Indie Publishing July 10, 2020

Any self-published authors in the IH community?

Channing Allen @channingallen

A couple IH authors I'm aware of:

Anyone I'm missing?

  1. 6

    @arvidkahl has been doing wonders lately on this!

    1. 3

      True! Shame on me for forgetting.

    2. 2

      yes, @arvidkahl's looks amazing. Also a shout-out to @swyx who recently published his

  2. 5

    Yup—you're missing me! I self-published The Developer's Guide to Content Creation in January and The Developer's Guide to Book Publishing in May. I've sold over 1,100 copies of both books. :)

    1. 2


      1. 1

        Thank you!

    2. 2

      Lovin' it! :)

      1. 1

        Thank you! :D

  3. 4

    Missing @swyx who just published

    I hope to self-publish this year or next!

  4. 4

    I'm working together with self-published authors to create interactive novels like This One.

    In 3 weeks time have around 40k downloads and a 4.9 average rating.

    1. 1

      Very cool! I had a similar idea when I was younger (~2002) glad to see someone working on this!

  5. 3

    I am. But I write fiction!

    1. 2

      I write fiction too :) I have a 1st draft I may work on -> book 1 day. Would love to see what you've written.

      1. 3

        This is so cool!

  6. 3

    I've self-published a book that made about $100k in sales in the first year with no ads or paid marketing

    I've shared some insights about publishing here:

    My second book for indie hackers is coming out later this month:

    1. 3

      nice, congrats man. have saved those links.

  7. 3

    I've self-published two books on Amazon:

  8. 3

    I published a novel a few years ago on Amazon. I didn't do any SEO and I need to rewrite it. 🤣

    1. 1

      I'd love to see it :) I've written fiction, too.

  9. 3

    Hi! I self-published Writing for Software Developers ( which features an interview with Courtland. It came out 2 months ago and just hit $25K in sales.

  10. 3

    I've published 10 books the traditional way, with a publisher and written three under contract for online distribution. All non-fiction, technical books.

    Looking forward to trying my hand out at writing fiction and in that case I will definitely go self-published.

    1. 1

      Do you have a link to your books? :)

      I'm currently putting together a book about Indie Authors, and have written fiction, too.

      1. 2

        No. It is all ancient history. Last book I Published in the traditional way was back in 2002.
        The digital ones were for free distribution and done under contract, back in 2007 and 2008. They are no longer distributed as they were about a product that has changed a lot.

        I have just started trying my hand at fiction and I am really enjoying the experience.

        1. 1

          no worries at all. & cool. I'm looking forward to getting back to my fiction/art too, I find it really nourishing.

  11. 3

    And before Just Fucking Ship, I wrote a JavaScript ebook that did probably $80k in sales (it's been a long time, I'd have to look it up). You've got a recency bias going on there with just 2 guys ;)

    1. 1

      You've got a recency bias going on there with just 2 guys ;)

      Trick of the trade: short OP = long comments section ;)

      1. 1

        why you sneaky little minx!!

  12. 3

    @amyhoy wrote Just Fucking Ship and we've sold several thousand copies on our own!

    And my first is coming out in the next 30 days or so :)

  13. 3

    Went through a publisher for my first book. It's been good, but strongly leaning towards self-publishing in the future.

    1. 1

      Congrats on the 1st book. Can I ask why you're thinking about self-publishing for your next one(s)?

      1. 2

        I'm interested in having more flexibility in how the book is sold and marketed -- for instance, making the book just part of a larger package (e.g. including a course and training, or a toolkit, etc etc). And potentially being able to more rapidly update and iterate the book on my own, even after publication.

        It was really great for my career and reputation to have a book in the technology space published by a reputable publisher, and since it was an ebook and print-on-demand, the royalty checks have been decent compared to what I hear from folks who worked with larger publishers and print-first runs. But I think there's a lot more "indie hacker" potential with self-publishing.

        1. 1

          cool, thx for sharing. sounds like you know exactly what you want - there's such huge potential in indie publishing... being in control / iterating / linking to me + my other stuff also appeals to me. I'm sure it'll work out well for you - I hope it does :)

  14. 3

    wrote this a while back

    i learnt no one gives a s*** abut your book (unless you've got an audience) so i put it online

    1. 2

      I know this feeling. Being a writer is tough.

    2. 1

      Or as Steven Pressfield would put it:

      Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit

  15. 2

    @tracymakes has self-published three books and I believe you had her on the podcast.

    1. 1

      Thanks Jeff! Yup — while Hello Web Design is moving to a full-publisher, Hello Web App is remaining self-published.

  16. 2

    Following this thread! I'm new to the IH community, first time engaging. I'm working on writing a memoir at the moment. I'm Indian/Australian and was surprised to find that in the history of all time only 4 women in our community have published a memoir/autobiographical text!

    1. 1

      I'm new to the IH community, first time engaging.

      Welcome, Daizy!

      I'm Indian/Australian and was surprised to find that in the history of all time only 4 women in our community have published a memoir/autobiographical text!

      Interesting! Hopefully you'll be number five.

  17. 2

    not as yet, but I'm intending to self-publish my first, The Indie Author, this year. I also have a fiction 1st draft written (finally completely Nano in 2018), and a bunch of other fiction/non-fiction ideas.

  18. 2

    Hi Channing,
    I am a medical doctor and author of the book Africanism that's just out on Amazon.
    A critical view of African history and the current predicament of black people around the world. Extremely relevant to the racial crisis in the US today.

  19. 2

    I just published my first book about Imposter Syndrome.

    It's up there as a kindle, but I'm taking the content and putting it into leanpub. I think a lot of tech people suffer from Imposter Syndrome, and I've suffered from it over the years. That's why I wrote a book about it. It's really, really, good, and I had it professionally edited. I haven't seen a ton of sales (I think in the first month I got $20 on Amazon, and about $100 from leanpub, but I haven't marketed it either.). But my time will come!

  20. 2

    I wrote Production Ready GraphQL this year, and talked about the process of writing / audience building at the Entrepreneurial Coder Podcast!

    1. 1

      congrats man! I'm hoping this'll be me come the end of the year. How was your 1st experience?

  21. 2

    I have written a book on email marketing - The Art of Email List Growth

  22. 2

    I self published the Jest Handbook (https://jest which has made about 100 sales (~1k revenue) & am now working on the Alpine.js Handbook (

  23. 2

    Not sure if this counts. Selling single reports feels like selling books.

    And we have @gill_works with Maker Minions

  24. 2

    Yeah, @nscode 🙌

    1. 2

      Thanks for the mention Nikola! 😊
      Hey @channingallen I'm writing Start With A Side-Project where I share my experiences of building, marketing and selling a side-project in 3 months.

  25. 2

    Wrote 3 tech books about Spring Boot (+ several updates), 1 about minimalism, about finding your why, and recently started with a short read series about overcoming self-sabotage and developing your full potential.

  26. 2

    I have also published a Guide on Quora Marketing named Quorific

  27. 2

    I wrote my first ebook called Think Outside The Box:

    It is a guided and educational book (yet quick and small) book that will inspire creators of all kinds: musicians, artists, designers, photographers, videographers, writers, etc, to start making money from their passion. This isn't a get rich quick book, this is a book that challenges you to believe and invest into yourself without going broke, or in debt.

  28. 2

    I am writing my first book now. A book about the Postgres database.

  29. 2

    I've done self publishing through LeanPub, published through a publisher, and also combined both approaches: start with self-publishing and then go to a publisher.

    I quite like the combined approach as you can start w/o commitment on a platform such as LeanPub (which is a publishing platform and also a marketplace) and once the idea (content) is validated and there is an interest you can go to a publisher for professional book

  30. 2

    I've published a 2 hr read on Amazon about getting your first software engineering job as a self taught developer. Still experimenting a lot with different price points, fb vs amazon ads, etc. I don't have a huge social media following so I gotta say, it's been a very very uphill battle.

  31. 2

    I have not, yet. But, If anyone needs publishing insights, my partner works on the books team at a large ebook vendor and knows all the ins and outs of self-pub. PM me for a connect.

  32. 2

    I wrote and published a kid's book called Norman's Architecture Adventure two years ago.

    1. 1

      How did that go, working on one myself

      1. 1

        I thought it was a lot of fun. Since I also did the illustrations it was a chance to shift my mind over to a more relaxed creativity. I didn't have to be so technical.

  33. 2

    Depending on your definition of self-published, I put out a novel released under a Creative Commons license with the Markdown files on GitHub.

    1. 4

      That definitely fits my definition. My trajectory pre-IH was fiction writing, and I'm planning on getting back into the trenches soon!

      1. 2

        love this. my best pal writes fiction. unfortunately awful at marketing himself.

        thinks a publisher will sweep up his novel ...

        not sure if you're doing it for the fun or want to make it big, but if the latter how would you go about promoting it?

        1. 1

          not sure if you're doing it for the fun or want to make it big, but if the latter […]

          Wouldn't quite say I'm doing it to make it big, but I am seeking meaningful distribution and impact.

          […] how would you go about promoting it?

          This is a work in progress! I actually have a literary agent here in NYC (via cold email) and we began shopping my novel to publishers shortly before I teamed up with Courtland on IH. Not long after, I told my agent I'd rather go it alone (traditional publishers give authors almost zero control of their books), and he gave me his blessing while offering to continue to represent me for things like film and international rights.

          Anyway, I'll soon start building an audience around some of the themes of my fiction, which mainly fall under the cognitive sciences and self-help. Novels are a content business, and you have to be prolific and solve people's problems just as you would with any other such business. Sadly I won't have time to really work on this again for a little while.

          1. 2

            @channingallen – What you say rings true to me as well. Open invite to you to talk publishing and writing whenever you want.

            One of my projects I’m researching offline for now ( allowed me to talk to a few agents that dealt with publishers at all the tiers from big 5 to small presses that publish 10 books a year. Everyone wants the cachet of having that traditional publisher label but that isn’t always the solution. If you’re a debut author and they have a limited or no promotional budget for you, you may want to save yourself years in the slush piles. On top of that, fiction is increasingly hard to publish than nonfiction in the traditional space. What I’ve learned from agents thus far is that if you are a new fiction writer, do 3 things:

            • Build your author platform aka your social media followers and blog with traffic. It’s becoming algorithmic it seems if they will read your manuscript based on this.
            • Go indie until the big companies are interested.
            • Keep writing great book after great book until you can’t be ignored anymore (easier said than done of course.)

            To anyone else on here with a passion for books and publishing and wants a meaningful impact of my literary and publishing projects I’m open to talking with you anytime. I have a project larger than literary agent that I definitely would love some creative energy and feedback for.

          2. 2

            Oh cool, well I wish you the best.

          3. 2

            hey @channingallen, cool to see you've written fiction too, is any of this online?

            also, great to hear you've taken control & are going the indie way 🙌

            it really feels like any benefits of traditional publishing are being diminished (low advances - if any, big onus on you to promote, and - crucially as has always been the case - losing control), and the barrier to entry for indies is low.

            handy that you have an agent to help you navigate the tricky world of rights... heard that place can be a minefield. (ps. I take it you've across The Creative Penn? Joanna has some awesome content for indie-publishers).

  34. 2

    I have as well, a few short books.

    1. 2

      What have you written about?

  35. 1

    Haven't published a book, but I've been publishing blog posts each day since January 1 of this year. I've learned so much just by sticking to this routine. Been slowly building an audience by converting my blog posts to Instagram slides.

  36. 1

    Hi Channing, I'm a lapsed author of science fiction — now, if I could either clone myself, or travel backwards in time a decade I'd stand a chance of finishing those other novels!

  37. 1

    I am a traditionally and self-published author.