Learn from Others: Tips from an Indie Author
Indie author Kirsten Milliken urges self-publishers to do their research, market wisely, and collaborate with industry professionals.Psychologist and life coach Kirsten Milliken has worked with adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder for the past 16 years. During that time, she became fascinated with the connection between play and the ADHD but found that little research or writing had been done connecting the two concepts. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
The result of her efforts—a year of research followed by writing and much revision—was the self-published guide Playdhd: Permission to Play: A Prescription for Adults with ADHD, which received a star from Publishers Weekly, with our reviewer calling the book “a must for those with ADHD and their loved ones.”
When it comes to self-publishing, Milliken stresses the importance of research, beta readers, marketing, and working with professionals. She wanted her book to be fun, engaging, interesting, and “most importantly, ADHD friendly.” To that end, she hired a graphic designer and was able to develop the book's visuals, graphics, and formatting.
“If I didn’t have a great graphics person, who helped with layout, it could have been a lot more difficult,” she says. “This had to be carefully attended to in creating the physical and e-book versions.”
We asked Milliken to give us her tips for aspiring indie authors:
Don’t Jump In
“Take time to do your research about the world of self-publishing. I did a lot of googling…to learn about the options, costs, nuances, and strategies for self-publishing. I listened to podcasts and subscribed to several newsletters. I also looked to see who my favorite authors had published with.”
Don’t Stick to One Thing
“Make sure you use multiple marketing streams…I talk about the book at conferences I attend and speak at, and in day-to-day life. I carry copies of my book in my car and my bag when I travel—you never know who you will meet! I do not want this to be a book that just sits there. I want people to find new ways to think about ADHD and to manage it with more fun in their lives. To do that I have to keep getting the word out”
Learn from Others
“Do not work alone. Consult with other authors, get a good coach, have a mentor, or at least participate in self-publishing community forums. Learn from those who have gone down the path before you.”