Making a full-time income as a writer, that is. Spending your mornings in PJ’s at the kitchen table, steaming mug in front of you, beautiful words flowing onto paper. Or the stolen afternoon hours at the coffee shop tapping away on your laptop as your story takes shape.
Like so many writers, you probably harbor some long-held beliefs about writing (and publishing) that are only holding you back from this dream life of making money with your writing, watching as it slowly replaces your day job and becomes your full-time hustle.
I’ve got news: this doesn’t have to be a dream.
Let’s get started. Do you lack confidence in your writing? Our first wrong-headed belief is that only an immensely talented writer can make it big. Wrong! That’s what editors are for, and by the way, all great writers have editors. Stephen King has an editor. And there are all different types of editors: editors who can help you simply put story ideas together, editors who can help you structure your novel, and editors who can help tighten up your sentences to make your writing crisp and concise. Need a recommendation? I’ve got plenty!
Plus, in the end, people aren’t looking for perfection, just your best effort, and—most importantly—authenticity. (Fifty Shades of Grey became a huge hit even though E.L. James’s writing is generally considered middling to poor.)
But that being said, your first book will give you that burst of confidence you need to keep writing others.
Besides, how cool would it be to see the stranger next to you on the plane totally engrossed in your book, not even realizing he is sitting right next to the author? Imagine his surprise when he finds out you wrote it—and imagine your ego boost!
You may also think that you need to focus on hitting the jackpot with your first book. Again, this is wrong. It’s not about striking gold with that one “big hit,” it’s about steadily producing quality work, time and time again, that is authentically yours. Readers respond to authenticity, and will enjoy your work because it’s written in your voice, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Readers also love watching a novelist improve his or her skills over time.
Authenticity and effort. That’s what sells.
Even if you are hell-bent on “winning the lottery” with your first book, the fact remains, you can’t win if you don’t try, right? And getting started is the most important part.
Maybe you think you’ll get less respect as a self-published author. Honestly, I don’t think this has ever been true. It is true that traditional publishing opens some doors more easily, such as reviews in large media publications, but no one is going to actively look down on you just because you chose to be an independent author. Let’s face it: these days, lots of people have lots of things to say, and spending months or years hunting down a publisher or literary agent is a roadblock that many wish to skirt.
Speaking of reviews, consider Tracy Bloom, a successful indie author who busies herself cranking out romance novels during the day while her children are at school. She gets tons of book reviews! And she’s even more in control of the process because over the years she has developed great relationships with book bloggers.
Slow and steady wins the race. Cliché? Yes. True? Absolutely.
Once published, you may think you can rely on word-of-mouth to sell copies. Yes, it’s an important component of sales, but by no means the whole story. As we saw in Tracy Bloom’s case, she doesn’t hesitate to reach out to bloggers, and in this way, presides over very effective book launches.
But here’s the thing: you don’t have to know how to do all this. I can match you up with a marketing strategist who will help you set up a promotional campaign that plays to your strengths. After all, nothing is more counterproductive than feeling overwhelmed. If you’re an introvert, for example, you may wish to use a more low-key approach than an extrovert might.
The greatest part of book promotion is that it’s on your terms, using only tactics you feel comfortable using.
Meanwhile, you’re working on your next novel. Many writers believe that you shouldn’t bother to start writing another book, at least not right away. But I say please do, now that you have one under your belt! You want to get another book out there as soon as you can, because if there’s anything we know about Amazon, it’s that they love making recommendations to customers about what to buy next—and what better to recommend than one of your other novels? Great way to double your sales.
With time and determination—and getting past bad beliefs—the money will roll in. I encourage you to get started today!
Need a recommendation? Have a question? Comment below or shoot me an e-mail!
To your success,