How to Make a Living as a Professional Self-Published Author


People here who are industry established think they know everything there is to indie publishing when they aren’t indie-published.

What are the evidences to these claims? I’m not saying you can’t share your opinion, but as far as I can see, there is no evidence to back this up at all. Can you share a quote from wattpad where anyone claimed to know everything about Indie Publishing when they aren’t even Indie published? This is a tall claim.

Two, everyone seems to think that they can become “successful” by hopping onto the next gravy train of “fads and trends” and think: “That’ll make me a gazillionaire!”

Again, I’m going to need some evidence on this. I have read no one anywhere claiming you will be a gazillionaire, or even a millionaire. I’ve heard people say with hard work and time you might be able to make a living off of your writing alone, but they’ve always identified the millionaires as outliers. It also depends on what you define as “success”. For me, success is making a living off of your writing, even if that’s only 35,000 a year. Heck, for me, I’d take 10,000 a year has having success. Most people on here whenthey say successful don’t mean millionaires. They mean making money off of their writing, even if it’s a few hundred. Some consider it having an average rating at 3 stars are higher.

Third, everyone thinks that “free” gets results. Free this, free that, free everything. No one has to shed one single American dollar for advertising or promoting. They also think social networking is a breeze and everyone just loves their novels and nobody has any complaints about anything.

Who’s saying this and where? Provide a resource of when this was said on Wattpad and everyone agreed on it. Many people have given advice on how to do certain things for free or cheaper to save money, but no one has every claimed is easy, nor have they ever claimed to have zero complaints or bad reviews on their book. They might share ways to do things that they found was easier than others, but no one has ever said it wasn’t work in some fashion. I’ve heard people say things like “formatting is easier than you think when you look into it”. Virtuslly everyone has said it’s like owning your own business.

It’s just a perfect, idyllic world and everyone becomes this huge success story overnight through no pain and virtually no gain.

When was this ever said anywhere by anyone on the Industry Insiders thread who is published, especially indie authors? You’re allowed to dsay this, but I’m going to need a source before I believe this or take it seriously because in all my time here I have come across nothing to back up this claim.

And lastly, everyone here seems to think they have the absolute perfect formula for SUCCESS and everyone should DO IT.

Some people actually do have some formulas for success based on the trials and errors they’ve seen. No one had promised perfect success, or perfection at all, but general advice on ways to waste money and scams to look out for, etc. This also comes back to definition of success…most people on here define success differently than you. You keep coming back to millions of dollars and no bad reviews but no published author on Wattpad had made this claim anywhere.

I know this sounds harsh, and cruel, and I don’t mean to attack you, but I’m trying to point out here what you’re actually doing. You honestly sound like Donald Trump when you make claims like this. You’re standing on a podium, claiming you have all this knowledge and then make accusations without anything to substantiate it.

Again, you’re allowed to share, but unless you can give me any evidence of this, and finding a quote shouldn’t be hard if it’s happening, I just can’t believe you.


The thing is that it isn’t BDSM. He follows none of the rules of BDSM and plus she’s never into it, so that also goes against the rules. It’s just abuse, plain in simple. That safe word scene comes close to being rape.


Personally I think there’s enough abuse in it without even having to look at the BDSM. Lots of controlling and possesiveness in where she goes, how people interact with her, etc. I’m not saying books like that can’t be written and enjoyed. I don’t even think they are as harmful as we worry, and I think most adults reading them can tell the difference between reality and fiction. (Sort of like how everyone loves Loki from the marvel movies on screen but if he was real and we knew him in our real life his back stabbing and lying would get old fast).

Younger minds reading might be more at risk for reading such stories, but that’s also more of a job of parenting then authors and even publishers can really control. They basically do all they can by shelving them in appropriate areas.

Anyway, back to my point, for me it’s just not an enjoyable read as the tropes in it don’t appeal to me. I don’t mind a good “beauty and the beast” re-telling of someone having to learn to be a better person, but there’s some things I like better than others and stories like fifty shades don’t do it for me as it’s not something I can suspend my disbelief for, if that makes sense.


I guess I never paid much attention to that aspect. 🤷


I did because he was both emotionally and physically abusive and it was romanticized. Books like that make me really mad.


Well said :slight_smile:


I can only hope my story revolving around bdsm does it better justice. :smirk: Lol


Wait, now. I don’t mind reading bdsm. I think it has to do with the psychology of a character. Both characters have to be willing.


Being willing is def a huge part of any type of sexual relationship


yes, and being willing with one partner does not mean willingness of the same experience with another.


In today’s culture I think it’s just about having that dialogue and communication. I’m actually very grateful for the voices that have spoken up and putting out the information on how some tropes when exercised in reality and not on a page, are abusive. The younger more impressionable minds I think need to know and have that available, and I think it’s pause for thought. But I mean, the woman I know who read fifty shades of grey were mostly wives with kids and married to a nice man that weren’t going to go out and get a domineering boyfriend and also taught their children what a good relationship was.

If the voices weren’t out there, if the discussions weren’t being had, I’d think books like fifty shades were much more harmful.

I do have my limits though, I draw the line at writing kiddie porn. Burn it with a flame.


People write that? Oh, boy, am I sheltered. I mean, I know that it’s on porn sites, which is awful enough, but now I am speechless. I want may characters to be old enough to say no, drive? Drink? I mean, I make it a point of saying ‘so-in-so is eighteen, but they aren’t ready for such in such’.


I don’t think it’s bleeding into traditonal publishing, but like anything, if it exists you can find it on the internet. I can’t tell you where because I’m not looking for it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some in the indie market hiding around right now. Unfortunately, whole groups of pedophiles have made communities and exchange things on the dark web :’(


It’s sick what these asses do… :nauseated_face:


TBH most of them don’t even know how to get on the dark web. Reddit makes it easy enough to share this sh*t :frowning:


This is rich coming from someone who’s never been published???


I was having a trawl through hot sellers today and found a fiction book about incest. Is that even allowed on here? I don’t get why this is entertaining.


Nope. It’s against the TOS. You should report it to a mod. They can sometimes cut through the red tape.


As someone who has been a publisher before, I can also guarantee that we wouldn’t have worked with an author who spends their time on the internet denigrating other authors this much.

There is a chart with two axes. The first axis is how much the editor loves your book, and the second axis is how much of a liability you are to work with. You can score high on the love axis, but if you’re also high on the pain axis you’re just not going to get taken on, end of story.

People want to know how authors with average or even mediocre books get published? Because they score between low and zero on the pain axis, and because publishers have three sets of publishing slots they are trying to fill:

  1. Frontlist. These are the big ticket items, the ones the publisher will work with bookstores to get in the windows or on the front tables facing the entrance. Big name authors, gift books, or books the publisher is otherwise willing to gamble will be worth the huge discounts retailers demand for this kind of placement.
  2. Midlist. This is the bulk of a publishing house’s income. Some of these books will go face-up on tables further inside stores. They might get a small amount of advertising, or ARCs sent out to press. For the most part, though, the author has to do the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing - touring for signings, networking, social media, you name it.
  3. Backlist. These are the books that publishing houses put up to make up their numbers. They have to supply X number of books which hit specific criteria, for instance, or they have authors they’ve discovered are a pain to work with and so are just slipping their books out then quietly dropping the author in the future. If a bookstore bothers ordering any of these in, they go straight onto a shelf, spine-out, and will probably end up in a bargain bin in a year or two.

If you score high on love and low on pain you’re already headed for Midlist status. Midlisters can, over time, become household names among lovers of their genre. It can lead to the Frontlist if readers really take to your books over the coming years.

If you’ve made it to Frontlist somehow - not impossible for a debut author, but also much more likely for an existing celebrity, Midlister, or sudden trend you happen to match - then you’re only set for life so long as you still score low on pain and high on love - there are a thousand other authors waiting to take your slot, and no author is indispensable to a publishing house. If you start throwing your toys out of your pram the moment you’re famous, you can become un-famous quite quickly.

If you were accepted for Midlist and made yourself high on the pain axis before publication, you will end up on the Backlist by the time your book is released, and your publisher will quietly drop you. The End.

(As an aside, more grotesquely, some publishing houses automatically backlist anything they’re releasing solely to fulfil legally-obligated diversity targets. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the levels of bigotry involved in that decision).

Publishers go right to Google the moment they have a manuscript in their hands that they like, and if they see a consistent pattern of ill behaviour that will sink a book before it’s even released, they will pass on it, even if they love it.


FANTASTIC post. Thank you for sharing!!