Nine years later from part one, I started building a name for myself in the author community. The passion I had for creating something was always burning deep inside me. Hell, even today I still have that same fire. I didn’t start losing the strength to write until I ran into one person simply there to make money and ruin my name.
In May of 2015, I was working on a title classified in the epic fantasy genre. I wanted to be this long epic adventure because I was dwelling in the world of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”. I was obsessed with fantasy world and the world building process was my favorite part of the process. My passion for writing was burning again especially after a flop I had published four years before. It was all exciting at the time. I did author interviews and loaded up a new blog to represent my name and brand.
All of this was short lived though. In December of 2015, I ran into a woman that wanted to help me. She loved the book and even had her ten-year-old daughter read it. She blew up my head to the point where I thought I was the best damn thing since sliced bread. The only problem, it was another mask I didn’t see through until it was too late. We worked together for three months to promote my upcoming release. Like any debut novel, I was thrilled to finally be back in the writing community again.
Well, after sinking about $1,800 into her services, I noticed she was disappearing from the scene many times. Whenever I needed assistance with Facebook events or reaching out to blogs for blitzes, she was never there. Then, I found out she had an assistant working for her so I communicated with her to figure out what was going on. The assistant constantly assured me that things were working as planned, and even the PA at the time would call to tell me not to worry. We’d chat for a few hours about how well things are going. The only problem was, I didn’t realize how little we were actually doing.
A few weeks before the big day, I heard something from her that disturbed me. It hurt because I thought she was different. I thought she supported all indie authors and wanted to help us with the core of her being. Well, she told me “I only follow the money. I can’t waste my time with the authors that don’t pay me.” Alright, I totally understand where she was coming from, but I know writing is a tough industry to break into. Sometimes we need someone to have our backs through the rough patches in our road to the bestseller list.
When I was late on one of my weekly payments, she didn’t do anything for two to three days. Nothing was posted. No blogs were contacted for the release. It was literally stagnant. I paid her the fee for the week she worked a few days late, but she even told me she still charges for the days she doesn’t work. I ended up paying $100 that Tuesday, then another $100 two days later for only the few days she worked. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know people need to be paid for their work but to charge someone for days they didn’t work, yeah, I didn’t think that was right.
Hell, maybe I’m wrong for feeling this way, but here is what I discovered through this experience. When I reached the release day, I was told there were one hundred and eighty-three blogs that were going to post my book up. When I waited most of the day for posts to appear, I only saw two. I asked her to send me all the links to the blogs that posted. She sent me the same two I saw and made excuses about the others posting throughout the week. Did they ever post? Nope!
Well, when you dump about $1,800 into someone who acts like you’re going to be a number one bestseller for the first time, well it kind of fucking sucks. I’m sorry, through that campaign, I dropped $3,500 for everything for production and marketing. I’m still at a deficit of $3,200 for that book and I’ve come to terms with myself and know I will never make that money back. It was devastating for me because I had spent over a quarter of my retirement at the time to get this book off the ground.
It wasn’t long until I discovered after that I ended up firing her. I never asked for any of the money back because well, I try to be professional in all of my dealings. I don’t know exactly what happened throughout that campaign, but it killed me to know we didn’t get anywhere with it. The day I fired her, she messaged me and told me, “I wish I could take all the good I did for you away.”
I mean, I expected to hear that. I knew she was going to be pissed, but it was a life lesson that I will never forget. All of my lessons have been taught through experiences, and it’s the best way for any artist that’s striving to grow. It’s funny though because I look back now and laugh about it because now, my brand is growing and it’s stronger than it has ever been before. I had to change my genre and pen name, but what’s amazing is how much success I’m having now.
I’m not going to toot my own horn here, but if there’s any advice I can give to any artist out there, here it is:
Do not rely on anyone else to build your brand. You are the only one that can take your dreams to unfathomable heights. Never feel like you need someone else’s name to build yourself. Have confidence and remain humble. It’s the only way you’ll make it as an indie artist. You are the key to pulling the universe in your direction. Never let anyone make you think differently.