I’m in the mood to write something controversial that may get me in trouble, but as you know, my theme is being “Gutsy” so I’ve decided to be honest and say what’s on my mind.
Before I do, let me tell you that I’ve been re-evaluating my goals; where I’m heading with “Gutsy Living” and my coaching business.
As many of you have told me, I’m all over the place trying to promote not only my stuff, but also other people’s books, posts, videos, articles. It takes time, and for me, it’s a 7-day-a-week job. If I were doing this for a successful company, I should be making a six-figure income, easily, BUT NO!
As an indie author, I choose to spend money on book covers, formatting, hiring a business coach, subscriptions to magazines and organizations, applying for book Awards, attending conferences, flights, hotels (when I cannot stay for free at a friend’s house) printing, business cards, posters, once in a while on a local PR person (for the “My Gutsy Story®” Anthology, book launch)
Now perhaps I’m taking the wrong approach. I cannot sacrifice the quality of my product (books) for a cheaper version of DIY. So far, I have hired professional editors (4 of them) book designers (1106 Design), a film company to film the book launch (perhaps a BIG mistake), rented a movie theater with a keynote speaker and a panel to of indie authors to entertain our audience.
It’s time for a reality check
My recent presentation at the #SBWC2014 Santa Barbara Writers Conference
As I’ve heard over and over at conferences:
- Don’t quit your day job
We can’t all be like Elizabeth Gilbert who sold 9 million copies of her book, Eat, Pray, Love, worldwide, generating an estimated $135 million in sales, nor like John Grisham who sold 645,000 copies of one of his books.
I don’t know of any indie author friends of mine who have sold 25,000 copies in one year. If you have, please e-mail me at: sonia@soniamarsh.
In fact, many indie authors claim they don’t receive Amazon royalty checks each month.
According to BISG.org (The Book Industry Study Group)
- 78% of all books are sold online
- 98% of all books sold online are through Amazon
- Less than 4% of Americans visited a bookstore in the last year.
- (These are my notes from the lecture, so as far as I know they are accurate.)
When I make presentations to writers’ groups and at writers’ conferences, I explain how:
- This is the best time to be an author, but it is also the worst time. WHY?
It’s the best time because authors have so many options today to market themselves online. If we have a great idea for Oprah’s audience, heck, we can even Tweet @Oprah, and maybe, just maybe, one of her producers will read our Tweet, you never know. Oprah has 5 great summer reads which her Oprah magazine book editor, Leigh Haber, recommends. Why not our books? There are all genres.
It’s also the worst time as there is so much competition today. In 2013, Bowker announced that 391,000 books were self-published in 2012. A 59% increase from 2011.
I started my own publishing company in 2012, called, “Gutsy Publications.” I did this after studying the pros and cons of using CreateSpace as my POD printer, vs. being a publisher and the benefits of using LSI (Lightning Source Ingram) as a printer and Ingram as a wholesaler. If you want to get a local book signing at Costco, or B&N, then starting your own publishing company is the way to go. My author friend, Linda Austin, explains the pros and cons of CreateSpace and LSI, which is now called Ingram Spark, on her site.
Hopefully we all know by now the importance of seeing ourselves as a brand, and our books as a product, but truthfully, why do you think most indie authors need to start a coaching business or a speaking career, in order to hopefully make a living?
Because most authors cannot make a living from book sales alone. That’s the honest truth my dear friends. You have 7 choices:
- You keep your day job
- You’re independently wealthy and have enough funds to support your hobby (Oops! Did I use the H word?)
- You keep writing more books and hope that by the 6th one you can make a full-time living
- You start a successful coaching-editing-writing coach or other related business to your writing
- You get paid $100,000,000 as a public speaker like Anthony Robbins
- You get your book turned into a movie and Hollywood makes you famous
- You’re happy being an underpaid author who has a book out in the world
So as I wrap up my post where I tell you the truth, I am forced to charge $79/writer who wants to get published in our 3rd Award-winning Anthology.
Please see what you get for this fee, and I hope you agree that you’re getting a wonderful opportunity for publication and promotion by agreeing to join our Gutsy Indie Tribe .
Please note that it’s free to submit to my website and get promoted. To get published in our print version will now have a $79 fee.
So please let me know if you’re making a full-time living with your book sales. I’d like to share some successful ““My Gutsy Story®” book stories.