Happy Fifth Birthday, Indies Unlimited

happy-birthday-iu-cake-25388_1280Five years ago, I was knocking around in a Facebook group that no longer exists, talking about self-publishing with some authors who wrote for this new website called Indies Unlimited. I really didn’t know what to think about it all then. My first novel had just been published, and I was considering putting out the next one myself, but the whole process sounded terrifying.

My impressions of self-publishing came from the old vanity press days. You’d fork out hundreds of dollars and have an actual printer print your actual book on an actual big giant machine with plates and ink and dudes in coveralls, and you’d learn fun new terms like “negative registration” and “work-and-turn” and “bluelines.” You’d haul up to their loading dock, accept your order, and hundreds of books would then sit in your garage while you hoped they wouldn’t get ruined by a flood or a family of nesting raccoons.

Meanwhile, you’d throw a few books in the trunk of your car and drive around town hoping some kind store owner would take pity on you and display a copy in the window.

That just covered the mechanics. The stigma was an even greater hurdle to my fledgling dreams. Back then, “vanity press” was said in a whisper at writing conferences like the older folks used to mumble “the big c.” Everyone knew what it meant. It meant that New York didn’t want your book and you were too deluded to accept reality.

But I didn’t realize that the times, they were a-changing. I didn’t realize that self-publishing, for many authors, was becoming a first choice, not a last resort, and that the bar of quality was rising higher. And, more importantly, I learned that wouldn’t have to go it alone. Even before I signed on as an IU minion and got my official gruel bowl and my seat around the coal stove, K.S. Brooks and those very helpful people in that now-defunct Facebook group were sharing information with me. They gave me links to articles about how to get started. Kat had written great tutorials like how to use Google Alerts and why-didn’t-I think-of-that articles on how to make my book descriptions shine. I learned how to format my manuscript, how to set up my social media empire, how to wrangle Amazon’s tools to make my books more visible, how to put those not-so-awesome reviews into perspective. It was basically an entire education on how to do everything self-publishing related on the cheap and easy and still look like a pro. Every time I read a new article, some new synapses in my brain fired up, and I was getting more and more excited about my impending independence.

I’d finally found a light in that very dark tunnel. Not only did I feel empowered to self-publish my own work, and keep doing it, I met a ton of smart, talented, funny people, all pursuing their independent publishing dreams. I’ve formed some great friendships and professional partnerships here, and I still keep in touch. I love that not only do we get to help other authors start their own journeys, or learn how to do things better, but we also help each other. And for all of that, I’m grateful.

Thank you, Indies Unlimited, for five amazing years. Here’s to many, many more.

Author: Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of four novels. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley. Learn more about Laurie at her website and her Amazon author page.

25 thoughts on “Happy Fifth Birthday, Indies Unlimited”

  1. It’s amazing what you can learn from reading Indies Unlimited, but has it really only been five years?/ I thought you wonderful people had been doing this forever. Now I realise I must have discovered you not long after you got going. I’m so very glad I did as i have learned so much from all of you and discovered some great friends as well. Happy Fifth Birthday IU. 🙂

  2. Happy Birthday Indies Unlimited! Thanks for everything! You’ve given me a great birthday gift today knowing you’ll stick around for many years to come!

  3. I truly shudder to think where I’d be without my erstwhile minions and all of the incredibly selfless support that’s been handed out on this website. All of us bookwrights here know that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and thank goodness Kat and all of the contributors are here to spread the wisdom and keep us all heading in the right direction. Happy birthday!

  4. Congratulations, 5 years of your hard work has not gone to waste. May the next 5 years be a joy for you and all those who help out at Indies Unlimited and your readers.

    I,myself, find your site the most inspirational for indie authors. Without it I would not have my first bok of short stories selfpublished and over a year and a half of writing short story experience and absorbed as much as I can from your site articles. Keep up the Good Work and thank you.

  5. Happy Birthday to the greatest writer’s resource on the planet! Although I was already self-published before I came to IU, being here, sharing this community with some great folks, has made me a better writer. You can learn as much or as little as you want here, and be entertained in the process! Thanks for being here, thanks for taking me into the fold, thanks for helping so many pursue their dreams. IU is the best!

    1. I don’t think we should call them Minions now. They’ve more than proved their worth. Perhaps now we ought to recognise that and give them the credit they so richly deserve. They are Leaders, Guides, Exemplars, Inspirers and Uplifters.

  6. Ditto to all of the above!❤️ Can’t add any more except to express my gratitude for all your hard work. Like Ian, I must have found you not long after you started and thought you’d been around forever. You’re my first go-to site and pass on the good word to all my indie author friends. Thanks for 5 and wishing you all success for many more!

  7. Five years! I’ve only known you for two but the information and help has been invaluable. I love the archives and send all my students who are wondering about being Indies to read and learn. I hope most of the them sign up for the newsletter. You have certainly helped me market my work and (which I find so hard) myself in the best possible ways.

    Thank you.

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