I have written and/or co-written and/or translated and/or edited, and published 100 titles. My experience is not limited to Amazon; the co-op publishes on all major ebook platforms. And there is a conflict in my mind between saying that I am indie and being exclusive to one retail platform - for that reason, my work is available from all major on-line retails outlets, and that will always be the case.
Everything I do up to the point of pushing the 'publish' button is directly under my control - and I would not want it any other way. My stories span romance, crime, thriller, mystery, paranormal and sci-fi - all are LGBT themed - these tend not to be of interest to traditional publishing houses, which is the first advantage of being indie - I can write and publish exactly what I want without restrictions, prompts, or deadlines. That is just about as free as it gets, I would say. I have control over my cover, my pricing [within certain parameters], where my book is published, and if and when it is offered for free. I can take it off the shelf/shelves, re-edit it, re-cover it, re-price it and basically please myself = INDIE!
That freedom comes at a price, but I don't think, in the main, that the price is necessarily a very high one compared to the rewards [which are all mine at the end of the day].
I am in control but I have all the risk and all the work - no one else is paying for my adverts, tweeting for me, doing my admin or maintaining my website/blog [or numerous other social media channels]. I do find it hard to divide my time between writing and the rest - I am an author, first and foremost, and that is what I love to do - I have grown to like [and in the case of Twitter, love] the rest. Notwithstanding the fact that the rest is a choice - I could write and publish and forget the title while I pen the next [much like I did when I started out].
Writing makes me exceedingly happy; marketing will hopefully [but clearly without any guarantee] increase the chances of success - by which, I mean monetary success. However, when I push that 'publish' button, I have already succeeded - sales and royalties are, to one degree, just vanity. But in having a company, even a co-op like the one I am part of, has expenses which have to be met, so I cannot ignore the reality of having to make some money - but I never want the need to make enough money to have any detrimental effect on my craft - perhaps I am being too idealistic because a boy has to eat, buy his cigarettes and fund his addiction to buying books - which is why I work part time in a spiritual retreat, taking care of the housekeeping.
Indie is all about choice and energy. How successful I am - by any measure - is more closely aligned with how I work and how hard I work than was ever true before.
Being indie gives me lots of freedom but it also means that I have to do everything - but I can do it my way. When I feel that I am going against the [popular] grain, I am probably being truer to my indie roots than at any other time.
Being an indie author [in fact, any indie artist] can feel incredibly lonely at times - that's where social media plays a big part in helping to forge connections that fill that void. I met many of my colleagues throughout the writing and publishing world through social media.
Indie means independent but it doesn't have to mean insulated or isolated.
I do not make a living from writing - that's a statement of fact [and I work 12+ hours a day doing it]. That could all change one day if a title breaks through - or I could still be plodding along in the same way when I'm 90, still wondering if the next title will provide that break through. I write with no expectations of any reward other than my own satisfaction that the book is finished and in a fit state to be published - I say to my colleagues that I would be just as happy if no one ever downloaded even one of my free books - which sounds weird - maybe even crass - but it's true. I'm lucky enough that people do download my free books and they do buy my other titles, but being indie is all about creativity and choice rather than commercialism. I correspond - mainly through Twitter - with a lot of indie artists, and they all say the same - I want control over what I do, and how I do it and I am prepared to sacrifice some of my potential rewards to keep it that way.
It also has distinct advantages when it comes to how I promote myself and my work, and the types of projects I become involved in. The co-op has invested in and collaborated on three indie short films; we are also working on another project to combine some of my poetry with some music and a montage of abstract images - would I be doing those things if I was not an indie artist?
Maybe I would, but it feels like to be indie brings you into contact with a whole creative world that doesn't feel as accessible in other way or with any other mindset. It also makes you more aware of things like crowdfunding [which I may use myself to get illustrations/animations done] and the indie support networks like supportindieauthors.com.
Use the resources available - join networks and engage. I am totally amazed at how much support people are willing to give for free. A lot of what makes an artist an indie artist is collaboration and reciprocation - I do both and get so much out of the joint projects, and so much energy is created through sharing.
I gain the advantages of control and flexibility. I can get involved in projects and activities that have very little to do with writing but everything to do with the indie mindset - and I love the fact that I never really know where any of those things are going to take me [and every situation, every person I meet, and every outcome is perfect fodder for another story!]
I could write more mainstream fiction in the hopes that I sold more and made a decent living - just can't write those types of stories; in that respect, I am a slave to the muse [a very pretty and sometimes vicious cat-like creature who drives me relentlessly to produce the best work I am capable of ... and then ignores me when I do or says 'what? I'm meant to be impressed? Try again - try harder!]
Indie means independent. I quite like this definition which comes from
the Urban Dictionary
Its not about how you look; its about how you think
its not about what you listen to or what you wear
its about why you do [what you do]
I walk my own path and I don't ever see it changing.