Charlotte E. English is an author of colorful fantasy novels from the UK who lives and works in the Netherlands. Over 10 years of writing, she has self-published more than a dozen of successful stories and book series, including Draykon Series, Modern Magick, The Malykant Mysteries, and the Tales of Aylfenhame.
How did patience and consistent work transform an aspiring young writer into a best-selling indie author? Here’s the story of Charlotte E. English.
Charlotte has always been a highly creative young woman who wanted a profession that would permit her to use all of her creativity and imagination. The writing was her perfect choice, but the prospect of slogging through the pain and frustration of seeking agents and publishers was daunting and unpleasant. That’s why when Charlotte learned about indie publishing she went for it without a doubt, and, of course, nobody was surprised by her choice.
Still, Charlotte’s road to success was not that smooth. Her first book was a complete mess. Charlotte admits that she had no idea what she was doing, and had to rewrite about half of it. But she kept going because, despite the difficulties, she loved the book and wanted to live a writer’s life.
Charlotte started publishing with no money at hand. Without the funds to hire editors or cover artists, putting out top-quality products was another great challenge. She solved these problems by learning how to self-edit and finding the support of other creators. Charlotte entered into a deal with a wonderful artist friend for whom she wrote a comic, and the woman illustrated Charlotte’s first several covers.
Looking back at the days when she has just started an indie author career, Charlotte admits that choosing a self-pub path was (and is) worth all the challenges. She can publish what she wants, has complete control over her work, and lives the free, flexible, creative life that she thrives upon – sometimes she’s even a bit surprised about what she managed to achieve.
If you asked Charlotte how she manages to be so productive, she’d say that she simply listens to her needs and follows her inner feelings. Charlotte is rather a mood writer, so her writing routine changes quite often. Sometimes she takes her laptop into her library and writes among the books; sometimes she stays in bed and writes under the duvet! And sometimes she writes on her gaming PC, in between rounds of Stardew Valley. Whatever she needs to do to keep her going from chapter to chapter, that’s her routine.
Great marketing is one of the key drivers of an indie author’s success, and Charlotte knows how to make good use of it. She prefers content marketing, which means she gives away a lot of free books and contributes short stories to anthologies for wider reach. Also just putting out more books is itself a fantastic strategy that has never failed Charlotte – over ten years of steady output, her audience has slowly grown itself.
And here’s what Charlotte can’t imagine her work without right now:
- Atticus – for book formatting
- PublishDrive – for distribution and marketing
- MiblArt – for book cover design.
Years in self-pub taught Charlotte that pushing through to make everything happen as soon as possible is rarely a successful tactic. The inevitable result of a rush is a disappointment, disillusion, and demotivation. Having the patience to keep working towards your goals, day by day, month by month, is what will get you there in time.
Here’s Charlotte’s advice to all aspiring indie authors:
- Remember, doubts and fears are terrible, but they are normal. Being afraid doesn’t mean that you can’t be a writer, and doubting whether you’re good enough doesn’t have to stop you.
- Fear of what might happen (or not happen) if you try can be paralyzing. But: nothing that might happen along the way could ever be worse than never trying at all. The challenges you’ll encounter will sometimes be difficult, but you’ll be stronger than you think, and you can get past them.
- Have patience. If you pluck up the courage, get stuck in, and don’t get the results you were looking for – that can hurt, but it’s okay. It’s normal. It isn’t that you’ll never be good enough. Just keep going.
For Charlotte, being an indie author means having space to exercise her imagination in any way that she chooses, and the freedom to live the life that she wants, anywhere in the world. So, if you also have a story to tell to the world and creative freedom is your top priority then put away all your doubts and just follow your dream.