Helping Indie Authors Help Themselves
How one successful indie author is supporting aspiring writers.When author and self-publishing entrepreneur Michael Anderle was a teenager, he submitted a short story to his high school’s literary journal. It wasn’t well-received. “Rather crushed, I pulled the submission and hid it in my books, never to try again,” he says.
It was quite a few years before Anderle again took a stab at writing fiction. “When I turned 47, I decided to see what it took to release a fiction book as a bucket list item,” he says. The result of that effort was the self-published novel Death Becomes Her (2015), book one in the Kurtherian Gambit series. Anderle hit the ground running: he followed his debut with five sequels within the span of 90 days.
Anderle describes his books as “an amalgamation of paranormal science fiction, where I give vampires and werewolves an alien genesis.” He adds, “The purpose is to entertain, and hopefully make the reader laugh, smile, and perhaps occasionally want to throw their Kindle.”
Within twelve months, Anderle says, he was pulling in six figures per month. He believes that this early success arose from his strategic promotional efforts through social media. He also began networking with fans who were aspiring authors themselves by including author notes in the digital books. In these, he shared his accounts of “what was going on as I was writing the books, and what frustrations I was encountering.”
Anderle’s desire to share his knowledge and success with more authors led to the launch of LMBPN, which stands for “London, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, New York,” the world’s fashion capitals. He says he believed early on that LMBPN would be a publishing house, “but we only had one author: me.” He adds, “It wasn’t until later in 2016 that I decided how I was going to publish more authors, and the answer came from the fans.”
Anderle gathered feedback from his readers about what kinds of stories they were most eager to read—and perhaps write. They suggested genres that weren’t necessarily in his own wheelhouse. Today, the entertainment company is “a constantly evolving publishing concern, and our focus on income-generating revenue streams changes as we learn,” Anderle says. He collaborates with a group of roughly 15 authors to pen the books, and LMBPN has published more than 250 titles across multiple sci-fi, fantasy, and largely female-driven series, each of which unfolds in a distinct universe. The books are bestsellers, and Anderle and his coauthors have been ranked among the top 100 Amazon authors.Anderle believes that LMBPN’s success stems from his forming respectful, symbiotic working relationships with writers navigating the exciting but not always easy indie landscape. He broadened his networking efforts through the development of 20Booksto50K, a community that he created and that started as a Facebook group. The venture expanded into a series of conferences for writers who self-publish, the most recent of which author Craig Anderle and Martelle hosted in Las Vegas in November.
Anderle says the conferences have allowed him to meet “hardworking authors who know what to do but have not seen success.” He adds, “I choose to work with many of them to see if I can supply the missing piece in their puzzle to help them succeed.”
Anderle’s entrepreneurial spirit, grassroots publishing know-how, and passion for reading have led to a thriving business with an international body of authors. He says that the work has been strenuous and immersive: “I’ve gained a PhD in publishing success in three years because of what the indie publishing revolution has allowed me to access. Mind you, I’m also old enough to know a fair amount and willing to put in about 363 working days a year.”
In 2019, LMBPN will release seven titles per week through Amazon, according to Anderle. As soon as Amazon pays LMBPN, the authors are paid as well. For Anderle, indie publishing allows for this type of transparency, which, in turn, fosters a culture of collaboration and mutual support: “In general, LMBPN focuses on facilitating engagement and allowing all of us to be as successful as we want. If someone works with us and then goes and builds their own properties, we will still market, on social media and email, their personal properties as they release.”
LMBPN, Anderle says, draws from a fundamental principle: that reading and writing are reciprocal, and writers depend on one another for support. He continues to work on his own books, and the more he learns about writing and publishing, the more he shares with other authors. “Teach a person to catch a fish, and you feed them for a day,” he says. “Teach them how to successfully publish their own stories, and create a group like 20Booksto50k, and you allow others to teach what they know. We all support each other and help new successes happen.”