Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Adventures in Indie Writing by Patty Smith Hall

Patty here, and as I shared with you in an earlier blog post, the closure of Lifeway’s brick and mortars was a wake-up call for me last year. Add that with the shrinking book space at Barnes and Noble, and I began to wonder where I, a mid-list writer, would fall in this ever-changing publishing scene. With the hundreds of books that are published each year, how could I compete for a cherished spot on the shelf? I have a healthy backlist of novels and novellas, but they’re getting very little traction in the market.

In other words, for all the time and effort I’ve put into my writing, I’m seeing very little fruit for my labors, and isn’t that why we write? So that readers can see Christ in the pages of our books? To show our characters living out their faith despite their problems? If my ministry is to put out books that point toward Jesus, what do I do if there’s no room on the bookshelf for me?

That’s when I thought about going indie. Indie publishing has lost the stigma it’s held in the past. For the most part, indie writers have learned from past mistakes. They’re hiring editors and professional cover designers to work with them. They’re advertising alongside traditional publishers and pulling in devoted readers, in some cases, making more money than traditional houses.

But indie publishing isn’t for everyone. I took a long hard look at myself to see if this could work for me. I’m a very independent person who doesn’t need a deadline hanging over me to get my work done. I work better alone. I have the financial means to hire editors/cover designers to make my books stand-out and to advertise. I have a good start on a backlist of books and novellas.

The only parts I didn’t have a grasp on was the business and tech side of going indie. Enter my husband and daughter. After years of being in charge of operations for a large international company, Danny is working from home and ready for a new adventure that will use his business skills. He loves the idea of working with me (I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I’ll keep you posted!) And our daughter Carly records and produces her own albums as well as YouTube videos and podcasts.

As all the pieces fell into place, I felt as if the Lord was giving me His okay. I had a peace about it as well as an excitement that I hadn’t felt in a very long time.

But I had a lot to learn. Six months ago, I began my in-depth study of indie publishing. I took classes with Hallee Bridgeman (Hi Hallee!), listened to podcasts on the indie market and read books on the subject. I joined 20Booksto50K, a Facebook group made up of indie authors who share their experiences in the indie publishing world. Most recently, I joined a mastermind group of indie authors.

I’m ready to get started.

For the next year, I’m going to share with you my adventures in indie publishing, the good and the not-so-good. I will be transparent about my wins and misses as I navigate new and uncharted territory for me. I do ask you to do one thing for me—Keep me in your prayers as I embark on the next step in my writing journey.

Have you ever considered indie publishing? What held you back or pushed you forward in your decision?

As all the pieces fell into place, I felt as if the Lord was giving me His okay. I had a peace about it as well as an excitement that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. via @pattywrites #SeriouslyWrite #indiepub


Patty Smith Hall lives in North Georgia with her husband of 36+ years, Danny. Her passion is
to write tender romances based in little-known historical moments. The winner of the 2008 ACFW Genesis award in historical romance, she is published with Love Inspired Historical, Barbour and Winged Publishing, and is a contributor to the Seriously Writing blog as well as Journey magazine. Patty is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 

4 Women Bring Southern Charm to a Cowboy Town 
Crinoline Creek, Texas, 1868
A Cowboy of Her Own by Patty Smith Hall

Bookish southern belle Madalyn Turner knows what she wants—to be a cowboy and own a Texas ranch. But books are far different from real life and soon she realizes she needs help.


  1. I went indie last year. I like the control and being able to see the results of my marketing efforts in real time. The downside is the time it takes away from writing. It's a major decision to make, and it took a lot of prayer.

    Best wishes, Patty! I'm looking forward to following your progress.

  2. Thank you for your insight into indie publishing. There are opinions for indie and traditional. I appreciate your thoughts.

  3. My husband and I decided that it was time for me to go indie after a popular agent dangled a carrot in front of me for several years in terms of possibly signing me, then proceeded to misplace my manuscript THREE times!There was lack of communication between those time of popping up in my e-mail to ask if I had another copy I could send (if I hadn't found a place to publish the story yet). What?

    There was a lot to learn when I decided to go indie (I'm still learning), and sometimes it all felt daunting and stressful, but I'm happy with my decision. I like being independent and being able to make decisions on covers, the story content, etc. I still have deadlines, but they're self-imposed.

    With changes in the industry, indie publishing has become a popular route for many. But quality is a concern. It's important to still have our books edited by professionals. It's still important to have covers designed by people who have some design skills.

    Regardless of being self-published or traditionally published, I think most of us are struggling to get our books noticed. So the challenge is to come up with more or interesting ways to promote them.

    It sounds like you're approaching indie publishing with a lot of good things in place! Congrats!

  4. You've made a courageous decision, Patty. It's not to be entered into lightly. The creative control and potential for financial benefits is certainly appealing. Blessings as you go forth!

  5. Hi Patty! I was pushed into the indie waters by a former publisher who decided to abandon publishing completely. This was in late 2013. I had to scramble to learn the ropes (I had four books with them at the time), but it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me! They would never discount or promote the books, and when I managed to get a BookBub ad with the first book in the series, I was off and running. I still have five books with a small traditional publisher, but I love the control and flexibility offered with an indie publishing career (including having a lot of input with book covers). I'll look forward to hearing all about your continuing adventures. Blessings to you as you move forward!

  6. Thank you so much for the shout-out on indie writing. As an indie writer, I am encouraged and challenged by what you've shared. I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

  7. Patty, this is going to be a wonderful journey -- with your attitude, how could it be anything else? Thanks for sharing the launch, and all the steps to come!


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