Every once in a while, I struggle to find a topic to blog about. When that happens, I look for a daily newspaper article or open up my Kindle to find something interesting to read. Reading always helps get my creative juices flowing. But tonight I was inspired more than usual when I came across an old book by fellow Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif. The title of this book is How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling My Kindle eBooks, and it’s a great read.
Cheryl is similar to another author named Mark Dawson in the sense that she had been traditionally published before switching over to self-publishing by choice. They’re both also fans of using Amazon’s KDP Select program to boost book sales. I won’t give away Cheryl’s success secrets here. People can get her tips straight from her inside her book. But I don’t think she’ll mind if I share an excerpt or two from this book about her experiences with both traditional and self-publishing. There’s quite an eye-opening contrast that matches everything I’ve said in my own books.
Canadian Success Story: Traditional (Trade) Publishing
In this excerpt, Cheryl discusses what it took for her to be successful in Canada’s traditional literary publishing sector. She also talks about how much money she spent versus what she earned. I can tell you, firsthand, what she’s saying here is the reality for pretty much every traditionally-published Canadian author.
When I think back to 2007-2008 when I was with that traditional publisher and how much time and money I spent to promote my books, the numbers are terrible. Even though I had the second highest sales of all their authors.
I spent many hours a day promoting myself online, plus 40+ book signings between October 15 and December 23. I spent an average of 5 hours at each signing and sold more than the average that most Canadian authors will sell at a signing. I spent an hour traveling to and from each signing.
I made less than MINIMUM WAGE when everything was said and done. And half of that paid for the books I had to stock and bring with me so I could do consignments with my other titles. With the traditionally published book, the bookstore ordered the stock and I didn’t have to put out a penny.
There’s something wrong with making less than minimum wage, don’t you think? And I did this for 9 years, all the while hoping that one day I’d get my big break. “Dare to Dream.” I did.
Canadian Success Story: Self-Publishing
Not only did Cheryl dare to dream; she changed her strategy from traditional publishing to self-publishing, from paperbacks to ebooks. And she changed her life along with it.
When you realize that marketing books does not have to be done the “same old way” it’s been done for decades, with tours and signings, and mailouts and newspaper advertising, and countless other expenses, you’ve broken through the old ways.
We’re free to market our books from the convenience of our homes, with less financial risk and far more possible gains than ever before. You can write with your laptop on your lap while reclined in front of the TV. You can stay in your PJs if you want. You no longer HAVE to do consignments in bookstores, only to have them ask you to take back your ripped, dirty books that have no resale value left.
It’s a writer’s revolution. The end of an era that was long overdue for an overhaul.
Now, finally, you can be paid to write your stories. You can be rewarded for your creativity. You can earn a respectable income.
What it Truly Takes to Succeed
I won’t give you Cheryl’s full strategy here. It’s her strategy to share with you, and she does so beautifully in her book. It’s an older book, but much of the information is still relevant today. It’s definitely worth the read.
That said, there is a common theme among all the “author success stories” I share with you on this blog. You can probably already see it just by reading the above two small excerpts. Success doesn’t come suddenly like a lightning bolt, nor does it come quickly by sheer luck. All successful authors have developed effective work habits. Every one of them kept their goals in mind while working toward those goals every single day.
How long does it take? There is no magic number, no one answer to that question. It takes focus and time. Jeff Haden worked harder than anyone else and was able to make writing his full-time job within one year. For Joanna Penn, it took five years to transition to a full-time writer. How long will it take you? That’s really hard to say. I think so much of it depends on how bad you want it. It’s about your own will.
Look to Other Author Success Stories for Inspiration
Of course, sometimes we all need a little extra boost to reignite that desire to continue on. Don’t we? Sometimes, it takes reading someone else’s success story to motivate ourselves to write anything at all. That’s what worked for me tonight. An old book sparked a new flame. Thank you for inspiring me again, Cheryl! Hopefully, this blog post about your success will inspire many other authors the way it did for me tonight. Hopefully it shows them just what’s possible when they put their minds to it.
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