A few guidelines:

  1. Don’t check your stats after each new sentence you write.
  2. Don’t read the latest Richard & Judy or Oprah titles and gnash your teeth.
  3. Don’t search every edition of Guardian Books in the hope that an online book, any online book, might just be reviewed.
  4. Don’t get caught up in the popular delusion (& madness etc) of the MySpace/Facebook crowds that social networking will give you a readership.
  5. Don’t dream of a plug on BoingBoing unless you start printing your work on condoms.
  6. Don’t take it personally when a loyal reader suddenly stops leaving comments.
  7. In fact, don’t hang around the internet at all, which is admittedly difficult for an online author.
  8. Do ask your GP for a lifetime’s supply of antidepressants.

But most of all remember why you write:

Task: to be where I am.
Even when I’m in this solemn and absurd
role: I am still the place
where creation works on itself.

(from the poem *Guard Duty* by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly)


7 thoughts on “How to keep from going under as an indie writer

  1. L.M.Noonan 17 years ago

    I feel as if you wrote this with me in mind, surely that is a sign of a damn fine post. as for the R+J list…don’t know who they are. And point #6 was especially close to the mark

  2. Michele 17 years ago

    Don’t dream of a plug on BoingBoing unless you start printing your work on condoms.


    That is SERIOUSLY weird !! I mean seriously, seriously weird !

  3. greg rappleye 17 years ago


    Thank you for this. I need to read it this morning.

  4. Lee 17 years ago

    Hi Jan, welcome back, you’ve been missed all round.

  5. Jan 17 years ago

    HEllo there Lee!
    Im looking forward to returning to Blogland and hope all well with you.

  6. Lee 17 years ago

    Envious? Who, me?

  7. Nick 17 years ago

    I agree with you on that Richard & Judy list. Whatever the merits (or not) of those books, they are all bestsellers already and so hardly need the plug. As a list seems to lack the imagination of the R&J ‘adult reads’ list. Almost as if they just resorted to WHSmith’s bestseller list and took out any Potter references so as not to make it too obvious.

    (Yes, all right, I’m envious, so what.)