The Entrepreneur Forum | Financial Freedom | Starting a Business | Motivation | Money | Success

Welcome to the only entrepreneur forum dedicated to building life-changing wealth.

Build a Fastlane business. Earn real financial freedom. Join free.

Join over 90,000 entrepreneurs who have rejected the paradigm of mediocrity and said "NO!" to underpaid jobs, ascetic frugality, and suffocating savings rituals— learn how to build a Fastlane business that pays both freedom and lifestyle affluence.

Free registration at the forum removes this block.

From Zero to Six-Figure Author: Lessons Along the Way

Frosting

Expansion
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
181%
Nov 14, 2017
47
85
edited for privacy :)

If you're reading this and you're interested in self-pubbing, I'd say: (1) pick a genre you enjoy. I know this is unconventional, but enjoyment shows through your writing. You can profit in any genre if you're good at it, unless the genre is completely obscure or uber-competitive. (Yes, there are exceptions to the rule - eg, I wouldn't enter romance today because of the competition, but you can make seeeerious money if you're talented+driven.) (2) Focus on quality. Quality, quality, quality. You won't go anywhere without readers who love you.

I don’t normally post on forums (time suck) but I can sense that this place is different. I’m happy to be here.

TLDR: hi everyone, I made a bunch of mistakes, I hope you can learn from them.
 
Dislike ads? Remove them and support the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.
Last edited:

AnAverageJoe

remember that you will die
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
292%
Feb 4, 2017
159
465
NMBSC
Welcome! Glad to see another self publisher. I just stumbled onto the world of self publishing days ago, but I really want to try it out.

Like you said, it's not exactly fastlane and you have to write a lot, but I've always enjoyed writing and think I need to give it a shot.

If you had to start from zero today with no rabid fan base and with the market the way it is, do you think you'd still do it?

Can't wait to see your progress thread if you choose to make one. I hope you get that house soon! :smile2:
 

Frosting

Expansion
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
181%
Nov 14, 2017
47
85
If you had to start from zero today with no rabid fan base and with the market the way it is, do you think you'd still do it?

I'd definitely still self-publish. For instance, if I had to start from scratch tomorrow, I'd do a new pen name and just go for it.

Here's some more tips from my perspective for self-publishing, assuming you're starting from scratch:
1. Output like crazy. When I first got into romance, I was publishing one 30k book per week. This includes plotting, finding images for covers (I was too broke to hire a designer who'd find images themselves or knew the romance genre well enough to pick the right images), editing, etc. You need to COMMIT big time.
2. Know your genre inside-out. This is where interest comes handy.
3. Understand your demographic. In my current genre, I committed a few grave mistakes early on and alienated potential readers. Find out who's going to be reading your books and cater to them.
4. Improve your writing skills. Early on, I read every book on writing that I could get my hands on, I attended online writing workshops, etc.
5. Be willing to pay for great help - I think part of my early success happened because I got the best covers, editing, proofing, etc that I could afford.
6. Covers will make you or break you.
7. Blurbs are also important. Especially if you're new. I've seen established authors just have a one-line blurb, and they get away with it, but that's not you and me. Early on, I paid for blurb help, and I found it worth it.
8. Get help whenever you can. There are lots of services these days that weren't available when I started. Having a team to support you is very helpful.
9. Know the pricing in your genre and don't be afraid to price high. I'm not sure what pricing conventions are in other genres, but I consistently price on the high end.

Of course, some of the tips probably won't apply if you write non-fiction. I was initially scared of writing fiction because I'd never done that before, but I took the plunge in a genre I hated (romance) thanks to the dangling carrot of moolah. I know a few non-fic authors are killing it, but most of the huge successes you hear of are fiction writers, so I'd personally recommend fiction over non-fiction, just based on probabilities.
 

AnAverageJoe

remember that you will die
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
292%
Feb 4, 2017
159
465
NMBSC

JamesDB

Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
192%
Jan 10, 2017
25
48
everywhere
Welcome! :)

Congratulations to your success, well done, especially for overcoming your fears and just doing it!

Did you do any kind of marketing, or how did the customers find you?
 

Frosting

Expansion
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
181%
Nov 14, 2017
47
85
Welcome! :)

Congratulations to your success, well done, especially for overcoming your fears and just doing it!

Did you do any kind of marketing, or how did the customers find you?

Thanks!

Regarding marketing, at the time, free/permafree did ok for attracting new readers and getting them hooked on a series. I missed the heyday of free promos, though. I set the first book in my current (non romance) series free sometimes, but I don't know what effect that has on attracting new readers.

When I started, there weren't too many good newsletters that would accept shorter works. I promoted my romance novellas in a small newsletter that I think has since gone bust. I didn't run any other ads.

With my current genre series, I do the occasional Bookbub ad, a newsletter ad once in a while (though I'm not sure they're worth it for this series/genre), and AMS ads which feel like tossing money into the ocean. My plan is to learn FB ads soon. I've been accepted by Bookbub a few times, which used to help a lot. However, I had a Bookbub newsletter mention on a freebie a few days ago, and I haven't seen any sales uptick from that yet.

I think marketing is important, and a key piece of the puzzle. But writing more and catering to your genre's needs trumps all - my success in romance (which I kind of sucked at, in retrospect) came mostly from writing a lot, consistently.
 

Shepherd

Bronze Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
363%
Jul 10, 2017
103
374
47
Thanks!

Regarding marketing, at the time, free/permafree did ok for attracting new readers and getting them hooked on a series. I missed the heyday of free promos, though. I set the first book in my current (non romance) series free sometimes, but I don't know what effect that has on attracting new readers.

When I started, there weren't too many good newsletters that would accept shorter works. I promoted my romance novellas in a small newsletter that I think has since gone bust. I didn't run any other ads.

With my current genre series, I do the occasional Bookbub ad, a newsletter ad once in a while (though I'm not sure they're worth it for this series/genre), and AMS ads which feel like tossing money into the ocean. My plan is to learn FB ads soon. I've been accepted by Bookbub a few times, which used to help a lot. However, I had a Bookbub newsletter mention on a freebie a few days ago, and I haven't seen any sales uptick from that yet.

I think marketing is important, and a key piece of the puzzle. But writing more and catering to your genre's needs trumps all - my success in romance (which I kind of sucked at, in retrospect) came mostly from writing a lot, consistently.

This is very inspirational and I thank you for posting.

One caution as a parent who has been doing it a while and made plenty of mistakes. Be mindful of what you define as "best" for your son. I see parents all the time who get caught up in that and forget that connecting with your kids and having time to spend with them is the best thing you can give them.
 
Dislike ads? Remove them and support the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
Staff member
FASTLANE INSIDER
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
448%
Jul 23, 2007
38,441
172,186
Utah
Great introduction, nice to see another self-pubber having success, not in the money-churn, but in writing stuff that is valuable and people want.

Welcome aboard.
 

Chazmania

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
174%
May 23, 2013
465
811
USA
Hello and welcome!

Thanks for sharing your story and advice. Great intro!
 

Frosting

Expansion
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
181%
Nov 14, 2017
47
85
Great introduction, nice to see another self-pubber having success, not in the money-churn, but in writing stuff that is valuable and people want.

Welcome aboard.
Thanks for commenting on my intro thread :) I'm really excited to have found this community.

Yes, too many people get caught up by the money potential of self-pubbing. I love what you said in your book, to focus on value first.

The same applies to writing: newbies need to focus on trying to create something readers will value, instead of churning out something that will make money. Churning out money-making content might work in the short run (eg you might make 1k one off) but the really successful (fiction) writers I know focus on creating something that readers will love, and in turn, this brings them a high, sustainable income. I'm not quite at that level yet, but I hope to create better and better products as time goes by.
 
Dislike ads? Remove them and support the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

Zhukovic

Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
485%
Jul 1, 2017
13
63
29
The Libraries of the World
Thanks CreatingValue, appreciate the intro. I was looking for a post exactly like your's, especially since some of the other posts here in this forum are more about non-fiction writing and some are a few years ago...

I'm a freelance writer myself and wanted to make the switch into self-publishing. I've found a good niche area within a major market (sub-category of Mystery, Thriller, Suspect) that has a good number of sales in relation to the competition, and I have been researching on some ways to market my book.

My problem is in actually writing it out, more specifically the outlining/plotting part of it. Figuring out the plot twists/mysteries is the hard-part for me, not to mention most books in my sub-topic are around 300-400 pages long - more time investment per book.

I was thinking about giving romance a shot simply because as you said you can make good money in their, but your advise (coupled with the fact I hate romance) dissuaded me.

This is definitely a thread I'll be watching in the future, look forward to your updates.
 

Frosting

Expansion
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
181%
Nov 14, 2017
47
85
Thanks CreatingValue, appreciate the intro. I was looking for a post exactly like your's, especially since some of the other posts here in this forum are more about non-fiction writing and some are a few years ago...

I'm a freelance writer myself and wanted to make the switch into self-publishing. I've found a good niche area within a major market (sub-category of Mystery, Thriller, Suspect) that has a good number of sales in relation to the competition, and I have been researching on some ways to market my book.

My problem is in actually writing it out, more specifically the outlining/plotting part of it. Figuring out the plot twists/mysteries is the hard-part for me, not to mention most books in my sub-topic are around 300-400 pages long - more time investment per book.

I was thinking about giving romance a shot simply because as you said you can make good money in their, but your advise (coupled with the fact I hate romance) dissuaded me.

This is definitely a thread I'll be watching in the future, look forward to your updates.
Good luck with whatever you decide! You need a number of factors to align for success in romance.

Do you like the mystery subcat you're looking into? ie, do you like reading in that genre? My current bestselling series actually merges a couple of subgenres, and I've found that a couple of recent (space opera, etc) bestsellers do similar. So it's good to know what readers are looking for, what they like, etc.

300-400 pages seems quite long. But in some genres, that's what readers are looking for, and will absolutely crucify any book that's "too short" according to them. In my current genre, length varies widely. Longer books tend to do better over time, but there's a bare minimum length that seems acceptable to readers.

Plotting comes with practice - plotting is something that takes me time, too, but I'm getting better at it the more I do it. I've seen some books that have to do with plotting, and writing mysteries, thrillers, etc, so you might want to check them out.
 

Frosting

Expansion
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
181%
Nov 14, 2017
47
85
Wow, it's been almost a year since I've been on the forums! I think I might renew my INSIDERS pass while I'm at it :)

It's been a wonderful year for me, touch wood. I look forward to sharing my updates and lessons learned.

I'm hoping to expand my direction, plus maybe start a new (complimentary to one side of my current business) app business.
 
Dislike ads? Remove them and support the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
Staff member
FASTLANE INSIDER
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
448%
Jul 23, 2007
38,441
172,186
Utah
It's been a wonderful year for me, touch wood

Congrats, do please share!

Have you taken any hits with the Amazon changes? Namely, the ACX bounty removal?
 

Frosting

Expansion
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
User Power
Value/Post Ratio
181%
Nov 14, 2017
47
85
Congrats, do please share!

Have you taken any hits with the Amazon changes? Namely, the ACX bounty removal?

Nope, I've been fortunate... if anything, my profit has taken a significant upturn *knock wood*
There are few reasons for this, which I'll share when I've got a moment.

At the moment though, my brain's buzzing with a potential idea that compels me (not kindle), so I'm using all my free (non kindle) time to work on that!
 

Post New Topic

Please SEARCH before posting.
Please select the BEST category.

Post new topic

Guest post submissions offered HERE.

New Topics

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top