hey all, I'm not all that knowledgeable about traditional publishing nor an expert in (depending on your definition) successful self-publishing. But what I'm becoming increasingly skilled at is slogging my way at the bottom of the food chain, trying to balance writing with getting my finished work out there so that it can find its way into the laps of people who would enjoy it and doing all this while working full time and trying to have a life. That said, I've discovered a few things: My job: Working in the corporate world, especially customer service, is mentally draining: it leaves me with such a lack of creative energy that I couldn't motivate myself to write for half a decade. So I decided to drop out of that career stream. Conversely working in a perceived lower-end career like delivery, cab driving, security etc. Didn't drain me as much and even gave me time to write on the job. My life: My early 20's were rife with drama, which gave me great material, a useful outlook and thought process but left my writing at the lowest priority. Now I think that I can say that I have no drama in my life that distracts me but I have lots that amuses me. Writing: I'm now very prolific and that added with my ability to adapt styles to my work and the knowledge gained in my youth makes the stuff that I produce very good in my opinion. In my case at least, it seems time has an improving nature. Publishing: I wanted to go the traditional route, and tried, but the last rejection I received tied in with my research on indie authors purported; the last publisher who rejected Fey Girl said, basically, that everyone in the industry was only interested in signing the next big thing that was exactly the same as the last big thing because they couldn't afford any risk as their house of cards collapsed around them. Post-self-publishing: I had to do as much work publishing and promoting as I did writing. So far I haven't seen a return of either investments in time except that, at least for the writing, that major investment has improved me. So, the point of this thread is maybe all of us (who are in the same boat or at least on the same body of water) can share our experiences and maybe offer one another advice. Who knows? Maybe we'll get this stuff figured out. Anyway, here are my tips: Amazon is awesome: a free ebook I put on there had 5000 downloads in the first month after 5 minutes of work. Smashwords is useful: can't beat free distribution for an hour of work. Project Wonderful is a great, cheap way to advertise. It increased hits on my page for an acceptable price. Facebook advertising was way more expensive and had a negligible effect. I didn't try Google because it didn't take papal. Getting indie reviewers to blog about your book is emotionally rewarding if you can get past the expectation that everyone will think you are awesome. I don't yet have a metric that figures out a mundane value for them. People who blog about publishing are a great resource if you can sift through all the conflicting information and figure out what works for you. If you can bang out ten well written and edited books that range in price from free to under 5 bucks, you may start to make a living off of them. I haven't reached that point but it's a goal I have that I've been falling behind on. Those are the main things I can think of. That and the fact that this site is a useful resource for information and many people on here offer encouragement and advice. That said, I'd like to see here what this site is best for: a deep, thoughtful discussion on a subject that affects us all.