I don’t get it. Why do authors get jealous or envious of other authors? It’s like we sit there and watch these author names grow and their fanbases get stronger everyday. Sometimes we even sit there and post these salty posts with the “woe-is-me” bullshit. Here is the thing, YOU’RE NOT FUCKING ENTITLED TO ANYTHING. I think I need to repeat that… YOU’RE NOT FUCKING ENTITLED TO ANYTHING. Phew, okay I think I feel better now.
If you watch these authors grow from the beginning, you’ll realize it takes a lot of work. Hell, there’s some days where I even sit here and go, “How do I get ahead? How will I be able to grow as an author?” Well, here’s the simple formula: Be a good person. Treat people like human beings and not another number on your sales goals. I talk to authors at least once or twice a week about my marketing strategies and how my name is growing. I’m not claiming that I’m popular by any means, I’m just saying it has taken me a lot of work just to build the fan base I have right now. What sacrifices did I personally have to make to get there though? Well let me just list them out because some of them are major leaps of faith that have scared the living shit out of me this year.
I shoved about 10% of my wages a week into mutual funds and 401ks for six and a half years before I decided to even attempt to start this venture. I knew I needed to have money to be able to start publishing and advertising my books for people to see, so I worked in a grocery store and moved up in the ranks to save $20,000 to be able to start my own business and get my books rolling.
I quit my job for my dream. I don’t suggest this to anyone because everyone’s situation is different from mine. I’m young so I had the opportunity to do this. Yes, it was risky to do, but I wanted more from my writing and I wanted to focus on my dream. Do I regret the decision? Nope. Not at all. Although things are slow and sales aren’t that great, I can see the growth and I’m happy to say each release has it’s own success whether it’s sales or attention.
I write like there’s no tomorrow. What I mean by this is instead of watching television, hanging out with friends, or hanging out on Facebook for drama or stupid reasons, I actually put my writing where my mouth is. I give myself word count goals everyday and remain disciplined and determined to hit those goals at any cost, even on those days where I don’t write I still try to at least throw something up on my blog.
Here’s the thing, although I’ve sacrificed a wage and my social life, it was something I needed to do this year to push for this. I write and market my books full time, and I do different strategies that not many quite understand. I don’t know if it’s simply because they’re so focused on money and themselves to the point where they just block out everyone else, but this is a business. Treat people the way you want to be treated and you will grow! Do you really think anyone is going to pick up your book if you don’t talk to people? Yeah, it’s simple to post and share, but do you really talk to people?
I said something a few months ago, “Market like you’re playing Final Fantasy.” Yeah, some people may not have understood what I meant by that, but I’m about to tell you. In any game, we are whisked away on a quest where we have to achieve certain tasks and help certain people in the world to be awarded with upgrades, armor, or extended XP. Well, why can’t authors use that in their own marketing strategy? When you rub someone else’s back whether it’s reviewing their book, reading their book, or simply posting about their work on your social media page, sometimes there are rewards for generous acts. For me, it comes down to being humble and boosting someone else up before I do it for myself. You have to remember, your name is still important. Promote the ones that really have left a mark on you. Don’t just blast post random people without reading their work or understanding who they are.
I use to run a blog where I interviewed multiple authors without reading any of their work first. Well, what happened was I lost a lot of respected readers and writers because they read the work and were dissatisfied. They weren’t happy with the authors I was promoting because the writing didn’t spark their interest or it wasn’t as great as I had made it out to be. So I had to restructure the blog and rethink why I’m in the indie world.
Why the concept of “authors are only in it for the money” is stupid? Alright, first of all some authors write full time and pump out books every month. Yes, some may hit a rut where their writing may become stale and it may upset readers. Here’s the thing though, authors like me have sometimes sacrificed steady income to let their voices and stories be read and heard. I mean, when you go to work everyday, don’t you have to work for the money to take care of the family? I understand there has to be a certain love for the craft to get to the point of bringing in enough money to take care of an author’s family but to judge an author because they are making bank on their books is ridiculous. (Honestly, many of us aren’t though.) The ones that do though, you have to look at their marketing strategies, the people they talk to, the blogs they are friends with, and see their roots. I know many of those big names now had to start somewhere.
Why are authors jealous of others? Why do some authors feel they need to ban books or smear their peers to push them further into the industry? I mean, I really don’t know. I watch many of these other genres say some very sick and crude things to authors that have found their market. Hell, if you have found what works for you, why wouldn’t you continue to publish in that genre? Once you find your voice, you run with it and see what happens. You don’t sit there and continuously do the same errors that didn’t work before. You continue to write in the voice that resonates with the audience you’ve built. The simple thing authors need to remember is focus on your writing and your own fan base. Don’t try to belittle someone else because their sales or attention is growing faster than yours. What you need to do is look in the mirror and examine your own strategy? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I’ve met many authors that don’t understand why their sales are stagnant yet they can’t even send a fucking book to a reader as soon as it’s ordered. This is why we charge for the books to cover all the costs. I know I make mistakes, but I try to follow up with my readers when life or shit hits the fan. Hell, I had one recently where I had a reader contact me because her books didn’t get sent two and a half months ago. Yeah, I felt extremely shitty and sent them that day and offered her a refund on the books. I didn’t argue or lie to try to cover up the fact that I fucked up. I even told her it was my mistake and that I’m extremely sorry.
A tamed situation is much better than one that gets blasted everywhere because an author simply ignores their readers. Want to know why these big names are successful? Well, they follow through with their promises. They don’t make fucking excuses. It’s the key to building your name. Your name and word is all you have, once it’s diminished it takes a lot of time and effort to rebuild it.
Anyways remember just be you and do your thing, don’t let anyone else affect you. One day you’ll hit that one book or series that will bring in an audience, but would you rather have people support you during that time, or talk about how shitty you were to them when you were struggling? I think it’s a question every author has to ask themselves before they can truly grow as a brand.