13 lessons from successful indie authors

I just returned from an exhilarating weekend at the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) conference at the Palmer Hotel in Chicago. One of the sessions that struck me the most was a talk by three successful, self-published authors. None of them had started out to be successful--they wrote only as a hobby. But each has achieved noted success, selling thousands of books, and here are the top lessons they shared. 

1. Write about universal energy (truths) and emotional connections. This way, people will relate to your story.
2. Write something you know about.
3. Write because you love it, and make sure you always strive for a unique perspective on your subject.
4. Be real, be authentic. 
5. Always work with professionals. Surround yourself with editors, designers, marketing and publicity experts who can take your book to the next level. 
6. Start engaging in social media marketing prior to your book launch. It will build early relationships.
7. When you have awards, you get noticed. Enter writing contests to gain more exposure for your book.
8. Be persistent - something will happen if you keep working on it.
9. You will make mistakes, and that's okay, especially since we are all navigating a rapidly transforming publishing industry.
10. Prepare a one-minute talk about what your book's about and why it should be in readers' hands. This will come in handy when you start marketing.
11. There's no right, there's no wrong in writing and publishing your book. Find out what works for you.
12. Do five things a day to market your book. 

...and my personal favorite... 
13. Be audacious.

Stacey D. Atkinson is currently finishing up her first novel, Stuck, which she plans to publish through her independent e-publishing company, Mirror Image Publishing. 

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