As a self-published author I have come to learn a great deal. I’ve learnt that you can’t just be a writer, that you need to be a marketer, your own publicist, cover designer, blurb writer, formatter and promoter. You can’t sit back and tap away at your keyboard writing the next bestseller without putting in a lot of hard graft and time, often on things you don’t really know anything about (marketing / promoting for me… actually pretty much all of it).
Gone is the view that I’d release a book and become an overnight success. That just ain’t going to happen! These past few months, since The Soul Guide has been released, my rose-coloured glasses have well and truly come off.
THIS SELF-PUBLISHING LARK IS BLOODY HARD WORK! It takes commitment, determination, a thick skin, pig-headedness and a little bit of crazy!
But, I’ve found that there are also loads of wonderful, supportive people out there (namely other self-published authors) who will do their best to help guide newbies like me through the brain-frazzling ride of becoming a ‘self-pubber’. These people will pick you up when you’re feeling down, throw you a lifeline when you think your book has finally slipped of the thirty-day cliff and generally give you lots of advice to help you keep on the right track. They will persuade you to keep going when all you want to do is jack it all in. Without these brilliant people I don’t think I’d still be here. I certainly didn’t think I could actually make any money out of it…. but after all the success stories I’ve seen and the discussions I’ve had with other authors, that doesn’t seem such a pipe dream now. I’m not expecting to make 100’s of thousands of pounds from my books, but being able to write for a living doesn’t seem a goal too far out of reach given the journeys of other authors who started out just like me.
To back this up, a group I am part of have a fun way to gauge their success. It’s a pretty fishy list (no pun intended) It’s simple really, as you sell more books (and make more money) you move up a level or evolve into… yes, you guessed it… a bigger fish. I’m a newbie, and therefore right at the bottom of the scale. In actual fact, I am a ‘plankton’.
Essentially the list goes like this: The goal being that you get the next level.
2 figures a month: plankton
3 figures a month: prawn (500+= lobster)
4 figures a month: trout (5000+= rainbow trout)
5 figures a month: salmon
5 figures over 50k: dolphin
6 figures a month: whale
6 figures over 250K: Kelpie
7 figures a month: Kraken
Believe it or not, there are a few Kraken’s out there in the self-published market. These guys know exactly what they are doing, and are doing it very successfully every month, over and over again. A few of them hang around some Facebook groups sharing their wisdom for free. On these occasions I try not to act like a groupie, and just sit quietly stalking them! Joke! Of course I don’t stalk, I just hang around in the background paying attentionm, scribbling furious notes in the hope that at some point I can put some of their wisdom into action.
All kidding aside, it’s quite useful to have such a list to aspire too. I’ve never wanted to become a prawn as much as I do right now!
Whilst getting to Kraken level would be the ultimate, frankly I’d be happy with a steady Trout! Getting to that point would mean I could do writing full-time.
Still, for now it’s baby steps or fishy swims…. Besides, I’ve always loved prawns.