Being an Independent Author is Like Being a Marathon Runner

independent author

At a writers conference, you are presented with so much advice; figure out what feels right for you. Enjoy the journey and stay engaged. It’s a long and glorious road, just take one step at a time.

It seemed more than a coincidence that BookBaby’s inaugural Independent Authors Conference (IAC) took place on the same weekend as the New York City Marathon. Independent authors and marathon runners have a lot in common!

First off, writing and publishing a book is certainly no sprint. Not unlike the runners on race day, a book’s release happens after weeks, months, and years of careful, meticulous work and planning. Just like the runners at the start of the race, the authors who make it to release day are truly hardy, tenacious, and driven.

I often think about all the wonderful books that will never be read because their gifted authors lacked some single quality that would otherwise have taken their book to finish line. Whether it’s a lack of self-confidence or a tribe to support and encourage them – whether it’s a lack of tenacity, self-motivation, thick skin, or work ethic necessary to hone their craft and reach their goals – without perseverance in the face of many obstacles, making it all the way to publication will always be just a dream.

This thought came to me at the end of the IAC after meeting so many ambitious authors who were hungry to learn everything they could to get their book to the next level. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Just like a runner has good days and days when shin splints keep them sidelined, an author will experience a combination of good flow days, painful editing days, no-motivation days, beautiful sentences, mixed metaphors, blocks, inspiration, re-writes, boosts of self-confidence, bouts of insecurity, and stalwart don’t-give-up-itude. (I’m beginning to think it’s way harder to write and publish a book than it is to run a marathon.)

So how do we make sure we are ready and motivated to run the long race and not peter out after the fanfare of launch day? Just like a runner’s need to load carbs, writers need to stay fueled. Attending a writers conference does just that. Hanging out with fellow authors – people who truly get you – is fortifying.

There are many opportunities to get inspired, and even to get a keener sense of your own writing projects. By the end of a writers conference, attendees inevitably experience an endorphin high. Capitalizing on this state of excitement is crucial.

You will probably not feel more stoked than you do on the way home from a writers conference. Let that work for you. While some people feel lightheaded from all the information they’ve gained, and it may take a thoughtful plan to accomplish some of their new goals, I say do something immediately! As soon as you get home, or the next day, do something small. Something that will take little time and effort. It will feel productive to have taken a first step. Even the smallest adjustment could create momentum.

What’s the easiest thing you can do? Maybe take a look at your Amazon book page to see if your book description has great keywords, or maybe you want to turn on the “Ask the Author” button on your Goodreads author page, or maybe you will link your website to your Author pages on Amazon and Goodreads. After you tackle some of the simpler things, think about taking on some larger goals; perhaps you want to list a book giveaway on Goodreads. You will not feel this excited a month from now. This is the height of your “writers conference endorphin high.” Use it to your advantage!

The truth is, you won’t be able to do everything. No one does it all. At a conference, you are presented with so much advice from a variety of professionals. Some of the ideas will strike a chord with you, others will not be right for you or your projects. Figure out what feels right. What can you do on your own? What do you want to hire others to do?

Most of all, allow yourself to get excited about the small victories. This way you are enjoying the journey and staying engaged instead of feeling burned out or overwhelmed. Hopefully, it will be a long and glorious road, take one step at a time. And hey … no shin splints!


Hybrid Author Game 


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