Being An Indie Author And Self-Publishing With Zoe Winters

This interview was such fun! Zoe and I laugh our way through the serious but fun topic of being an indie author.

Zoe Winters is an independent paranormal romance author and has written the Bloodlust trilogy of novellas which have sold over 22,000 copies. She is also a passionate advocate of ‘indie authors’ and blogs at on this topic.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How writing inspiration can come from your obsessions and loves – whether that is Buffy or the Bible! How Zoe created a world of vampires and shape-shifters and other paranormal creatures. Write the books you want to read, don’t get hung up on what you “should” write.
  • What is an indie author anyway? Indie authors are self-publishing but they are reclaiming the word. It’s more like indie bands and indie film-makers. It’s about control and understanding how it all works, as well as self-esteem. Most indie authors do most of the work themselves. They pay for some services in order to make a professional book like editing and cover design, but use technologies like Print on demand and ebooks for distribution. Zoe recommends LightningSource as the best option. You do need to be a “publishing company” to be on Lightning Source as well as owning your own ISBNs.
  • Main distribution method for indie authors is online. The costs are down, you can reach an audience more easily. You can still do print as well as ebooks.
  • Once you’re selling well on Amazon, you’re in the system and the more you sell as you get recommended. Selling on Kindle and Amazon is the best way to sell. Use
  • Get a professional editor for your work. Polish your writing and work with critique partners before you send it to the editor. Then they can improve it from there.
  • If you can, learn to do your own formatting. Smashwords style guide for Kindle. Perfect Pages by Aaron Shepard. Pro typesetting is not really necessary for a standard fiction text-based novel.
  • If you outsource, make sure you understand the contract. You can find professionals on Twitter.
  • Being an indie author is not for everybody. You need to be into keeping creative control. You also need to have a thick skin as there are many nay-sayers. You need to treat it as a real business.
  • How Zoe balances her time between writing and marketing after 2 years into indie authorship. It is difficult but you do need to focus on your writing as well as marketing. It’s good to build up a list of people who want your books and support you. There is a good community of people who are out there, doing their thing. Social networking is more about connection, not hard core sales. If people like you, they are more likely to buy your book.
  • On the Zoe Who? videos. Zoe wanted to take advantage of a video audience but didn’t want a book trailer or to put herself on the video. So she used to make some funny videos on self-publishing and being an indie author. Check them out on YouTube here.
  • How we feel about our first drafts and sending to editors. Zoe talks about “Save my Soul” and I talk about “Pentecost”. Most writers start with rough drafts and then it gets better with each revision. On putting the book out there when you have an audience already.

You can find Zoe at her website and also at her blog.You can buy her books on here. She also writes at IndieReader and is on Twitter @zoewinters

Zoe also has a book for indie authors “Becoming an Indie Author”available here:

Amazon Kindle Store

On Barnes and Noble for the Nook (epub format).

And On Smashwords

Here’s one of the Zoe Who? animations – you can see more here.

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  1. says

    Great interview, Zoe! You weren’t kidding about your accent. 😉

    You gave some really good tips for people to keep abreast of contracting and saving money. You always give such valuable information.

  2. says

    LOL, thanks, Belinda! Everybody comments on the twang when they first hear it. The first time I talked to my cover artist on the phone, there was this long pause while she tried to assimilate my accent. haha.

    Glad you found the podcast helpful!

  3. Bryan J Zimmerman says

    Joanna and Zoe,

    This was without a doubt the most informative and entertaining podcast to date!

    I am using CreateSpace, so it was nice to hear Zoe mention it as an alternative to LightningSource. I had not heard of LightningSource until this podcast and plan on doing some research,

    Thanks again for your time and knowledge!

    Kind Regard,

  4. says

    Great podcast. VERY informative! I have 3 pages of notes and ideas. Tonight, I also purchased Zoe’s book, Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author. I am planning to read and post a review on my blog.

    Thanks Joanna and Zoe for the information!


  1. […] help me in my publishing journey. After catching up on The Creative Penn’s blog, I saw that Joanna had interviewed Zoe Winter. Zoe has sold over 33,000 ebooks independently. Pretty impressive to me. I knew I wanted needed the […]

  2. […] help me in my publishing journey. After catching up on The Creative Penn’s blog, I saw that Joanna had interviewed Zoe Winter. Zoe has sold over 33,000 ebooks independently. Pretty impressive to me. I knew I wanted needed the […]

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