In 1996, Lou Kasischke survived one of the worst disasters in the history of Mt. Everest. A sudden storm blew in, stranding climbers and ultimately killing eight people. A few years after the tragedy, Kasischke wrote After the Wind, his highly personal account of the event and his wife’s role in his survival. However, the book sat in a drawer for 16 years because, as Kasischke puts it, “The tragic story was one to forget. The personal story was one to remember.”

When his wife became seriously ill, he “decided to publish the pages to honor her and pay tribute to the power of love in saving my life.” Kasischke’s choice to go the self-publishing route was anchored in his fear that working with traditional house would require him to make significant changes to his manuscript: “I wanted readers to hear my voice—not the voices of a team of editors. I write simply and clearly, and from the heart. That’s what matters the most to readers.” Going indie, he says, was his “first and best choice.” Publishers Weekly called After the Wind an “eye-opening look at the perils and extreme conditions on Everest. Evocative illustrations…further enhance the text, and include maps and time lines.”

Kasischke believes self-publishing is changing the industry for the better. He enjoys the freedom of being an indie author and having control of his book’s content, design, and destiny: “Even if sales come up short of hopes, it’s never failure when you are in the arena and doing your best,” he says, noting that he was pleasantly surprised by “the strength, energy, and passion in the indie community. Indies genuinely care about their community and anxiously share experiences and knowledge.”

We asked Kasischke what tips and advice he has for other indie authors:

There Are No Shortcuts

“Indie publishing has made room for everyone. But, if you plan to bring your work into the marketplace, be serious about the craft of writing and storytelling. The content, interior design, title, cover design, and all other aspects of production must be crafted and produced to the highest professional standards. There are no shortcuts. If you don’t write a high quality book, no one will read it. All tips about publishing are meaningless otherwise.”

Awareness Is Key

“Plan ahead for the steps to build awareness about the book. Think through your options and take action. For example, these options will include exposure on social media, book reviews, awards competitions, catalog listings, and more. Awareness won’t happen unless you make it happen. And, without awareness, your book can’t sell.”

Bring Your Book to Market

“Plan and take steps for getting the book into the marketplace. Distribution through online retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is easy. Other outlets, such as bookstores, are more difficult.”