Business Musings: Things Indie Writers Learned in 2014

This post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch originally appeared on her site on 12/23/14.

I’d love to say nothing, but that’s not true—if we’re discussing indie writers who have remained in the business for several years. There will always be new indie writers who know very little, and there will always be those with “experience” who turn a year or two worth of sales into a know-it-all platform.

However, those indie writers who’ve been at this since the beginning of the self-publishing revolution in 2009 have learned a lot in 2014. Like last week’s piece, “What Traditional Publishing Learned in 2014,” this week’s will be my opinion. Next week, I’ll examine what I learned (or relearned) in 2014, before moving to brand-new topics.

A few bits of organizational business: Unlike my previous two blog series, The Freelancer’s Survival Guide  and The Business Rusch, Business Musings will appear irregularly. Sometimes it’ll show up in the old Thursday slot like last week’s, and sometimes it’ll show up on a different day like this week’s. Sometimes it’ll be long (like this week), sometimes there will be two or three posts in a week, and sometimes there will be none. If you worry that you might miss one, check back and look at the tab Business Musings under either the Business Resources or Writer Resources in the header.

Also, please note that, as in the past, I’ll be using “indie writer” instead of “self-published writer,” following the music model. I’ll also talk about “indie publishing” instead of “self publishing,” because so many writers who are not with traditional publishers have started their own presses. It’s not accurate to lump all writers who are not following the traditional route into the self-publishing basket any longer, if it ever was.

So, back to the topic at hand. What did indie writers learn in 2014? I wish they all learned the same things simultaneously, but they didn’t (and won’t). I also wish that there were indie writer financial statements, like there are financial statements for the big traditional publishers (which is what I based much of last week’s piece on).

Even if indie writers have formed corporations, those corporations are privately held, and therefore the quarterly financial reports are not public. Privately held companies do not need to list their earnings to anyone outside of the company (except the IRS), and therefore the smart ones do not.

So, in this blog post, I’m piecing together a lot of other people’s blog posts, anecdotal evidence, and just plain common sense. In other words, good old journalist me feels a bit uncomfortable, even though this is an opinion piece, because I don’t have as much quantifiable information as I’m used to for these blogs.

What have indie writers learned?


Read the full, very lengthy (and very much worth reading in full) post, which goes into detail on 15 specific lessons learned, on Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s site.