4 Ways Indie Authors Leave Money on the Table

1. No digital version of your book.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, ebook subscriptions rose, with ebook usage up 26% in 2021. If you don’t have a digital version of your book available in this digital world, you are leaving money on the table. If you publish through a small press or an Indie or Vanity Press and they can’t make sure your book will have a Kindle or ebook companion, they are doing you a disservice.

2. You don’t have a physical copy of your book.

According to the Alliance of Independent Authors, physical books still outsell ebooks. US print book sales rose 18.5% in the first half of 2021 and outsell ebooks 4 to 1. This means that if you don’t have a physical copy of your book to sell through your own website and at events, you are leaving money on the table. Many financially successful authors are not Amazon Best Sellers, but they still make bank selling through their websites. “Though ebooks and audiobooks are increasingly popular, print books continue to trump in the researched book market, with 66% of readers across the globe saying print offers ‘a more fulfilling and unique reading experience.'”

Physical copies also make it possible to sell your books wherever you are. If you like speaking at events and talking with people face to face, you can (should) always have copies of your books on hand. Sell them to libraries, schools, bookstores, or wherever. Heck, sell those bad boys in bulk if you want.

3. Not doing events and speaking engagements.

Speaking engagements and events can generate significant income through paid meetings and on-site book sales. Live events can also help you connect with readers directly, create word-of-mouth from the people who will tell their friends they met you, and don’t cost anything.* If you are not looking into doing events and speaking, you leave money on the table. Again, this is why having physical books is a good thing. See number two.

*Note: I have heard of people paying to do book signings. I never pay to do a book signing unless I pay for a space for vending at a larger event. If you ask to do a signing and the facility says you have to pay, see why and what’s included or look into hosting the signing somewhere else.

4. You are not turning your books into audiobooks.

Speaking of paid speaking engagements, audiobooks can be a way for authors to attract speaking gigs. According to Audio Publishers Association’s annual survey, a six-year trend of double-digit growth in sales continues in the audiobook space. Add to this the increase of smartphone usage (especially with the pandemic), and people who listen to their books at home or in the car on the way to work. This means that if you are not looking at ways to turn your books into audiobooks, you are leaving money on the table. Audiobooks have the potential to reach a wide range of people, from those busybodies who struggle with time to read to people experiencing visual challenges.


We must think outside the realm of just uploading books to Amazon and letting them rot. You worked hard on your book baby. Discover other ways of getting it out there.

Like I always say, it doesn’t matter how long ago it has been since you’ve published; your book will always be new to the people who have never read it. Our books only die if we let them.

Need more Indie Author Tips? Check out the archive of posts here.

Don’t Forget to Write

Even though I didn’t know much when I published my first book, I am glad I took the leap. Without that first, there would not be a fourteenth. My first book was:

  • Self-Published through Lulu
  • Had a generic cover
  • Was not professionally edited
  • Was not professionally formatted

From the Depths of a Woman’s Heart was a poetry book I published in 2010. It was the first book I ever sold, a collection of poems I had written going back to High School and coming up to the present. Although I had missed the mark in many areas, people still bought it. 

I am not saying to publish an unedited book and slap on a generic cover. That would go against everything I’ve ever written in this series. Ya’ll know I don’t play that. I have since retired that book and a few other books and even republished some books because when you know better, you do better.

I am saying that you just have to write the book at some point, even if you don’t know all the answers. From the Depths laid the foundation for me to get used to the Self-Publishing process, analyze what I did wrong, and improve the next time. My first several books were kind of like a practice run for me to learn and grow.

Nine times out of ten, aspiring authors who express interest in Self-Publishing have not written a book yet. And sadly, many of them spend a lot of time figuring out if Self-Publishing is for them. While there is nothing wrong with this, it can get in the way of writing a book to publish.  

After having written the book, you might even decide that Self-Publishing is not for you, and that’s okay. 


It’s easy to get sucked up in the never-ending sinkhole that is Self-Publishing advice. Everyone has an opinion about how it should be done, and everybody and they mama is an expert.

No wonder writers are confused and overwhelmed with the process.

Let me simplify it for you: 

Start by writing the book.

Before you pull your hair out over how to get your story into the hands of readers, make sure you actually have a story for them to read.

Once you have a completed manuscript, you will better understand the information you need. You can ignore what does not apply and focus on what does. 

Having something written helps you be selective in who you listen to and intentional about the direction you want to go. 

Don’t be so busy researching how to start that you forget that the biggest lessons come from action.

How do you get started with Self-Publishing?

First, write the book.


Need more Indie Author Tips? Check out the archive of posts here.

Writing Self-Care for Indie Authors Part I

As an Indie Author, I understand the pressure of writing and publishing books. Here are some tips to help you stay calm during the storm. I planned on giving several tips at a time. However, our first took up most of the space, so I have to break this down into two parts.

Get Out of Your Immediate Environment

This past weekend was my first time out of the house in a long time. Part of this cabin fever was that I could not go out due to doctor’s orders. I have not publicly spoken about the details yet, but I had an emergency surgery to treat an ectopic pregnancy in February. I won’t go into detail because I have an entire blog series coming about it. I will say that the physical recovery was long, and I found myself getting depressed.

Even after my stitches healed, I knew I was still a mess emotionally. I told my husband I needed to get out of the house. I didn’t care where we went, and it didn’t have to be anywhere far, but I needed to go. And if he didn’t want to go, I was going by myself.

I was being dramatic, but I was also serious.

This was totally my idea. I saw some kids doing it and thought, why not? Lol

We decided to visit Florida (the parts that aren’t too far away from us, like Jackson and St. Augustine). We just packed up and left, and I feel highly refreshed having taken that trip. We took a boat cruise, inhaled the fresh air, walked up 219 stairs of the Lighthouse, went out to dinner, drank wine, and acted like two High School kids with no curfew. This unplanned trip turned into one of our best romantic getaways.

But you do not have to visit another city.

Getting out of your environment can also mean changing where you write. I am notorious for going to the library and Barnes and Noble on a whim. When I get tired of my home office, I go somewhere else to work. I will even go sit at the kitchen table. Even something as simple as that can spark creativity.

Changing where you write is a healthy way of boosting your creative morale when you feel low, and this is not just my opinion.

“A walk in the fresh air and sunshine will release those beautiful endorphins, which boost happiness, and studies have shown that moving your body can even alleviate symptoms of depression. What’s more, physical activity outdoors and “exposure to nature” are known to have positive effects on your mental health.” 

– Katy Cowan

Ernest Hemingway drew inspiration for much of his work from his time in Spain and France. 

Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, moved from the U.K. to the U.S. in his 40s to branch out into screenwriting. 

Mark Twain, who sailed around the coast of the Mediterranean in 1869, wrote in his travelogue Innocents Abroad that travel is “fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

And Alex Haley’s research for Roots took him across the Atlantic. (The book took twelve years to write, but that’s part of tip #2. We’ll dive into not stressing out about the time it’s taking you to finish your book.) 

If you are in a creative funk, consider changing your environment. Traveling is an excellent way to do that. Although I didn’t bring my laptop (or a pen and pad), I still wrote on my phone’s notepad. I now have two new poems and a funny short about a conversation between my stomach, brain, and heart I wrote in my hotel room. It starts with my stomach asking why I ate cold pizza and my brain and heart arguing over whether I was drunk or not.

It is as hilarious as it sounds.

I am already planning my next trip out of the country this time. I am excited at all the creative revelations I’ll gain from it.


Need more Indie Author Tips? Check out the archive of posts here.

What is Self-Publishing?

I did not plan on doing an IAB today, but a question on Twitter sparked a thought.

We talk about Self-Publishing, but what is it?

That sounds like a simple question, but you’d be surprised how many writers with questions about Self-Publishing don’t really know what it is.

Let’s start with what Self-Publishing is not:

Vanity Publishing

Vanity Publishing is not the same as Self-Publishing, and it is not the same as Traditional Publishing. When you pay a publishing company to publish your books, this is Vanity Publishing. Although not popular, I will not speak badly about VPs as this is an option for some authors. To each his own.

My only job is to help you understand what Self-Publishing is and what it is not. And at any time you pay a fee to a company to get your book published, this is not Self-Publishing

Also, if you are signed with a publishing company, this is not Self-Publishing.

Read your contracts thoroughly.

Self-Publishing is also not a “backup plan.” It is not something you do because you think it’s easier or faster. While an author can get their book published faster with Self-Publishing, this does not mean the author should aim to do so. If you rush your book, it will look like it.

Self-Publishing is when you are your own publisher—the end.

Now, what does that mean exactly?

Traditionally, a team of people works to get the manuscript ready for publishing, whether with a major publisher, small press, or vanity. They cover everything from editing to cover art and get paid in royalties.

This is what separates Trad from Vanity. Traditionally, publishers do not charge fees to publish. They get paid from the royalties of the book. However, there has been a lot of controversy about that, but we do not have time to discuss it. Let’s just say it is why many choose to go the Independent route.

Moving on…

Just like it’s the traditional publisher’s job to get the manuscript of their authors ready for publishing, it is your job as your own publisher to get your manuscript ready for publishing. 

This might mean hiring someone to assist you with the process, such as a self-pub assistant or coach, outsourcing for editing, cover art, and formatting.

With Self-Publishing comes total creative control. This can be both liberating and daunting. Essentially, Indie Publishing is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, you are in control of the look and feel of everything about your book. This can be a lot of fun.

But creative control does not mean doing everything yourself. You still need help. And because you are the publisher, you are responsible for hiring this help.

At the risk of sounding redundant, I will leave it here.

Self-Publishing in its most basic form is that you are your own publisher. You are not signed onto a publishing company or paying a publishing company to publish you. You hire your own people, outsource for what you need, and publish in your own name.


Need more Indie Author Tips? Check out the archive of posts here.

Things You Don’t Need to Self-Publish a Book

A Massive Social Media Following

You do not need to have a million social media followers to publish a book. Your community will grow as you do. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

A Fat Bank Account

You do not need to spend your rent/mortgage money to publish a book. This is not to say you won’t have to spend any money to publish your book. But, there are ways of investing in your book projects without going broke. I remember setting up a GoFundMe to pay for a book cover years ago.

To Be an English Scholar

You do not need to be an English Scholar to publish a book. This is not to say you should not care about English. It is to say that you don’t have to be an expert at it to begin. That’s what editors and proofreaders are for. This is also not to say that there aren’t experts and scholars who became such before writing a book. This is to say that if everyone waited until they knew everything before publishing a book, there would be very few books to read.

An LLC

We talked about this already in another post. However, I include it here because everybody on the internet says you need an LLC. You don’t. Whether your business structure should be a Limited Liability Company depends on the kind of business you have, and self-publishing doesn’t require one to get started. (And this is not to say you won’t want to create a business structure around your writing later on. Click here to read up on that in a previous post.)

24 Hours a Day

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to write all day to finish your book. You do not need to sacrifice time with your family or take days off work to write a book. You only need to manage your time wisely. A good 15-20mins a day dedicated to writing is enough to write a first draft manuscript. (Remember that your draft does not have to be 400 pages long).

You do not need more time. You need more discipline and consistency.

Remember…

Publishing the book is the easy part; the first step in a long process that gets better as you learn and grow.

Everyone’s journey is different, and the truth is the real work happens after the book is in print. Becoming an expert happens AFTER you have taken the first step, not before.


Need more Indie Author Tips? Check out the archive of posts here.

Signs You Are Not Ready to Self-Publish Part 3: You Don’t Read.

I don’t know which new Indie Author needs to hear this, but it shows in your writing if you don’t read.

It is said that writers write, which is true, but writers also read. It is through reading that we learn the basics of how to write. This means that reading and writing are a partnership, and one cannot exist without the other.

This is not to say that someone who was never into reading can’t write a book. They absolutely can, but only if they are willing to start reading. There is no way around this. Aspiring writers need to consume books like aspiring doctors need to go to medical school.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

Stephen King

There is no such thing as loving to write but hating to read.

This is one of the biggest issues I see in the Self-Publishing community. It is not the act of Self-Publishing that gives it a bad reputation. It is the audacity of people who never enjoyed reading and writing in the first place who suddenly want to write a book.

“It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but didn’t have time to read, I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Stephen King

The first red flag that someone doesn’t read is when I am sent a manuscript so badly formatted that it does not resemble a novel or book or anything. It is just letters on a page with weird spacing and no chapter headings.

This is because the writer isn’t familiar with the story structure, which comes from reading books. They are hoping I can take their scrambled notes and turn them into something legible. They want me to write the book for them. (If you want someone to write the book for you, you’ll have to hire a ghostwriter.) The same issue arises when new authors are choosing genres. I can’t tell if this is supposed to be a cookbook or a romance novel.

How the book is published is not the problem, weak writing is.

If you want to publish a book but you’ve never been into reading, that’s an easy fix: Just start reading. The more you read, the more you will write, and the better you will be at it. 

Reading books in the genres you want to write in to familiarize yourself with them is also a good idea. Want to write a poetry book? Read poetry. Memoir? Read memoirs, and understand they are not the same as autobiography. Wanna write historical fiction? Read historical fiction, and so on.

Ready to publish your book but not sure where to start? Click Here.

Check out more Indie Author Basics Here.

Yecheilyah’s Book Review Registry: Early Registration for 2022

My review registry is closed for 2021. I am only reviewing books left in the queue. However, please do consider registering early for 2022 as spots fill up fast, and there’s only one me.

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review may be a primary source, opinion piece, summary review, or scholarly review. A book review’s length may vary from a single paragraph to a substantial essay but can also be as short as a single sentence. Book reviews help encourage readers to purchase a book, act as social proof, helps with an author’s Amazon ranking, and increase the book’s visibility.

About Yecheilyah’s Reviews

I have been a professional book reviewer for five years now. Authors who have trusted me with their book babies vary from newly, first-time Self-Publishers to experienced Best Sellers. From Indie Authors to Traditionally Published, I’ve worked with them all. The PBS Blog has been on Reedsy’s list of Best Book Review Blogs since 2017 as one of its vetted catalog of active book blogs and thoughtful, quality book reviews. My reviews are honest and thorough without giving away spoilers.

“It’s not just because she reviewed my novelette, All Good Stories, and gave it 5 stars, I’m writing about her because she gives great (and helpful) reviews. In a market so full, it’s hard to choose what to read, isn’t it? We really need reviews these days that go beyond the minimalistic “I liked it” to know what we’re investing our money in. Because money doesn’t grow on trees. Neither do books anymore, for that matter.”

– Linda G. Hill, author, All Good Stories.

How to Apply for Review

1). Email the First 3 Chapters of Your Book. 

Starting January 2022, I will now require authors to submit the first three chapters of their manuscripts for review. Whether your book is chosen depends on how well you can hook me with your first few chapters. Be sure to send the link to your book on Amazon along with your chapters to yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com.

2). Approval

I will email you back and let you know if I would like to move forward and review your book. Please allow at least 2-3 business days before you hear back from me for your approval status.

3). Pay the Readers Fee 

If I choose to review the book, there is a reader’s fee. Pay the fee through my site. The reader’s fee does not guarantee a positive review, nor is it payment for an Amazon review, which is against Amazon’s terms of service.

4). Gift Me a Copy of Your book.

If your book is published gift it to me through amazon or the platform of your choice. Do not attach a PDF or Word Document via email.

  • PDF documents are only acceptable if the book is not yet published and you are looking for an early review.

You may ship me a paperback / hard copy but let me know this in our email correspondence. 

Pro. This option will allow me to post a picture of the book on the gram! 

Con. This option is a longer turnaround time on the review since I have to wait for the book in the mail, read it, and then review it. This is a great option for more exposure on social media, but I do not recommend it if you are in a hurry for feedback.

I rate on the scale of 3-5 only on this blog. If your review falls below a 3-star rating, I will privately email you the report and my thoughts.

Please Click Here to Read My Review Policy in Full.

Ready to move forward? Email me and let’s get to it.