Today I want to talk to you about perseverance and patience even though things aren’t going the way you want them to.
It takes time to become a full-time author and reap the benefits of success, especially if you’re self-published and need to work on marketing.
It takes even longer to make a full-time income off of your work and it can be depressing when you see other authors making four, five or even six figures a month. What about you? When will your time in the spotlight come?
Here are some thoughts from my personal experience.
Success is different in each of our minds and it takes time and energy to get where you want to be.
Looking back, I realize it took me almost four years to become a full-time author and make enough to pay the bills, afford ads, covers, editing and everything else that goes with becoming a full-time author.
So I’ll share the tips that got me there, but the most important thing I want you to know is that it takes time.
When you publish your first book, you might not see the results in 4 weeks. You might not see results in 4 months. Each of us has a different story and we must remember to put in the work, day in and day out.
Put in the work when it feels like you can’t sell a single book.
Put in the work when it feels like you’ll never reach your target audience.
Put in the work when you feel like going home and doing something else.
It took me 5 books and 4 years to make my first $50,000 from publishing books.
It took collaborations and studying and marketing.
It took taking a risk and trying new things.
It took thousands of dollars.
And let me tell you, I have bills and loans and things to do with my life. But my desire to be an author is deep and passionate. And even when my books weren’t paying for themselves I worked three different jobs to make it happen. I saved up for editing and book covers; I studied marketing and took courses. It was a long road but looking back I can say it was worth it. So hang in there. Keep going.
Follow these tips to put you on the road to success:
Write your best story.
Writing a story is hard but rewarding work. While there are many different ways to write a book, it’s helpful to study story structure. One of the many mistakes authors make it writing something without regard for industry standards. While the work may be good, it might not be something that readers enjoy. Pacing, setting and character development are a combination which makes books delightful to enjoy. Here are some of the books I recommend to help you succeed with storytelling.
- Structuring Your Story
- Creating Character ARCs
- The Emotional Craft of Writing
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
I used to turn up my nose at pre-made covers, but not anymore! It’s important to have an attractive cover in your genre, and you don’t have to spend an absorb about of money to get it. Covers these days range from pre-made to stockphotos to custom illustrations. After writing and publishing seven books I cannot stress the importance of a beautiful cover that fits with your genre.
Study marketing (free and paid)
As an indie author, book marketing can make or break a career. Personally I consumed as much free information as I could and spent time working with entrepreneurs to practice the marketing basics. Some of my favorite sites for resources include:
Build and grow your brand grow your email list.
Building your brand is essential for forming a fan base. Even if it’s nothing something you’re excited about doing, you can build your empire on automation. The start up steps take the longest, but I highly recommend having a website or landing page to collect email address. If you’re not a fan of email, you can also use a messenger bot and use that as your way of communicating with readers. Focus on both organic and paid ways to grow your list. Many tried and true methods include writing a short story (less than 10,000 words) and offering it as a free giveaway. This serves to give people a preview of your writing before they make a monetary commitment.
I remember releasing my first book, and trying to figure out how to get reviews. A few weeks after the release I booked a call with a book marketing guru to figure out next steps. A lot of people talk about launching a book but there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes after release. How do you keep book selling? What marketing tactics should you use? Booking a call and getting help from other marketing gurus helped set off on the right path to success.
Talking to a marketing guru can be both good and bad, so I also recommend chatting with successful authors. Follow them on social media, read their emails and do everything you can to emulate (not copy) their success. I recall following some USA Today Bestselling Authors and the number one thing they did that I didn’t do was newsletter swaps. It was very eye opening because it opened up an entirely new way of reaching more people.
Aside from talking, it’s also important to do something actionable. Taking courses may not be right for everyone, but I love seeing video examples of what I need to do and following the steps to make it happen. A few courses I’ve enrolled in include a writing course, an Ads course and a few other marketing related courses.
Collaborate with authors in your genre.
One of the biggest mistakes I see authors make is collaborated across different genres. Someone who writes nonfiction will ask a fantasy author to promote them. Why is this a mistake? Because you’re not reaching the kind of people who read your book. It’s extremely important to collaborate with authors in your genre. It makes a huge difference in book sales if you are selling to the right audience.
As a final note of encouragement, it’s possible to become a full time authors, but in most cases it takes more than one or two books to get there. So decide what you want from your work and get to work. Write your book. Read as much as possible. Save up for expenses. Take a risk. You’ve got this.
Want to chat further? Schedule a call with me.