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Self-publishing Success Stories: Seeley James

Self-publishing Success Stories: Seeley James

photo of Seeley James

Seeley James, bestselling thriller writer, shares the secrets of his self-publishing success

Every Sunday on the ALLi blog, we profile a self-publishing success story to inspire indie authors at all stages of their careers, and to share best practice and great ideas from those at the top of their game. This week we're delighted to feature US thriller writer Seeley James, whose entertaining take on his writing life includes:

  • sharing honest advice about the effort that goes into great books
  • singling out time management as a major challenge for indie authors
  • homing in on two key factors essential to self-publishing success: craft and marketing


What’s your proudest achievement to date as an indie author?

That I managed to write six books that people could actually read. Next up, I’m working on writing books that people actually like.

What’s the single best decision you ever made?

When I was 19, I adopted a 3-yr-old girl … kinda by accident. Long story. Short version: I had to get my act together fast as a single dad. I learned love and compassion, how to ask others for help, how to quickly dispose of dating problems, and many other valuable life lessons. She’s now 45, has three kids, and still fills me with joy when she visits or calls. (Later in life I got married and had two kids the old fashioned way, but that’s boring.)

What’s been your biggest surprise as an indie author?

How hard it is to craft a great book. (Not to mention crank out a series.) If you read my books in order … I should be honest here … If you struggle through my early works and make it to my most recent –without committing suicide—you’ll see a search for craft in my writing.

Every time I start Chapter One, I find myself thinking, OK, this time it’s going to be GREAT!

array of four-book series covers

What’s your greatest challenge – and how do you deal with it?

Time management. I blow too much time on rearranging ad strategies like a life-boat steward on the Titanic. I should be writing my next chapter right now. As a matter of fact…

How do you get/stay in a creative mood?

Not an issue for me. Everything I say is a lie. All I have to do is group them around imaginary people and events. But, as you’ve guessed, I’m lying. Probably.

How do you remain productive/motivated?

Look at the checkbook. Or, call my son or daughter and ask if they really need to go to a fancy, expensive college.

My daughter’s semester abroad really helped my production.

What’s your favourite thing about being an author–publisher?

Goofing off all day and discovering that people laugh and cry at the stuff I’ve written. It never ceases to amaze me how gullible people are.

What are your top tips for other ALLis?

Craft and marketing. One cannot make up for the other. Study both with reckless abandon.

What’s next for you?

As I stated at the beginning, writing a book that people actually like.

#Indieauthors - take inspiration from this succinct, smart interview from bestselling #thriller writer Seeley James, a #selfpublishing role model profiled on our blog today Click To Tweet

Like to read more inspiring success stories from the ALLi archive?

Author: Seeley James

My writing career ranges from humble beginnings with short stories in The Battered Suitcase, to being awarded a Medallion from the Book Readers Appreciation Group. I’m known for the Sabel Security series featuring athlete and heiress Pia Sabel and her bodyguard, veteran Jacob Stearne. One of them kicks ass and the other talks to the wrong god. Uhm, maybe you should read the first page of ELEMENT 42 to understand that bit. www.seeleyjames.com.


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Do you recommend hybrid companies. Have you ever heard of Cornerstone Publishers in the UK? Are they a reputable company?

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