Tag Archives: The Guardian

An Excerpt from How to Build a Loyal Readership So Your Self-Published Books Get Picked Up by Literary Agents and Trade Publishers

Now available through AMAZON, KOBO, and E-SENTRAL!

In the first section of this ebook, I highlighted a few different authors who are seeing significant success in terms of the volumes of books they’re selling online every single year. These three, in particular, have earned six- or seven-figure annual incomes from their ebook sales and have openly shared their stories in prominent online publications:

  • Amanda Hocking was one of the first reported Amazon millionaires who utilized “rapid release” publishing (releasing a new book online at least every six weeks, if not oftener) to self-publish her fictional books after multiple rejections by the traditional trade publishers. Of her success, Ed Pilkington wrote in The Guardian:
    “When historians come to write about the digital transformation currently engulfing the book-publishing world, they will almost certainly refer to Amanda Hocking, writer of paranormal fiction who in the past 18 months has emerged from obscurity to bestselling status entirely under her own self-published steam. (Pilkington, 2012)”
  • Mark Dawson, by contrast, was first trade published. But when he saw how few copies his publisher sold of his fictional novel, he switched to self-publishing and learned how to become an entrepreneurial author instead. Of his six-figure success, Jay McGregor wrote in Forbes:
    “Dawson’s recent success isn’t representative of his time in publishing, however. He actually had a book published by Pan Books called ‘The Art of Falling Apart’ in 2000, which completely bombed. Not because it was bad – ironically it’s now available on Kindle and has 32 five-star reviews out of 39 – but because few people read it or are aware of it. Mark puts the book’s failure down to the publishers inability to promote his work and generate any sort of interest.” (McGregor, 2015)”
  • Steve Scott is a notable non-fiction success story, proving this “rapid release” technique can work for all kinds of books—not only fictional novels. Of his success, Joanna Penn wrote on The Creative Penn blog:
    “If you want a six figure income from your books, it’s a good idea to model people who are already making this kind of money. Steve Scott seemed to burst onto the indie non-fiction scene in early 2014, but in fact, he has 42 books and has had an internet business since 2006. (Penn, 2014)”

These three success stories confirm what I’ve been writing about and teaching to aspiring and established authors alike for several years now: the most successful authors are the ones who treat book writing, publishing, sales, and marketing as their own businesses. They don’t only write; they sell their books. This is true of all self-publishers and most trade-published authors, and it’s always been that way—contrary to popular belief—which is why people like Mark Dawson are switching over to self-publishing (or supported self-publishing) to produce their books. Why hand the majority of your book’s copyright ownership and creative control over to a trade publisher if you’re the one who’s going to have to sell it, anyway? (If my question has raised your eyebrow and you’re feeling any sort of resistance to it, then I invite you to click on this blog post and read a few quotes from the trade publishers themselves regarding how much time they actually spend selling their authors’ books. It’s an enlightening read.)

To read more, you can pick up a copy of this book at AMAZON, KOBO, or E-SENTRAL!

Amanda Hocking: Another Fascinating “Rags to Riches” Success Story

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

I’m always on the lookout for author success stories to share with my blog subscribers because this is a tough business that requires a lot of inspiration to keep oneself motivated. It takes motivation to get yourself to consistently take the types of actions you need to be taking in order to achieve the success you desire.

I believe you get what you focus on. You can focus on the difficulties and heed the warnings of business advisers who insist that 90% of authors will never see the kind of success that authors like Amanda Hocking and Mark Dawson are seeing, and that you should therefore set your goals much lower in order to avoid disappointment. Or you can focus on the possibilities by going in search of the proof, all around you, that what you desire is indeed achievable … whether you write fiction or non-fiction.

The fact is, many authors are earning fantastic livings writing books nowadays. Wouldn’t you love to read an article that tells you exactly how they’re achieving this? If the answer to that question is “yes” then you’ll enjoy reading this: What Makes a $100k Author: 8 Findings Every Author Should Know. What I appreciate most about this article is that it provides relevant data about the realities of this business while also showing authors what is possible if they’re willing to put in the time and effort. It encourages authors rather than discouraging them.

CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW!

I created the “Author Success Stories” category on this blog as a place where you can read about the possibilities. The purpose is to encourage you rather than discourage you because, at the end of the day, if even one author can accomplish something that means it’s achievable. It’s possible. Focus on that, and you may just be the next success story that is inspiring others to do the same. You may become one of the pioneers who steers others in the right direction so that, perhaps one day, it will be 90% of authors enjoying massive success and only 10% who will never achieve it.

Which brings me back to Amanda Hocking, an extreme success story that first appeared in The Guardian back in January 2012, who went from obscurity (and essentially poverty) to bestselling status within 18 months of publishing her first book online. Amanda is now a self-made millionaire. Granted, there were several years of writing and work beforehand … as it often is with these “overnight success” stories. Amanda makes sure to emphasize that in this interview which I highly recommend you read. It is eye opening and inspiring. And most importantly, it shows what’s possible even after several disappointments.

Keep writing. Keep working. Keep the faith!

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