Abundance For Authors And Taking Action With Honoree Corder

The ‘poor, starving artist’ myth has kept a lot of creatives down, but we’re living in a time of abundance – of creativity, of global readership and of the opportunity to publish and reach them.

In this interview, Honoree Corder shares her abundance ideas for authors, plus some interesting ideas for expanding income streams.

Creative Freedom Banner 250 x 250In the introduction, I mention that I’m still working on the Creative Freedom course, which is only for those serious about making a living with their income. I put out a video on the Roadmap this week, and you can still get the free video series at www.TheCreativePenn.com/freedom

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets kobo writing lifethrough the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.

ereadlocallogoKobo has just launched an initiative to support local independent bookstores in the US. Check out all the details at: Kobo.com/ereadlocal

Kobo’s financial support pays for the hosting and transcription, and if you enjoy the show, you can now support my time on Patreon. Thank you for your support!

honoreeHonoree Corder is an author, speaker, executive coach and entrepreneur. Her latest book is Prosperity for Writers: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Abundance.

You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher, watch the video or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.

  • Business funnels for authors and using a book as a calling card.
  • Several different ways to make money from books, including specialty printing for corporations.
  • abundanceConfidence, claiming our own value and shifting to a prosperous and abundance mindset.
  • BOLO and how to use this strategy to shift our mindset to one of abundance and prosperity.
  • The need to recommit to our plans when roadblocks get in our way and the hard work it takes to keep going.
  • On the necessity of writing more than one book and repurposing the assets you already have in place.
  • The acronym FAME and the importance of each element, including having a production plan.
  • Why scheduling matters in each day and also for a production plan.

You can find Honoree at HonoreeCorder.com or on twitter @honoree and the book is available on Amazon here.

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How To Build Your Own Self-Hosted Author Website In Under 30 Minutes

Your website is one of the most important things to get sorted if you’re taking your career as an author seriously.

set up your author websiteIt’s your home on the internet and the hub for your books.

It’s how readers, agents, publishers, journalists, bloggers and podcasters judge how professional you are.

It’s where you can start to build an email list of readers.

A free site is not good enough if you want to take your author career onwards and upwards.

But your own site doesn’t have to be a big deal. It’s not expensive and it won’t take long to set up.

In this video, I take you through why having your own site is important, how to get a hosting account and set up your wordpress site, as well as using an example theme and how to start your email list.

You can watch the video below or here on YouTube. There are also step-by-step notes after the video.

[Please note: The links in the text and the video are affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of the sale but at no extra cost to you. With the hosting, you even get a discount if you use my link. I hope you find the video tutorial useful enough that you will consider using my links so I can continue to provide free information. Thank you!]

How to set up your own author website video

Step by step guide to setting up your own author website

Follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll have your own author site set up in no time :)

(1) Why go self-hosted? [1:40 on video]

Plenty of authors use free websites. There are a lot of choices and you don’t pay a thing. But here’s why I believe you should successhave a self-hosted site.

  • Control. If you own your site, no one can take it away from you. Free sites are built on the goodwill (and marketing) of companies who own the real estate from which you are promoting yourself and your books. What if that company decides not to continue the service anymore? Also, if you’re an indie author, you understand that control of our own assets is one of the reasons we’re indie in the first place. So why wouldn’t you want control of your own site?
  • More functionality. If you use a free website service, you don’t have access to all the cool functionality you would if you self-hosted. For WordPress sites, this means you get to use awesome plugins which enable you to do so much more than the free sites.
  • More professional. Just as a book IS judged by its cover, so are you judged by your website. Readers, agents, publishers, journalists, TV producers, bloggers and podcasters will all visit your website – and they can tell a free site instantly. How seriously do you take this author career if you don’t invest in a pro looking site?

The good news: It doesn’t have to cost you much anymore to have a professional looking website that you control with all the functionality you need. Let’s get into it!

(2) Get a domain name and a hosting account [4:01 on video]

A domain is your address on the internet – usually your author name or business name e.g. JFPenn.com or TheCreativePenn.com. You can get domain names at lots of places (I use GoDaddy.com) but you can also use the hosting site as I go through below as part of the setup which is the super easy option.

Hosting is basically a way to store and run your website on the computers of a specialized hosting company. You essentially rent space so people can access your website from all over the world.

bluehostThere are lots of options for hosting but I recommend Bluehost for my author clients and I’ve even built my parents’ sites on it, so I can vouch for it personally.

Why choose Bluehost? [5:14 on video]

  • Great 24×7 support by email, online chat or phone
  • Reliability – up time average of 99.9%
  • Ease of use – so no tech headaches
  • WordPress officially recommends 3 services and BlueHost is one of them
  • No limits – unlimited disk space, bandwidth, domains, email accounts – so your site can grow
  • Affordability – a few $ a month depending on which plan you pick – and you can get a discount off the advertised price through the link I share in a minute
  • Plus 30 day money back guarantee, so if you change your mind, no worries.

How to set up your account on Bluehost, claim your domain and install WordPress [7:44 on video]

Click here to go to the Bluehost site, so you can get your reduced hosting plan.

bluehost1The first page will give you an option – either you have a domain or you need to get one. In my example client setup, I chose to get the domain from Bluehost.

Then set up an account. It doesn’t matter which country you’re in.

Next, choose your account plan. The page will show a reduction if you use my bluehost plansaffiliate link, TheCreativePenn.com/bluehost. I recommend the Plus plan, mainly because you are likely to want to build other sites and have a scalable account. But of course, you can start small and upgrade later. Once you choose the plan, you will need to enter your payment details.

If it all goes through, you’ll get a confirmation email saying your account has been created and your domain has been assigned if you bought one through the site. You can now set up a password for your account on Bluehost. This is your administration password so keep it secure.

install wordpressNow you can install WordPress software and Bluehost makes this super easy. You will either get a pop-up which says Install WordPress or you can click the icon on the Control Panel. Seriously, you just click the button :)

Once it is installed, you will be given your login details. Keep this safe as it is the Administration access to your new website.

bubblyCongratulations! You now have an author website! [15:37 on video]

But it’s not exactly functional yet as you need to add content and also install a Theme.

The Theme is basically the design, the look and feel, or the ‘skin’ of the site. What’s brilliant about WordPress is that you can change the Theme over time, but the content remains. I’ve changed Themes four times on The Creative Penn in 6 years and it’s a perfectly normal part of developing your online presence on the internet.

This is also why I don’t recommend paying someone thousands to set up a custom design, because inevitably you will change it anyway!

You can get a Premium theme with SEO (search engine optimization) and Mobile compatibility for under US$100 and you’ll get a guide on how to configure your own site.

[If you’re scared of techy stuff, I would really urge you to give this a go. It is incredibly empowering to get to grips with your own website and it will save you a LOT of money and time going forward.]

studiopressI use and recommend StudioPress.[18:26 on video]

I use the Author Pro theme for JFPenn.com and Beautiful Pro for TheCreativePenn.com. But there are tons to choose from – just search WordPress themes and you will come up with many :)

My suggestion is to spend an hour looking and then make a decision. Don’t let this lead to procrastination! You will likely change it anyway, so just make a decision and get building.

But whatever Theme you choose, you download it as a .zip file onto your computer and then go to Appearance -> Themes on your WordPress dashboard and upload it. Activate the Theme and then you will need to customize it. Each Theme comes with a guide for how to make it look like you want it to.

I spent 34 minutes doing a demo on the video, which included book cover design for my example client!

Then you add your information to the site. Here’s a quick overview (and in the video at 23:34 mins, I take you on a whizz-around my sites!)

Pages are the static pages like About, Contact and your Book pages. Posts are used if you are blogging or podcasting, but that isn’t necessary for authors. It’s only if you want to produce regular content. Widgets are used for the front page, sidebars, top and bottom area and are important for the extra links you want to show. Plugins are extra little add-ons that let you do cool stuff e.g. add social share buttons.

wp101For more WordPress tutorials, I recommend WP101.com, which will guide you through everything you need to know.

Or you can just muddle through with trial and error, as I did, and still do to some extent! As long as you’re happy to play around and you back your site up (Tools -> Backup), you’ll be fine.

Book Marketing: Start building your email list [30:01 on video]

One of the most important things you can do to market your book is collect emails from people who might be interested in buying it.

You can start this as soon as you have a website, or if your book is available already, you can start now as well. It’s like that old saying about ‘when’s the best time to plant a tree?’ It’s years ago, or it’s today. Every day you wait is another day that goes by when you’re not collecting interested people’s email!

Not starting an email list early is one of the top things that people regret, so definitely put it on your list!

aweberThere are two services that most authors use: I use and recommend Aweber. You can also use Mailchimp. Either is fine.

Each site will enable you to create a form on your website by copying and pasting some code. (It’s easier than it sounds and there are plenty of tutorials at either free stuffsite.) Then you can start collecting emails.

Just having a simple form on your site is a good start, but if you want to really build your list, you will need something that makes people want to sign up.

I use a free thriller on JFPenn.com and the Author 2.0 Blueprint on TheCreativePenn.com.

For your freebie, it needs to be some useful or inspirational for non-fiction and entertaining for fiction.

There are lots of options, but there are definitely ways to supercharge your email list signups.

10K readersI recommend watching the free video training series from Nick Stephenson on building your first 10,000 readers.

You can also read a case study here of how I used Nick’s tips to massively increase my own email list.

So there you are.

You now have your own author website with a professional looking Theme and you can start capturing emails of interested readers.

Happy creating!

How I Make A Six Figure Income With My Writing

I love the transparency of the indie world.

It’s so important for us to share information so we can learn from each other. I’ve just finished my 2014 -2015 tax returns in the UK, so I wanted to share my breakdowns in the hope that it helps you with your author business.

How does my six-figure income break down?

First of all, I am an author-entrepreneur. All my income stems from my writing but I separate that into books and blogging-related, since the latter brings me speaking opportunities and affiliate income as well as direct sales.

breakdown2015The business now makes an income that is 3x the UK average for a male and is a six figure business in USD.

I won’t specify exact figures, but in 2014, when I reported for the previous tax year, the income was just over 2x the UK average for a male, so it has improved.

The break down of income streams is shown in the pie chart:

  • 50% book related income, which includes audiobooks and print as well as ebook sales on all retail stores. This would be a full-time income for many people on its own, and proves that you can make a good income as an author, despite what the mainstream media suggest (but then they never seem to survey indies!)
  • 12% course sales from my own site
  • 25% affiliate sales which is basically a commission on selling other people’s products that I use and believe are useful
  • 10% paid professional speaking
  • 3% sponsorship for the podcast from corporate sponsors and Patreon

How does the book income breakdown by format?

format2015Here’s the breakdown by format.

Clearly ebooks are dominant, as they are for any indie author. But I wouldn’t be without my print sales either :) They are mainly non-fiction sales.

What is more interesting is that a year ago, I had virtually no audiobook income. I am super bullish on audiobook growth over the next few years and have really been focused on growing that area. I have 10 books in audio so I expect to see that figure grow next year.

How does the book income breakdown by store?

I love Amazon.

stores2015They changed my life and enabled me to leave my day job and become an author entrepreneur. I read 99% on the Kindle, I’m Amazon Prime and a dedicated Amazon customer.

BUT, I don’t believe in exclusivity for my book sales.

In 2008, I was laid off along with several hundred colleagues in one day during the global financial crisis. That was the last time I relied on one company for my livelihood. If selling books is not your main income, then fair enough :)

I also believe that, although Amazon may dominate in the US and UK, iBooks and Kobo specifically dominate in other countries and my income there continues to grow every month. Yes, they take some work to get moving, but in my opinion, it’s worth it for the long term global market.

I go into more details on the pros and cons of exclusivity in this article, but obviously it’s your choice.

How does book income break down by fiction vs non-fiction?

I now have 10 fiction books (plus a short story series) and 5 non-fiction books.

fiction non fiction income split

The bulk of my book income is from fiction

The first graph shows the % income for fiction and non-fiction. I make nearly 60% of my book income from fiction, which is pretty awesome actually as I’ve been working hard to develop a back-list.

The second graph shows the % sales volume for fiction and non-fiction.

fic non fic volume

Fiction sells more in terms of volume

You can see that I sell far more fiction books than non-fiction, and I have taken out the free books so this is just for paid items.

In terms of pricing, I have books ranging from free through $2.99, $4.99 and all the way up to $8.99 on Amazon. On Kobo and iBooks I have boxsets at even higher prices as there is no cap on the royalty rate.


What am I planning for the next financial year?

Obviously more books!

DevianceI’ve just released Deviance, the final book in the London Psychic trilogy. I’m writing a dark fantasy thriller with J Thorn in September, working title, Risen Gods.

I also have the next ARKANE book roughly plotted out, working title, Destroyer of Worlds … and a load more to come … For non-fiction, I’m working on a book on mindset for authors. Busy, busy!

But the big change is that I am getting back into courses.

TheCreativePenn_Course Buttons3

One of my old courses, retired in Dec 2014

Those of you who have been around a while know that I have had a number of courses over the last 6 years. I started in 2009 with the Author 2.0 course, then I sold modular courses and then I did several joint venture courses with CJ Lyons, Roz Morris and Alan Baxter. I closed all previous courses in Dec 2014 for two reasons:

a) the EU VAT law that came into law on 31 Dec 2014 meant that I would have to go through painful hoops to sell direct in the way I had set everything up. The law only affects digital products that are electronically provided with minimal or no personal input. That meant I was liable for the new threshold. But if you have a personal element to the product delivery e.g. live webinars, then the usual VAT threshold applies and since most of my income is from the US, that doesn’t apply. More here if you want the gory details on the tax rate. I will be including a personal element in future products, so future stuff won’t be affected.

b) the courses were dated. They were super :) of course, but it was time to close them down. Those of you who bought the courses still have access to them, but it’s time to reinvent my teaching.

c) I was overwhelmed and wanted to focus on my books, especially my fiction, and didn’t feel I had time for everything.

What’s changed?

champagne corksThe biggest change is that my husband has now joined the business. Yes, I have hired him out of his day job :) and yes, I will introduce him when he’s settled in!

This makes a huge difference as I now have help with the technical side of things and can focus on creation. He will also be doing a lot of the customer side of things and it means we can get back into courses.

I get so many emails every day and I am so passionate about teaching what I learn that it’s crazy NOT to do courses again. I can’t physically speak everywhere and this introvert also does better alone in front of the computer than with crowds. (I do emerge occasionally, honest!)

I want to share how to do everything and help YOU write, publish and market your books as well as build a business. I also want to be able to retreat to my writing cave and create stories :)

Creative Freedom Banner 250 x 250Now I can do both.

So, there are courses to come soon as well as a community for those who are serious about building a business as an author.

The first will be the Creative Freedom course – and you can watch a FREE video series where I start to go through the top questions people ask.

Video 1 is 11 ways to make money as an indie author and Video 2 is 7 ways to find time to write and build your author business. Click the image below to get the first free video.

freedom small

OK, that’s about enough for this year. THANK YOU for your support and I’m super pleased to be able to continue helping as much as I can on your author journey.

Please feel free to ask me any questions about this in the comments below.


Productivity And Working Smarter, Confidence For Writers And Breaking The Rules With Chandler Bolt

I love meeting people who challenge me by what they accomplish and how they work.

Chandler Bolt has inspired me with his focused and ‘work smarter’ approach and today I interview him about how he does it. Here come the productivity tips!

DevianceIn the intro, I talk about the launch of Deviance and the Desecration promotional approach, plus how Amazon’s Follow button now seems to work (see the pic here). I also mention the free video series on 11 ways to make money as an indie author and thank you for all your wonderful comments. Over 2000 people have now watched the video and I’m super happy that it’s going down so well :)

99designs-logo-750x200pxThis podcast episode is sponsored by 99 Designs, where you can get all kinds of designs for your author business including book covers, merchandising, branding and business cards, illustrations and artwork and much more. You can get a Powerpack upgrade which gives your project more chance of getting noticed by going to: 99Designs.com/joanna

chandlerboltChandler Bolt is the author of 5 non-fiction books and is one of the entrepreneurs behind the Self-Publishing School training program and the recent Self Publishing Summit, which was fantastic.

You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher, watch the video on YouTube or read the notes and links below.

  • Working smarter, not harder at writing and the value in keeping things simple.
  • Chandler’s three-step process for writing a book and why getting the first draft finished matters so much.
  • On timed writing, tracking time, using Parkinson’s Law to gather momentum, and the tools Chandler uses to support his timed writing.
  • On confidence, fear and working hard despite a perceived lack of validation. Also the best ways to develop confidence, including the willingness to fail.
  • SPSLaunchAdThe beginnings of an entrepreneurial approach to life, the value of starting, no matter what that looks like, and the importance of not comparing your success with anyone elses. And how putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves can strip away the pleasure of being entrepreneurial.
  • On falling into the business of self-publishing, the reduction in barriers to making art and the legacy that is left by being creative.
  • The value of learning from those who are just two steps ahead.
  • The key learnings from the self-publishing success summit, including the concept of having a system behind a book at the ‘backend’, the importance of pre-sales, and the message of discipline and consistency, even when validation is not offered.
  • Ambition and the underlying values behind it of growth, learning and contribution.
  • On the future of publishing and the prediction that the balance of power is shifting to the artists’ hands.

You can find Chandler’s free book and video series at Self Publishing School.

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Ambition, Writing Tips And Being An Indie At #ThrillerFest15

This was my third Thrillerfest and as in previous years, I was amongst my tribe!

I also heard several other authors say the same thing, “I couldn’t find my people anywhere else, but here, I feel at home.” Here are some of my highlights from this year and you can also check out my 2012 and 2014 articles for past event tips.

J.F.Penn, Clive Cussler

I meet one of my writing heroes, Clive Cussler! Dirk Pitt’s influence can be seen in Morgan Sierra in my ARKANE series.

Writers are weird, that’s true of any genre.

But ITW and ThrillerFest are my kind of weird – authors who talk about body count, weaponry, explosions, sex and the supernatural alongside the business of selling multi-millions of books.

If you check #thrillerfest15 on Twitter, you’ll find a whole load of pics and tweets from the event. I also did a reader focused post for #BritCrime with some author tidbits, but here are some of the things that have stood out for me as an author in the last few days.

On ambition

One of the reasons I come to ThrillerFest is to learn from authors who have been writing for decades, many of them since before I was born. I am on the bottom rung of the writer’s journey (or maybe the second rung!) and at ThrillerFest I learn from those who remember the early days of this path and are now some of the biggest names in the book world.

I’m also ambitious and ambition is something that many authors, especially in the UK, shy away from as something unacceptable for artists.

But at ThrillerFest every year, I meet authors who are unafraid to state massive ambition, both in artistic and financial terms.

On this trip I met Clive Cussler, whose Dirk Pitt character was definitely an influence on my own Morgan Sierra in the ARKANE series. Clive was asked why he co-writes and he said, “Because the money is so good, and if [James] Patterson can do it, so can I.” I love the honesty of that from a writer who has blazed the action adventure trail, but also still appreciates cash!

Joanna Penn with Blake Crouch

With Blake Crouch, author of the Wayward Pines series, now a TV show

Think big.Blake Crouch

I’ve read Blake Crouch’s indie horror novels and he has co-written with JA Konrath so is well known in indie circles. But when my Dad recommended the Wayward Pines books to me last year, I knew Blake had gone mainstream.

The books are amazing and have recently been adapted into a TV show. Blake spoke of his 10 year journey through different forms of publishing and about how thinking bigger changed his writing career.

He suggested writing stories and characters that resonate across large audiences if you want to have a big hit, rather than writing in a tiny, dark niche like horror. Write what you love, for sure, but consider going wider if you want a massive hit.

Charlaine Harris Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter interviews Charlaine Harris

I discovered an ambitious streak.Charlaine Harris

Charlaine is absolutely charming and funny, the kind of woman that you want to hang out with just to hear her laugh. In an interview with Karin Slaughter, she explained that she had been midlist for years and then with her first Sookie Stackhouse book, she discovered an ambitious streak.

It was wonderful to hear those words from such a gentlewoman, in the Southern sense of the word. She made her agent persist with submissions even after so many rejections, and the Sookie books went on to sell multi-millions of copies and become the beloved TV show, True Blood.

Im the CEO of a multi-million dollar publishing company I have a business plan and I make a new one every year.Lilliana Hart.

Liliana Hart J.F.Penn

Liliana Hart with Joanna Penn at Thrillerfest 2015

I heard Liliana speak at London Book Fair 2014 and she’s definitely one of the indie authors and business women I admire most.

She’s also ambitious and as well as her expanding number of books, she has recently announced SilverHart Author Resources and SWAT Academy, for authors who want to learn more about law enforcement, as well as SilverHart Publishing. Created by Liliana and her husband, the lovely Chief of Police Scott Silverii, you can find out more here.

Liliana also mentioned that iBooks is the largest market for her books, and she’ll be coming on the podcast to talk about that later this year.

Writing and publishing tidbits

I went to lots of panels and heard lots of authors speak. Here are some of the lines that stood out.

“The story is what hooks the reader, not the beauty of the writing. Become a better storyteller.” Lilliana Hart.

RL Stine, David Morrell and Nelson DeMille“I’m a factory.” RL Stine on writing 2000 words every day. Stine has sold over 400 million books! He also writes extensive outlines of every book so an editor will approve them before writing.

“I’m an entertainer. The reader has to get their money’s worth.” Clive Cussler.

David Morrell (First Blood/Rambo, Inspector of the Dead) writes 5 pages a day. He talked about how self doubt still plagues him on every book after more than 40 years writing.

Sandra Brown writes for 4-5 hours per day and goes to a separate office away from her house.

Peter James, Simon Toyne and J.F.Penn

Simon Toyne, J.F.Penn and Peter James,

Peter James and Greg Iles talked about how covers rejected by bigger name authors get handed down to the lesser known. It’s common in the publishing industry (and not something I had heard before!)

“It’s the small connections on the journey that validate our dreams.” Greg Iles talks about getting a fan letter from Stephen King, surely every thriller authors fantasy!

“Authors employ publishers, they exist to serve readers and authors.” Greg Iles

“Care about getting 70% royalty, not about hitting a list.” Lilliana Hart

On the importance of one liners/taglines for breakout success.

J.F.Penn, Simon Toyne and Mark Billingham  #britcrime

J.F.Penn, Simon Toyne and Mark Billingham #britcrime

Mark Billingham credits the strapline for his first book, Sleepyhead, as the thing that helped him break out. He doesn’t want you alive. He doesn’t want you dead. He wants you somewhere in between.

Simon Toyne was also signing advance copies of his next book and said the same thing. His tagline for Solomon Creed is “His past is unknown. His future unwritten.

I also heard this same advice at Frankfurt Book Fair last year from A.G.Riddle whose book Departure was also on show at ThrillerFest. Riddle has sold over 1m books as an indie and now has a load of book deals so I take his advice seriously!

Departure has also been optioned for a movie deal and can be explained by “A plane takes off and lands in the future.” I’m going to dig deeper into taglines so expect a podcast on how to craft one soon!

On being indie at a pro writer convention

gender panel at ITW

Panel on gender in thrillers moderated by the brilliant Heather Graham. I’m 3rd from left.

ITW is one of the few writer’s organisations that judges authors on the quality of their writing and their sales figures, rather than who publishes them.

I’m a Member of ITW as a professional indie author and they are open to submissions from others who professionally self-publish too. Check the application process here if you write thrillers (the definition of which is pretty inclusive!).

I’ve never felt judged by members of ITW at ThrillerFest for the way I choose to publish. In fact, I met a lot of people this year who listen to my podcast and who read this blog, as well as authors who are indie or hybrid.

I was also on a panel about gender in thrillers alongside traditionally published authors and moderated by Heather Graham, author of over 150 novels which have sold over 75 million copies, who will be the ThrillerMaster in 2016. To be on the program alongside such an amazing author shows true egalitarianism in the organization!

CJ Lyons Joanna Penn

With CJ Lyons after her ITW Thriller award for Best ebook original

To further illustrate the equality of ITW, CJ Lyons won the Best eBook Original Award for Hard Fall, a Lucy Guardino FBI thriller, which she self-published, although she also has books with large publishers so she’s definitely a hybrid author. The fact that it was self-published wasn’t mentioned. Layton Green was also nominated for his indie book, The Metaxy Project.

Indie superstar Liliana Hart was on a panel about sex in thrillers alongside Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood), Lee Child (Jack Reacher) and other traditionally published authors and again, the way she publishes was not mentioned. It really doesn’t matter here.

But there was a specific indie panel and the room was packed.

Jon Land, who is now a hybrid author himself, moderated a great discussion during CareerFest, demonstrating that the indie option is now considered a valid choice for authors.

Lilliana Hart talked about how many people told her it would be the kiss of death to self-publish a few years ago. Now she’s sold over 3 million books without a publisher, she has proved them wrong, but it has been difficult along the way. There will always be levels of snobbery about indies, but also about romantic suspense books. In fact, there’s snobbery about any kind of genre fiction amongst the literary community, so it’s something every author faces at some level.

Write consistently good books and you will make it.Lilliana Hart

cj lyons j.f.penn boyd morrison

With CJ Lyons and Boyd Morrison after the indie panel.

Dan Slater from Amazon KDP has a calm manner which is always wonderful to watch on these panels. He’s often goaded but never cracks and is always professional.

He explained that from the Amazon perspective, they know that readers buy books based on the author name and not the publisher, so building your own author brand and following is the critical thing, however you are published.

When asked about the Amazon review policy change as well as the KDP Select payment per page, Dan said that there will always be more change and authors themselves are driving much of the innovation.

“The worst thing for you to do is stagnate. Keep innovating!” Dan Slater, Amazon KDP

“It’s about you and the readers. No one else matters. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.” Liliana Hart

In conclusion

J.F.Penn Lee Child

With Lee Child at the Gala Dinner

It’s been amazing as ever, but I’ve also had a conflicting time at ThrillerFest this year. On the one hand, Liliana Hart represents what I want to achieve as an indie in terms of success in pleasing readers and in growing a multi-million dollar business on her own terms.

But author of the Sanctus trilogy, Simon Toyne, and I also spent a lot of time recording big name authors sharing their journey and their tips for success for an ITW promo video (which I will share when it’s available!)

When I listened to David Morrell, Steve Berry and Karin Slaughter talk about their journey, when I heard Mark Billingham and Lee Child talk about film and TV deals, when I met Clive Cussler – I was reminded of the opportunities of the traditional publishing industry and my teenage-fangirl-reader-self wanted to be part of it again.

I also got my first email from a reader asking when the hard cover versions of my books will be available and at the moment, hard covers are not something I am considering for my self-published books.

What’s fantastic about ITW is that both indie and traditional options are valid, and they’re not mutually exclusive anymore.

I’ll continue to build my indie career, but I’m also pitching my agent with some ideas for a new series in the next month or so.

I feel incredibly lucky to be an author at this fantastic time when the internet gives us so many options. And I’ll be back at ThrillerFest in New York next year to learn some more. Perhaps I’ll see you there!