What I've been up to + an announcement...

July update

It's been a while since I've written anything on here, and that's mostly because:

- I ran an INF Summit in February, and have since been working more on INF Club

- I decided to turn this 'indie author' blog into a book.

As I'm checking back in after so long, I figured it makes sense to go back to the beginning and tell you where I am today, and what this blog might look like going forward. (I'm still figuring it out, but there's still energy here and I'm excited).

Well, last year, I scratched an itch that I had and started interviewing indie authors.

Why?

Well, I find them aspirational and relatable people. My own 'doing my own thing' journey has morphed into one of a blogger and solopreneur (see: INF Club, my other project), after getting sucked into 'startup world' for a brief stint. Around 6 years ago, when I was unhappy in my corporate job and looking for “the answer” as to what to do next (it never came, btw, I kinda had to figure it out slowly but surely) it was the indie/solopreneur books that spoke to me most - and have done since.

Chris Guillebeau's The $100 Startup was one of the first such books, and the most recent I've been reading is Company of One, by Paul Jarvis.

Whilst I’m careful to be intentional about the time I spend online, I’ve found comfort in finding other like-minded indies over on IndieHackers.

Why indie?

There is so much about being a part of the growing indie community which speaks to me deeply. From the freedom, to the shared heart-centred values, to the amazing possibility that we can make an income from our self-expression, from our art, without any barrier to entry or anyone telling us to change what we write or create to make it more 'mass-marketable'.

As indies, we don't need the masses. More like 1000 loyal fans, or perhaps even just 100.

Why indie authors?

Which brings me onto why I wanted to interview indie authors. Well, a similar reason to why I hang out so much on IndieHackers. And, actually, a big reason for me starting my INF Club project just over a year ago.

I wanted to surround myself with others just like me, in the hope that I become just like them.

This is something I have very much experienced before, in other communities I have been a part of.

When I left my job [back in 2015], the decision I made was from a purely intuitive standpoint... I didn't know what I was going to do nor - more importantly - who I was. What I did know was that 9-to-5 life (in fact, 8.30am to 6pm for me at the time) wasn’t for me. My heart knew it.

I also realised that I was attracted to - and gained great value and nourishment from - reading and hearing the stories of other people, whether it was through blogs or on podcasts. I was more drawn to these stories than the 'how-to' resources offering a prescribed A -> Z roadmap... there are some amazing how-to resources out there, which I've taken value from, but I've realised I wanted to figure out the roadmap that worked for me, my own roadmap if you will - inspired by the stories and worldviews of others.

One of my favourite writing podcasts is Write With Impact, by Glenn Leibowitz, who would bring on a different guest each week to share their writing story, from content marketers through to fiction and non-fiction authors. I loved it. It let me get ideas and inspiration from a bunch of different types of writers and creatives, and at a time when I probably knew I wanted to be a writer of some kind (I was already blogging), but the kind of writers I was to be was still yet to emerge. And, actually, this is still unfolding. In fact, I have a feeling it always will be.

I became fascinated by other writers and creatives - whose values and stories I could relate to, even if I wasn't yet 'there' myself. There were also folks emerging in this exciting world of indie publishing - you could make money from your writing!! - like Joanna Penn, who has been producing amazing resources for writers who want to self-publish for over a decade now.

I've also found an expansive and ever-growing writing community on Twitter (just check out hashtags like #writingcommunity or #amwriting), and in other places like GoodReads and NaNoWriMo. But I realised I had a yearning to really delve into the stories of others who had taken on that tricky mission of producing a book and putting it out into the world. And particularly those who had “gone their own way”, the indie way.

I was already a blogger, so the simplest thing to do was for me to start a blog and start with written interviews. I realised that other writers really enjoyed the process, and it often felt more familiar and comfortable being interviewed like this, than it would be over a recorded podcast/video.

Not long after launching The Indie Author blog here on Substack, I realised - "hmm, this would make a great book. I should totally do that".

And then, as I started to reach out to more indie authors, and start to build up a small body of interviews, I realised that running a 2nd blog and putting together a book at the same time felt unsustainable.... which is why I’ve not shared anything on this blog - interviews or otherwise - for a while.

I've been putting together this The Indie Author book in a slow and measured fashion, because:

a) It's my 1st book, so I've been figuring things out as I go

b) In the past, when I've tried to go from A -> Z as quickly as possible, I've burned myself out

c) To manage my energy; a big focus has been on the other aforementioned blog + community I run

My intention is to check in here on the blog around once a month, to let you know what I'm up to and how I'm getting on with putting the book together.

Here's the website for it - I cobbled it together in about an hour, and the book cover you see is one I made using Canva; this was just for the purposes of the website - I'll be getting a cover designer to put together something prettier. :)

Update: the new cover is done :) See below…

Thanks for being here, it's been nice checking in with you again 😊

Jas