As some of you may know, I wrote a controversial article “Do Authors Make Money? Here’s the Truth.”
In this post I mentioned looking for a job to supplement my indie-publishing endeavors. Some people seemed shocked as they believed I was hitting it big.
Well, since then, I’ve spoken to many entrepreneurs and concluded that most of us are struggling to make ends meet.
Why do we think others are more financially successful than we are?
Is that because we pretend to be more successful than we are? Do we hide the truth?
I’ve had several conversations with doctors, financial planners, lawyers and authors and it doesn’t matter which profession you’re in, entrepreneurs are always looking for the miracle that will help them succeed financially.
If professionals are struggling to keep their businesses thriving, isn’t that just part of life?
There is no miracle to become successful in life
Perhaps the secret lies in:
You need to redefine success in your terms and forget what others think.
Perhaps success should be re-defined as:
Loving what you do even if it doesn’t make you rich
I was asked to answer some questions about being successful as an author entrepreneur by Eric Gati. Here are some of my answers to his questions and you can also read my entire interview on “The Daily Interview.”
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far in your career as a writer (and business owner)?
I enjoy building online communities and making people feel they belong. I started “Gutsy Indie Publishers” a FaceBook group, with 600+ authors, most of them indie. This group is for writers, publishers and anyone in the business who wants to help others.
Another accomplishment is the writing contest I started in 2011 called “My Gutsy Story®.” I have received many e-mails from writers thanking me for allowing them to open up and share their own stories.
I never realized I would be speaking at conferences about how to become a successful “Author Entrepreneur.” I love speaking to writers about blogging, how to sell more books, and unique ways to promote, that they may not have considered. Here are some links to the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference where I spoke about this topic on June 11th, 2014.
What has been your greatest challenge that you’ve overcome in getting to where you’re at today?
- How do you become visible? Whether online or in person, it takes time, perseverance and effort to have people know who you are, and to get loyal followers.
- Another challenge is to move away from offering everything for free, and to charge for your expertise. I hired a business coach to help me become a marketing coach for authors. I still find this challenging as I enjoy helping others, but also need to make a living.
Many people have the skills and drive to write a book, but failure to market and sell the book the right way is probably what keep a lot of people from finding success. I know you can probably write volumes on this topic, but can you give us maybe 2-3 strategies that have been effective for you in promoting your books (online, specifically)?
- Forming relationships online before your book comes out is essential. People who are familiar with your blog and like what you do are more likely to spread the word about your book and review it. Don’t expect people to simply buy your book by stating: “Buy my book.”
- YouTube videos are effective in promoting your books. I have done several interviews where I talk about my books, or read excerpts from my book, and one of them, “Expat Life in Belize” has received over 58,000 hits.
- Submitting your books for Awards, and winning some, is a great way to promote your books online. Both books have received Awards.
E-Lit Awards 2013 Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, received 1st Place, and a Gold Medal in the “Autobiography/Memoir” category of the 2012 E-lit Awards. It also received a Silver Medal, in the “Travel Essay” category of the E-lit Awards
My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, has been named a 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award Silver Honoree Winner, is a FINALIST at the 2014 International Book Awards, and WINNER at the 2014 Paris Book Festival.
I know you’ve spoken about getting people “out of their comfort zone,” and while this can have applications to many areas of life, I’m particularly interested in how it relates to entrepreneurship. What do you think it takes for someone to muster the “guts” to actually make the leap and execute their business idea? (In other words, what advice do you have for someone who is afraid to do this because they don’t want to leave their “comfort zone”?)
In general, writers prefer to sit at home and write. They often tend to be shy, and hope that their books will simply sell themselves. WRONG! As Joanna Penn stated, (and I saw your recent interview with her on your site Eric,) in her Google+ Hangout Interview with my friend Jason Matthews, you have to get out there and speak and promote your books. If you’re shy, “Get over it.” I agree with her, as no one knows your book better than you do and how is anyone going to hear about your work if you don’t promote it.
Even if you have the budget to hire a professional PR company, they still expect you to talk about your book on radio and TV interviews.
At the 2014 IBPA conference (Independent Book Publishers Association) presenters stated, Writers have no choice to opt out of social media. If you want to sell books, then you have to use social media. I am interviewing Angela Bole, Executive Director of IBPA on June 26th at 9 a.m. PST (California time.) It will be about indie publishing and learning what to do etc. You can listen LIVE here, or later on my YouTube Channel.
Finally, if you are truly shy, then social media can offer you ways to connect from your home.
- Offer contests on your website,
- Guest post and do written interviews on other sites
- Form those important relationships with other writers online
- Help promote others
- Share helpful articles with your readers
- Practice speaking in front of your camera and gradually become more confident
- Offer podcasts on your own site so fans can hear your voice
- Practice an interview with a close friend and get used to speaking
- Take a class on public speaking
- Attend writers’ conferences and network
- Attend a writers’ group and gradually get out of your comfort zone
Looking generally at becoming an entrepreneur: If you had to take your best advice or inspirational thought and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
Authors need to think of themselves as a brand, and their book as a product. [Click here to tweet this]
You can read the entire interview on Eric Gati’s the Daily Interview on June 24th.
So how do you define your own success as an author, or as an entrepreneur?
Watch my LIVE INTERVIEW with author Fee Johnson, on August 1st at 9 a.m. PST. It will be recorded as well. Do you have questions for her? Please send them to me at: Sonia@soniamarsh.com before August 1st. You can read her “My Gutsy Story” here.
We shall be discussing: While mental health issues are more freely discussed these days, it’s still difficult to approach someone who might have a problem. But ignoring it is not an option. With courage and great hope, Felicia Johnson deftly portrays the struggles of a girl with borderline personality disorder in Her (8th Street Publishing).
JOIN ME as I interview Felicia Johnson, author of the novel “Her”, about her work in mental health advocacy, journaling, writing and mentoring youth.
July 28th, “My Gutsy Story®” by RITA GARDNER