Amazon Kindle’s All Time Best Selling Author Barbara Freethy Shares How She Obtained Her Success

Barbara Freethy is a best-selling author, who has had 19 books become New York Times best-sellers. She has over 4.8 million units sold, and is the bestselling Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Author of all time. Her story is one that includes hard work, dedication, and determination. Lisa Williams, correspondent with Small Business Trendsetters spoke with Freethy about the hard work that goes into self-publishing and what advice and inspiration she may have for other authors interested in self-publishing their books.

Getting Started

Like most authors, Freethy grew up loving to read. She grew up loving books and says that for her, like many authors, she comes to a new book from that place, “that love of story and reading and being able to transport somebody into a totally new adventure.” Coming from the place of loving books allows writing to start out as a joy for Barbara, although she shares that it does become a job, because writing a book from start to finish requires stamina, persistence, determination and is a lot of hard work. It is a job; she says that requires “a lot of patience and drive to keep going.”

Freethy recently spoke with the Huffington Post about how writing and publishing requires courage, and a commitment to move forward. When asked to elaborate she shared that writers become fearful that their writing may not be good, or that no one will read it, and in reality all that can happen.

Freethy goes on to say, “Writing and reading is subjective. You can write something and one person will love it and another will hate it, so writers have to have a thick skin. They need to believe in the story they are telling and they have to commit to that story and commit to being a writer, which is not just writing one book and being done, it is writing several books. I think many people think they will write a book and that is it, but really true writers continue to write and hone their craft and get better and keep putting out books, because that is what they are driven to do.”

For Freethy that drive to write has led to multiple bestselling novels. Some of her books have been on bestseller lists on Barnes and Noble, The New York Times and USA Today. When asked how this success has happened, she shares that her large successes came after she switched to self-publishing in 2011. She prefers this route because it allows her the opportunity to write and publish all her own content, as well as having control over everything involved in the process, like book covers, marketing, and the overall content.

Secrets to Self-Publishing

Freethy shares some of the secrets she has discovered while becoming a bestselling author.

One secret she has found to success is to publish frequently. This wasn’t an option with a traditional publisher because the process is much slower. Books take a year to come out. Self-publishing allows a new book to come through in just a few weeks, which really helps build and engage readers. She creates series and continues to put out new books quickly. These drive sales because people come back to these books because they enjoy reading about the world and characters in the book.

Self-publishing also allows Freethy to control her brand. For example, cover options may take a few different tries before finding one that she feels represents her brand. She likes to look for a blend of mystery, romance, and suspense. Covers take time, and self-publishing allows authors to really find what works for their books and readers,

She explains that writers have to think about what kind of story they are putting out and how they can cover it and try different things which is the beauty of independent publishing, and all the wonderful platforms that the retailers have developed for us. “You can change your cover at a moment’s notice, you can change your description, you can update your book,” she adds.

This control differs greatly with publishing companies that schedule books a few years out and do not allow changes once the cover comes in. This process means you can’t take advantage of market trends, or feedback from your readers in terms of what they want from you. The process is more complicated, and not nearly as flexible.

A new program being offered by Amazon that Freethy says can also help those looking into becoming self published is Amazon Short Reads. These short books can be read in as little as fifteen minutes. Another opportunity for writers to get their work out there through self-publishing is Amazon Worlds, which allows people to write fan-fiction in various worlds as well as writing your full book.

Freethy believes that self-publishing is an amazing opportunity for authors. They are able to write what they want, even if the market doesn’t think it is a “hot” idea and they can publish it anyway. She sold thousands of books traditionally before switching over to self-publishing, but her best sellers, and other accolades all came about after the 2011 switch.

Self-publishing is growing rapidly, including in the global markets. Freethy has started to translate her books into other languages, and is also looking into doing some audio books.

The world for writers continues to grow and develop, and some of Barbara’s best pieces of advice to new writers are: “You are only as good as your last book; you have to keep bringing out good books to the readers” and “Just keep doing it.”

Freethy’s most recent novels are When Shadows Fall and That Summer Night. For more information about Barbara Freethy’s books visit:

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