“Self-publishing changed my life.” That was Bella Andre’s message to aspiring authors in a keynote that kicked off the Self-Publishing Book Expo Saturday at the Sheraton in New York City.

Sharing the stage with bestselling self-published author Barbara Freethy for a joint presentation titled “Top Ten Tips for Self-Publishing E-Books,” Andre—who has sold more than one million self-published e-books—shared her remarkable success story and offered strategies for indie writers on everything from branding and market expansion to audiobook rights and frequency of publication.

Freethy—a New York Times bestseller with more 2 million self-published e-books sold—also shared tips and tactics for DIY authors, covering a diverse range of topics, including networking, editing, and promotion

According to Diane Mancher, the event’s co-founder and co-creator, this year’s SPBE featured 100 presenters and more than 400 attendees. Among the all-day event’s panels and lectures were sessions about publicity, domestic and foreign rights, distribution, social media, and everything in between.

In the afternoon keynote, Jon Fine, director of author and publisher relations at Amazon, offered a wide-ranging discussion on current state of self-publishing and the ways his company can help aspiring authors. “More books for more people in more ways really defines our goal,” Fine said of Amazon, stressing the company’s commitment to selling any and all books in a variety of formats. “Book’s are really job number one for us.”

Summing up the recent growth and acceptance of self-publishing, Fine shared a slide with audience that read, “The Means of Production Have Been Democratized.”

“There’s a great opportunity that didn’t exist before,” he said, stressing that indie authors now have access to new tools to help them better publish books, find new readers, reach niche audiences, market books, and make their work available in a variety of formats.

“I don’t care who publishes your book, you’re going to have to find your audience,” Fine said. “But again this democratization has made it possible for you to reach audiences you could not reach before...Before you had to go to professionals to get that audience, but now you can find that audience on your own.”