I had a Theme for my first year as an Indie Author. It was ‘Impossible’, only with the ‘Im’ crossed out.
When I sat down December of 2016 and wrote down what I wanted to accomplish in 2017, I felt stomach-churning fear. I had no idea how to do any of the things I dreamed of in the coming year, much less if I’d be able to do them.
After a great pep talk from my husband and many glasses of holiday cheer, I took a deep breath and started 2017 with a prayer and a hope. The first six months I stumbled along, trying to revise book two of The Vigilantes, trying to figure out how to launch a website, how to get email subscribers and what in the world I was going to do for a book launch plan. All of it made me scared silly.
Then in June things started to come together.
Here’s how it happened, and what I hope to accomplish in 2018.
Year One as an Indie Author
I see Joanna Penn doing year in review posts, and it’s really amazing to be able to look back at her early years as an author. I get to see what she went through, the questions she had and the mistakes she made and bounced back from. So, if it’s good enough for a Bestselling Author like Joanna Penn, it’s good enough for me.
I published my first TWO books.
Yep, not just one but TWO books! I had them ready to go, that was always the goal and so I released them within a month of each other. Though I think it definitely helped to do this, I would’ve done a few things differently.
For starters, I would’ve released the first book in September so I could release the second in October as opposed to in November. The last two months of the year feel very hard for a beginning author to get traction and I think I would’ve gotten more out of staying away from November altogether.
Another thing I would’ve changed was that I would’ve worked harder to have a third book to release.
Now, this was something I considered, to be honest. Everything I’d heard said that three books released in quick succession can make an author much more “sticky” in the rankings. The next book of The Vigilantes is a novella and takes place actually in between book one and book two, so if I could’ve had it ready, releasing it within this time frame would’ve been really good. But, the novella was very hard to write for some reason and has gone through many revisions. There was no way for it to be ready until January. Would waiting until then have been a better choice? Maybe, maybe not.
I wrote a free Novella and grew a subscription list, i.e. the VIP’s
This was something that I resisted for so long! I didn’t want to write something and give it away. I didn’t want to write a novella or anything I just wanted to dig in and focus on my full-length books.
And then I started Bryan Cohen’s Selling For Authors course.
He was adamant that the only way to be a professional and build my subscriber list was to do this. So, with my teeth grit, I took two weeks off from revising the second book and wrote the novella Serpent. The results were astounding.
When I started June I had about twenty-something subscribers, mainly friends and family. As of now, I have over a thousand!
And why? Several factors.
One is definitely the free novella. It’s a great story first of all, and it’s professional cover and editing make it something of value when people get it for free. It’s also a great entre into the world of The Vigilantes and who I hope to be as an author.
The other part here is that I took time to set up a professional email service and a series of fantastic emails that let’s new subscribers know who I am and what to expect from me. This sequence will need updates and tweaks, of course, but it’s been an amazing tool to get my subscribers excited about being on my list.
I owned being an Indie Author-Entrepreneur
That’s right, like a BOSS!
Even a year ago the thought that I was an Entrepreneur was incredibly uncomfortable.
Entrepreneurs are smarter than me, more put together. They wear Dior skirts, have Michael Kors handbags and go to lunch meetings with investors. They don’t have to clean up the peanut butter their son left on their sweater. Or learn how to Market in between soccer practice and Behavior Therapy appointments.
Or do they?
I took a chance at some point this year (probably around the time I was getting complete strangers to sign up to my email list) and whispered to myself “I am an author-entrepreneur”. Then I said it to myself again, and again until I started saying it with more confidence. Then, one day, I found myself believing that this could really be me.
And now: I am an author-entrepreneur.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have doubt. Every day there are moments, even hours of doubt. Where all I can think of is the fact I haven’t sold a book in four days so how in the world am I an entrepreneur? Then I remember that all the people in this business I look up to started this way. They weren’t bestsellers overnight, or over a year. They worked their butts off and did epic battle with their doubts to get where they are.
If they can do it, so can I. I am just as worthy of success as they are, and I will do what it takes to get there.
Which brings us to-
Coming Soon in 2018: Year Two as an Indie Author
This year I’m stepping it up. For any of you that saw my book production board on Facebook, you’ll know that I have very aggressive goals for 2018. A reader asked how in the world I could keep that pace. The answer is: This is what professional authors do. They get their butts in the chair and hands on the keyboard every day.
So this year, I have a daily goal of 2,000 words. Not counting my one day off a week, of course
I will be publishing three new novels: one novella and two full-length ones.
And, I’m going to be part of a Superhero ebook boxed set
Now that’s the production side of it, how about the business side?
I’m still learning this part, and believe me when I say it feels like a never-ending uphill climb. The best part though? I’m loving it!
I am going to learn Amazon ads, how to run campaigns and how to understand the data.
I will increase and maintain good engagement with my VIP’s (my newsletter list) and my Facebook and Twitter followers.
I will grow the relationships I’ve started with other authors and make new author friends.
This may seem kinda vanilla, but it’s the foundation of where I want to go. And if my foundation isn’t solid, then I can’t build the kind of business I want to build.
Well, that’s me. How about you? What were some of the highlights of your year? What are you going to accomplish in the coming year? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!