We all know what an indie author is although there are some readers out there who have never heard of an independently published author. Up until 2017 I personally had no idea what an indie-author was, let alone read a self-published book by one.

Sure, in a small town there are gift shops with books by local individuals, but most are published by a small press.

One evening while glancing through my Facebook feed an ad from Forbes magazine popped up about indie authors. The ad appeared as many do, conveniently during the time I was in the process of seeking a publisher for Dividing Ridge.

At the time my personal searches ranged from publishers to query to seeking various forms of publication avenues. This particular article began to detail how much money self-published authors made.

The article mentioned a poll that had been taken, the results stating that self-published authors made less than $5k a year and almost 20% never saw a dime from their books.

It was the next statement that further caught my interest, "By comparison, authors published by traditional publishers had a median income range of $5,000 to $9,999 and “hybrid authors” (those who both self-publish and publish with established publishers) had a median income range of $15,000 to $19,999."

One takeaway from the article was authors seem to do well when they hybrid publish. The other takeaway was regardless if a writer self-publishes or traditionally publishes the odds are they would make something from their books.

That article appeared around 2014, but it prompted me to ask what do indie authors make in 2021? Has anything changed? The answer I quickly learned was a resounding yes.

In 2020 according to Mashable magazine "Amazon's 2019 review of its Kindle sales, there are now thousands of self-published authors taking home royalties of over $50,000, while more than a thousand hit six-figure salaries from their book sales last year."

The connection indie authors can form with their readers is undeniable, especially through platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Some even see a following in the thousands over a short period of time. True that some of those followers are also self-published authors, but authors are readers too.

Despite the successes some authors have, the odds are not high enough of instant success. Time and money are additional factors, with time being perhaps the largest of hurdles for writers.

Many independent authors find being self published akin to a full time job. In one authors case they told Mashable their day started at 8 am and did not end until 10 pm at night, equating their book to running a small business.

From running social media pages to writing other books, editing, and especially marketing independent authors must constantly consider their followers and audience 24/7 and come up with ideas on how to promote.

Support from family, friends, and experts in one shape or form is also key. It's this type of assistance that can also help to spur writing success.

In conclusion while being an overnight sensation is slim with hard work and dedication being a well established indie author that can turn a profit is possible.

A lot has changed in just a decade for indies, and in my opinion, it has all been for the better. This includes how we support one another across multiple genres through social media. What's your story?

Stacy Hawks

Podcast Host