I began my publishing journey in 2010 when Cephrael’s Hand first found its way into print with a hand-drawn map and a cover I created in photoshop. The world of independent publishing back then would be hardly recognizable to those entering it now. Indie Publishing wasn’t even a term in general use at the time.
Those of us forging the path at the beginning of this decade had to navigate our way through a mine field of companies supposedly there to help aspiring authors but who were actually preying upon the burgeoning self-publishing industry with high-cost do-everything pricing (that you could do for yourself for free, if you only knew how) and ‘marketing’ packages that approached piracy.
It’s been fascinating to watch the growth of the industry over the past ten years. Whereas finding a cover artist in 2010 meant a long crawl through DeviantArt.com, now there are countless companies offering high-quality cover art (not to mention oodles of other low-cost services). In 2010, it was all but impossible to find professional freelance book editors. Now there are hundreds of websites listing quality professionals catering to all aspects of the industry. At the beginning of the decade, no one had ever heard of a conference for independent publishers. Now there are dozens of them, along with a vast network of successful authors offering their advice and experience (often free of charge) to help others walk the same path.
Over the last ten years, I’ve watched my industry grow from a fledgling startup floundering in the domineering shadow of the traditional publishing ‘Big Five’ into a powerhouse industry with a vast support network of freelancers catering to its needs.
That much growth meant the industry changed dramatically year by year, morphing along with social media and always bouncing on the wake of Amazon’s massive expansion. Marketing tactics that worked in 2012 fell flat by 2014. Every year the industry underwent some kind of metamorphosis—and it’s still evolving.
In the past decade, I’ve evolved from a self-published author into an independent publisher of an award-winning series. I’ve gone from rising at 4:30am to write before work to rising at 4:30am to write a twelve-hour day. I’ve published 1.5 million words and have more on the way. And I have four #1 bestselling fantasy audiobooks in A Pattern of Shadow and Light for Audible listeners to enjoy (book five just released on December 30th, by the way. Happy new year!).
I’m one of countless independent authors making their living (a good living) publishing their own works, and I count myself immensely blessed to be successful at it.
But what all of this means to me, really, is deeply personal. This path has enabled me to reach you, my dearest readers, without whom none of this would be possible, and to reach you directly—without anyone interfering with my communication to you. I know that what I write, in the way that I’ve written it, will open before your eyes (or ears) exactly as I intended, and that the messages and philosophical explorations in my work will not be subject to the interventions, critiques, arbitrary evaluations, judgements or opinions of ‘experts.’
You’re the only experts whose opinion matters to me. And I’m immensely grateful that so many of you regularly write to me to share your thoughts on my work and the ideas explored within.
So as I look back on the accomplishments of ten years, five books and 1.5 million words, I say with the utmost heartfelt gratitude, Thank you for joining me on this journey. I look forward to many more adventures in the next ten years, and I very much hope you’ll be adventuring along with me.