About This Blog

Welcome, indie authors and publishers!

This is primarily a place where new and aspiring independent authors and publishers can get answers to questions about how to succeed as an indie author.

What is an Indie Author?

Indie authors, also called self-publishing authors or self-publishers, are those who chose not to publish their books through traditional publishers but, instead, publish through alternative publishing sources such as Amazon Direct Publishing, Barnes & Nobles Press, Lulu, Ingram Spark among many others.

Amazon icon with books

This site will be most useful to newbies in the indie publishing world. Since Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is the focal publishing platform discussed on this site, a newbie is considered anyone who is preparing to publish, or someone who has been published on Amazon in the past but has seen no appreciable results from their efforts.

If you are a seasoned author/publisher who is already generating a monthly income from your book, you may find that you already know and mastered most of the information and strategies provided in this blog; nevertheless, you might still find some new knowledge of interest to you. For newbies, however, the information on this site could give them a competitive edge, given the number of new indie authors entering the book market daily.

How Many Books are Published on Amazon Daily?

Every day, over 8,000 new authors publish on Amazon, so the competition is brutal. If you are at a loss about how to survive and thrive in the Amazon jungle of new publications, you are in the right place!

What does an Indie Author need to Know?

There is a ton of information online about publishing with Amazon; however, the thing is, many new independent authors and publishers don’t know what they don’t know and often feel overwhelmed and lost in a forest of information.

Knowledge is the key to indie authors’ success, but all too frequently new authors do not know the questions they should be asking, do not have the right information to make informed decisions, and so make wrong choices when setting their book up for publication within the KDP platform. Also, indie publishers must have a clear understanding of what being a successful author and publisher on Amazon means to them.

At a minimum, Indie authors need to know:

  • how to construct the seven most efficacious keywords for their books,
  • how to choose the correct categories for their publication,
  • How to add additional categories for their books,
  • how to write powerful descriptions for their books,
  • ways to market their books.

From my personal experience, I found that it was extremely important to understand fully the underlying logic concerning each of the above concepts; a clear comprehension of the above points guided my actions and choices as I learned about indie publishing on Amazon. You see, successful publishing on KDP starts at the information-gathering stage.

Measuring Success on Amazon

Book with best seller badge and star rating

Let’s face it, the majority of indie authors will not make it to the New York Times Best Seller list, nor will they make a million bucks or a sustainable living selling their books on Amazon. Still, there are measures of success that are important and encouraging to all indie publishers, and, in combination, reaching these milestones can lead to brand recognition (you are your brand) and residual or sustainable income. At a very fundamental level, to most indie publishers, these measures of success are:

  • Achieving that #1 Best Seller badge for your book as often as possible
  • Receiving four or five-star ratings from your readers regularly
  • Garnering positive reviews consistently
  • Earning residual income from the sale of your books

But how do you achieve these goals? It will take a commitment to learning about the indie publishing world and discipline to get there! Are you willing to do the work? On this blog, you will learn a few keys to success for publishing and selling your books on Amazon.

Two Basic Keys to Success for Selling Books on Amazon

  • First, build a foundation of relevant knowledge. Start educating yourself by getting the most relevant information about KDP publishing even while you are writing your manuscript;
  • In the set-up stage within the Amazon Publishing platform, play close attention to the book’s two categories, seven keywords, and the description section

Accurate categorization, relevant keywords, and pertinent descriptions will attract customers searching for a book like yours, and could convert their interest into sales. 

How this Indie Author and Publisher Blog Will help you

  • In this blog you will be provided with the knowledge and tools to help you create the categories, and keywords for your book, as well as help you to write a captivating description of your work.
  • Additionally, you will understand how ratings and reviews affect buying decisions and why bad reviews can be your best friend, fueling your success and helping you become a better writer.

After publication, newbie authors can become obsessed with ratings and reviews; they crave positive reviews and 5-star ratings. We all want to see that Best Seller badge next to our publication because, all together, reviews, ratings, and that enviable #1 Best Seller badge are powerful buy-triggers for our target market. Plus, admit it—they are great motivators and validate the effort and work we put into our books.

However, did you know…

…Did you know that you can achieve Amazon’s Best Seller status with less than 5 reviews and less than 5-star ratings? And even when you have done no promotion? Yes, you can!! I know, because I achieved this milestone for almost every month of 2020, 2021, and have been #1 in at least one of my categories almost every day of 2022, thus far. The secret rests in choosing the right categories and keywords!

However, when I first published my book in November of 2019, my sales were non-existent. It was not until March of 2020 that I began to draw a modest monthly income after I figured out how what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. Before things improved for me, I had to understand some very basic but crucial concepts regarding the concepts I mentioned above (i.e., book description, categories, and, as well as how to gauge the efficacy of my choices).  

Get Relevant Information for Indie Publishing

The right information is useful information. My goal is to share the right kind of information that will benefit you directly and immediately. I will reveal the strategies, tools, and resources I utilized to gain a measure of success, as well as a continuing modest monthly income, from my book, Whispering Quilts: A Slave’s Journey…

More experienced indie authors and publishers are welcome to share their insight gained from their journey, too. I promise to be as succinct as possible and get straight to the point without any fluff that only wastes your time and mine!

A Word about Marketing

An important contributor to this blog will be Charaf Essbati, a book marketing and promotion professional who is highly experienced in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In fact, I met Charaf in an online FB group in which he mentioned his expertise in book cover design. Subsequently, he designed the cover for my first historical work of faction, Whispering Quilts: A Slave’s Journey… (Note: As used in this post, “faction” means a blend of facts and fiction). Charaf has a wealth of information to share with you! You will find his podcasts interesting and valuable.

Preview of Topics

Some of the topics essential to indie authors and publishers that we will address in this blog have to do with (but are not limited to):

Categories: Is your book placed in the correct categories? If you are not ranked in the top 1 – 50 in any or all of the categories you chose, chances are your audience is not finding your product as soon as they should (see example, below).

Keywords: Have you chosen the right keywords? I am talking about the search words your customers will be most likely to use when searching for books like yours.

Rankings: Do you understand what it takes for your book to achieve a high Best Seller Rank (BSR)? You can locate your book’s rank in the Product details, right over the categories section. In this example from my e-book, the BSR is highlighted in yellow, and the categories are in green.

A high BSR is a sign you are selling books. You will learn how to determine which categories and keywords contribute to high Best Seller rankings.

Ratings: Do you obsess about ratings? Stop! We’ll explain why you do not need to stress over this metric any longer.

Reviews: Are you freaking out over a review that garnered you a low rating? Yes, reviews and ratings are important – but we will explain how bad reviews and less-than-five-star ratings can actually work in your favor!

Tools for Success: Do you have the necessary tools that will enable you to forge ahead of your competition? As I mentioned before, Amazon publishes over 8,000 new books each day! It is a jungle out there! We will reveal to you the keys to your success by providing you the right tools and resources to get on a path to indie publishing success.

Believe it or not, these discussions will be eye-openers for newbies and published authors whose books are not being seen by their intended audiences and therefore are not generating sales. New and soon-to-be-published indie authors will benefit from new knowledge and information that will position them to become bestsellers in their categories, help them earn that coveted #1 Best Seller badge, and even generate income on a monthly basis!

Please stay tuned as we update this site with new and relevant content weekly.