Being a full-time author and dealing with Neville can be challenging at best.
For one, Neville is a bit of a pain in the butt. His constant chatter borders on the morose and he's a real negative Nelly…
He's the little annoying voice inside my head that tells me that I can't do something. (I'm aware that this might sound a little crazy, but I have a point, so please keep reading ;-))
Now he's there for a purpose but he's not so supportive when it comes to stepping outside the norm and doing something different… Like being a full-time author.
So Neville and I have this constant battle going on inside our head…
We battle it out with thoughts like: “you can't be an author because you have no formal training as a writer” or (this is my favorite) “no one is going to buy your books because you're not actually a traditionally published author.”
Any of this sounding familiar?
I want to talk to you about the five myths that you are probably thinking about right now that are stopping you from making the big leap into becoming a full-time author.
And I'm going to show you how you can get rid of them so that you can tell your Neville to P-off!
So you've written your book, you've published it and you have launched it… and you probably had some small amount of success.
You're feeling really happy with how things are going but fast forward to 90 days down the track and your book's sales have started to die off.
This is generally what happens with most first time authors or authors who aren't really focused on marketing their books.
There's a little key nugget there that I'm hoping that you picked up. What was it?
Marketing your books.
Without proper marketing in place, you can't sell more books. This is probably one of the biggest things that I hear when I'm chatting with coaching clients.
I feel that they have an issue with it because they think to themselves, “I'll publish a book on Amazon or any of the other big marketplaces and I'll be a Millionaire as an author.”
Well, my friend, it doesn't quite work out that way and the reason for that is because there is no concrete marketing plan in place to back it up with.
Think about this: when you start a ‘normal' brick-and-mortar business you have a business plan in place. You probably have some idea of how you're going to get customers coming to your door. No doubt about it, you are going to have to put forward some type of marketing plan and budget.
And that's just to get started.
Being an indie author can be a real business.
But when it comes to marketing our books, for some reason we don't treat it like a real business and we are super disappointed when our sales die off and feel like we are complete failures.
This can cause a lot of authors to stop writing.
The best way to stop this from happening is to have an (automated) marketing plan in place to sell your books on an ongoing basis.
Now I'm not suggesting that you need to spend a lot of money on promoting your book, in fact if you are focusing on the long-term and looking to build a proper author business then you're likely not going to need to spend more than a few dollars a month to market your book.
If you want to make sure that your books continue to sell, be very strategic. Set up a marketing plan that involves different ways of marketing your book, much like you would a brick and mortar business.
Myth #2: I have no tech skills, so I can't be a full-time author
Argh, #allthethings are driving me nuts!
Heard around the world as writers look to set up their author platforms.
Struggling with tech can be a huge problem as a full-time author particularly if you're an amazing writer but have no ability when it comes to all the tech stuff.
The great thing about this is that we are in the information age — you have so much access to free things that you can learn how to set it up for yourself.
This is exactly what I did when I first got started. I have no training whatsoever in setting up websites, in creating opt-in forms, in any of the graphics stuff… basically everything that goes along with setting up your author platforms.
But I learned how to do it and I know that you can too.
I call BS on anyone who says that they can't be a full-time author because they have no tech skills. You have absolutely no excuse. There is so much free stuff available on YouTube that it's just a matter of making the time and getting plugged in.
To help you kick your author platform off, here are the top three things that you should be doing as a budding full-time author in terms of getting set up:
- You should definitely have some way of capturing email addresses of your readers. Because newsflash, Amazon or any of the other marketplaces own your readers' contact details. They don't pass it on to you after your book is sold. You need to make sure that you are capturing their email address so that you can continue to build the relationship with your tribe. That's number one.
- Have a website, some type of online presence so your readers can find where you are and what you're about.
- In terms of platform, you definitely want to have something in place where readers can come and grab your books. So whether there is a sales page or it's just a standalone page that talks about your books, you need to make it easy for people to find you and grab your books.
Below are a couple of tools that will help you get started with getting this up and they are super simple to use:
You need a way to capture email addresses, email hosting, opt-in pages, and forms. ConvertKit hosts this all for you, so you don't even need to know how to connect it to your website.
#2: WordPress.org or SquareSpace
Which one you choose for your website will largely depend on your technological ability. If you are looking for something that is a low barrier to entry and super simple to learn, I would go with SquareSpace.
In terms of getting a page set up for your books so that you can easily sell them and capture email addresses at the same time, there's a great service called booklaunch.io. The service connects directly to Amazon and the other marketplaces so that you can add all there by now buttons on this page. It makes capturing email addresses easy as well as it connects directly to ConvertKit and other email platforms, so make sure you check it out too.
Myth #3: I'll have to work longer hours and give up Netflix [or insert any other distraction]
One of the things that really makes me laugh and sometimes makes me angry is hearing people say things like: “I'll have to work longer hours and give up Netflix…” or give up sitting in front of the TV or give up and insert any mindless distractions here.
If you want to become a full-time author there are some things that you're going to have to give up for sure but you are NOT going to have to work longer hours if you don't want to.
I've been working as a full-time author now for over five years and I would, on average, work between 6 and 7 hours a day. Sometimes I only work for 4. At this point, I'm about to launch my 30th book! I love having the ability to be flexible as well.
So thinking you're going to have to work longer hours as an author isn't the case at all. If you do find that you're working longer hours it's probably more a case of not having the right systems in place to automate things for you.
When I first got started, I definitely struggled with #allthethings. I could have been smarter and outsourced some of the tasks or implemented automation rules and systems to streamline things.
Don't think that you're going to be working longer hours or having to give up everything to be a full-time author. That is definitely not the case unless you want to be.
Myth #4: I'll be a starving writer!
This particular myth really gets my goat! Thinking goes that if you are going to be a full-time author or writer that you are going to be starving, that you're going to be this creative who is just taken by their muse, that sits in front of their computer typing away for the love of it and that you're not going to get paid for the work that you that you do.
Don't think that you'll be a starving writer because that's not the case. You can learn to side hustle your way into becoming a profitable author by doing things like monetizing your site, or creating other products that go along with your book. That will increase your income making abilities. You won't be starving.
Just remember this as you go through your own creative process. There should no longer be this mentality that if you're a full-time author, you're going to be starving. That is just not the case. Here's the proof:
Five authors who are currently making a full-time income from being an author
What I really want you to focus on is the other things that they have in place too…
- Joanna Penn of www.thecreativepenn.com
- Dave Chesson of www.kindlepreneur.com
- Steve Scott of www.developgoodhabits.com
- Me! Take a look around here and see if you can spot what I'm doing…
- Chandler Bolt of www.self-publishingschool.com
Click on the links for each site so you can go and check out exactly what they're doing and how they are earning an income from not just being an author but by being smart and having other options and income plans because it's all about diversification.
Myth #5: Self-published authors aren't taken seriously!
This last myth is probably the biggest crock of shit that I have ever heard! Pardon my language but come on!
This is something that has been coming up recently, particularly down here in Australia and New Zealand…
A lot of would-be budding authors are struggling to get their books out there because they don't want to go the self-publishing route. They feel that they won't be taken seriously as an author, to the point where they think that being traditionally published is the only option.
I really feel like they are making a massive mistake. One thing I want to really highlight here is that a big drawback from going the traditional route is that you DO NOT have the right to do anything with your book once you have signed the rights of your book over to the publisher. Which means they can make creative changes. You may not even get your choice of cover!
It also means that you don't get to keep all the income that your book earns.
Different Royalty Rates
With a traditional publisher, you can expect to receive 5%-15% royalties with 15% being the top end of the scale.
Compare this with self-publishing, where you get to keep 70% royalties on ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Now keep in mind that this is on the Amazon platform, this will vary across other platforms.
Amazon is the largest platform and that's what we are focusing on here. For your paperback, if you choose to go with CreateSpace who are part of Amazon, you can expect to receive up to 60% royalties on your paperback book. Although that will depend largely on where the person is accessing the book from because they can buy through third-party distributors…
And that is another great thing about going through the self-publishing process — you still get access to distribution channels, just like you would going the traditional route.
So you tell me — do you take my books any less seriously because they aren't traditionally published?
Think about this: what about your fav fiction authors? Do you know how many of them are self-published?
[Tweet “Do you take my books any less seriously because they aren't traditionally published? “]
It's very hard to distinguish between a traditional and self-published author, so why limit yourself? Why not have full control and keep most of the proceeds for your hard earned work!
Now that we've busted those five myths, isn't it time you took the first step towards becoming a full-time author?
So now that I've busted up those myths and (hopefully!) your inner Neville, do you see things differently? What's the next step in making your dream of being a full-time author a reality? Drop me a line in the comment section below to let me know what you're going to do next!