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Serious indie authors operate as the CEOs of their own imprints—doing everything an author should do, while often managing a team of specialists as well. Jane Friedman leads this panel of successful indie authors and publishers as we discuss how readers discover indiebooks, what it takes to build a loyal following, and judging the return on investment for various marketing expenses. From the nitty-gritty details of writing book metadata to creative approaches to social media, this session will leave you informed and equipped to market your next book.


Nicholas Erik is science fiction and fantasy novelist who has written over 20 novels. For fellow authors, he writes comprehensive guides and has a newsletter on how to sell more books, build your fanbase, and be more productive.

Pamela M. Kelley is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of women’s fiction, family sagas, and mystery/suspense. Readers often describe her books as feel-good reads with people you’d want as friends. She lives in a historic seaside town near Cape Cod and just south of Boston. She has always been an avid reader of women’s fiction, romance, mysteries, thrillers and cook books. There’s also a good chance you might get hungry when you read her books as she is a foodie, and occasionally shares a recipe or two.

Michael La Ronn is the author of over 60 science fiction and fantasy books and self-help books for writers. He writes from the great plains of Iowa and has managed to write while raising a family, working a full-time job, and even attending law school classes in the evenings. You can find his fiction at and his videos and books for writers at

Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned author, who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. She’s been self-publishing since 2011, writing speculative fiction under SKQ and sexy romance under a pen name. Her stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German and French, featured in several anthologies, and produced extensively in audiobook. Susan’s a six-figure author whose assistant keeps the wheels on while she’s writing hopepunk climate-fiction or happily-ever-afters. She runs Indies Together, a 1200-plus member group of self-published authors, where you can find her free (short!) guide on how to make self-publishing a career. Her SF books can be found at, but you’ll have to discover her romance novels by accident—or she might tell you and pinky-swear you to secrecy.

Jane Friedman (moderator) has nearly 25 years of experience in the publishing industry. She writes and publishes The Hot Sheet, an industry newsletter for authors, which was named 2020 Media Outlet of the Year by Digital Book World.


Panelists’ Websites: 

Nicholas Erik 

Pamela Kelley 

Michael La Ronn 

Susan Kaye Quinn 

Jane Friedman (Moderator)

Jane’s book marketing resource list: a collection of the best advice Jane has read or published, for both traditional and self-published authors, organized by topic.

Websites mentioned by panelists:

Book category research:

Ebook market research:

Nicholas Erik’s curated list of promotional sites:

Udemy course on Google Sheets for keeping track of expenses and returns:

Chirp audiobooks, a subsidiary of BookBub:

Articles mentioned in the Q&A chat:

The Comprehensive Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with an Editor,” by nonfiction developmental editor Chantel Hamilton

Being Smart with Your Marketing Dollars,” an interview with author Skye Warren about Facebook ads

Millions of Followers? For Book Sales, ‘It’s Unreliable’,” recent New York Times article about social media followings and book deals

3 Reasons Why Book Publicity Is More Important Than Ever,” by Fauzia Burke


With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Penguin Random House, and our donors, the Authors Guild Foundation is pleased to make Business Bootcamps for Writers free and open to the public.

Several writers organizations have partnered with the Authors Guild Foundation to help shape these programs. Our deepest appreciation to these organizations.