join statewide organization and become board member and still attend local writers' group, oh, and illustrate some children's books for other people (look at me juggling!)
  • 2015 Open two physical bookstores for indie authors, shelve my current books in progress because I have no time, still BOD member of state organization, still in local writers' group, still illustrating books for other authors, running three different social media personas (author/bookstore/bookstore), attend BEA (Phew! this is starting to be a lot!)
  • 2016 Running bookstores, still BOD of state org, still member of local writers' group, still illustrating, still not writing, managing fundraiser for library with indie books, attend BEA, join ALLi, launch indie author Facebook group (starting to need more naps!)
  • 2017 Being run by bookstores, drop out of local writers' group (I'm not writing), back off on some duties with state org due to my time constraints, skip BEA, think now that I've stepped back a little on something, I will have extra time YAY! Finally!

SO… what leisurely things do I do to fill this delicious void?

I start writing an author workbook, create my own publishing label, illustrate another book for another author, join more social network groups, launch a Patreon page to help fund our children's reading program, start looking for speaking opportunities with writers groups…. (I SO need a nap!)

Shot of P J Boox stores

Just one of Patti Brassard Jefferson's bookstores – and just one of her many responsibilities in indie authordom

It Is What It Is

My point is that some of us (you and I and…) are just built that way. We are so committed to not just our careers as authors, but to the industry and all the people in it. We want to help.

We want to be a part of it all and sometimes, our super cape comes unravelled a bit and our tiara becomes a little tarnished and we just have to remember to take some personal time. I think it's almost like putting on your own oxygen mask first before so you can still be useful and help others with their masks.

Feeling Burned Out? You Are Not Alone

ALLi Round Pen LogoWe all do it. Thankfully not at the same time, or we'd probably all wander off to feed our creative souls in other ways and not wander back. The support system we have with other crazy creative weirdos (look at all the ALLi folks!) lets us take those breaks a bit more comfortable. They will hold the fort down while we wander (and finally nap).

Once rested, we know we can go back to the juggling and the fantastical wonderment that is this industry and hold our own corner of the fort whilst someone else wanders off for a bit.

It will all be okay.

OVER TO YOU What are your top tips for dealing with overwhelm? We'd love to hear them.

Indie & #selfpub #authors - feeling burned out? Let @PBJauthor reassure you Click To Tweet


Author: Patti Brassard Jefferson

Patti Brassard Jefferson is an author and bookseller specialising in books by indie authors, and currently has two P J Boox stores in Florida, USA. Find out more about Patti via her author website, which includes a link to her bookstores site. www.pbjauthor.com.


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