I'm pretty excited today. I was really excited last night. Mainly because I sat down and did the actual math.
A year ago, I had a really strong feeling that I needed to quit teaching orchestra at an elementary school (contracted position) so I could focus solely on writing/Indie publishing.
It's only been 11 months since quitting that job, and already, I'm making more off of royalties than I made teaching orchestra.
Not only that, but my royalties exceed what I made teaching both orchestra and private lessons. And I'm not a cheap teacher. :-)
All I can say to this is WOW, and that I feel so very blessed! What an exciting, liberating, and thrilling time it is to be an author!
I post this as a way to encourage other Indie authors. I'm not huge or best selling, but I don't need to be, and neither do you to feel successful and to make a living - even if it is a meager one.
As Karen McQuestion said in a recent post on the new Kirkus Reviews Self-Pubishing Blog, "I was one of the first, but many other authors have gone the
self-published e-book route and had the same kind of results—some even
better! It’s a good time to be a writer, maybe the best time in the
history of the world. Three years ago my books were rejected. Now,
they’re being read and I get to write novels for a living. It doesn’t
get much better than that."
How is that for a nice warm fuzzy? :-)
And a really awesome quote from Mark Coker over on the Smashwords blog, talking about multiple best selling Indie authors hitting the NYT Bestselling list this week:
"Maybe tomorrow's bestseller is languishing on an undiscovered
writer's computer, still waiting for a publisher to give it a chance. Maybe that writer will now realize they don't need the blessing of a
publisher to become a published author, or to reach readers. Maybe
they'll realize that the tools to publish and distribute a book are
available at no cost, and the knowledge to professionally publish is
available for the taking.
"It just takes effort.
"Give your book a chance. Get it out now. If you're exceptionally
talented and work your butt off, then lightning might strike for you
too. Or, if you're like most authors, you'll find the journey of
self-publishing is reward enough, even if you don't make the New York
Times bestseller list."
All right. Let's talk about what Mr. Coker is saying.
"It just takes effort," and "work your butt off"
Self-publishing IS NOT easy. Nothing worth achieving in life is - we've all heard that before, so don't be surprised to find out that it applies to this line of work as well. There are so many things to learn and understand, and so many avenues authors must use. If you aren't willing to make sacrifices, you won't succeed or achieve your goals.
Take your work seriously. Don't upload or make books public that haven't been edited and don't have professional covers. Give people a good impression. Help them feel confident that their investment - even if only $2.99 - is worth it.
Speaking of professionalism, Joe Konrath said, "Just because it's easier than ever before to reach an audience doesn't mean you should. Luck still plays a part in success. But so does professionalism. Being
a professional means you won't inflict your crappy writing on the public."
He also said that being a professional includes being prolific and providing readers with multiple things to read, in every avenue possible (Smashwords, Kindle, Nook, etc.). And then he says that if, after doing all this, your sales aren't where you want them to be, you need to take a hard look at the writing itself. Did you have it read by multiple people/beta readers/editors before publishing? Is the writing actually good? Are you doing your best to progress? To give your readers something better each time you put up new work? If not, fix it.
Mark Coker said, "If you're exceptionally talented and you work your butt off, then lightning might strike for you too."
As with nearly any other field, inborn talent isn't always a requirement. Sometimes, working really hard, learning everything possible, practicing all the time, and listening to criticism from other people will actually get you farther than someone who was born with the talent to be a good writer.
And to those of you who complain about how much money self-publishing costs, you need to realize this isn't a get-rich quick scheme. You can't just expect to upload a badly-written book and start making money without actually sacrificing something. It's a business, and whoever heard of a business that didn't require an initial, upfront investment of the financial sort? Someone somewhere has to put money into the project. And you can bet you're going to be that person.
Here's another "blunt" quote from Joe Konrath (same link as above):
"A sacrifice involves choosing
one thing over another. If you can't devote the time, energy, and money it takes to pursue this career, go do something else."
Something my husband and I have found, especially when it comes to the financial aspect of things: where there's a will, there's a way. Things have always worked out. We make the goals, work as hard as we can, and things fall into place.
The extra money we've needed has come along when we needed it. Perhaps this is due to the sacrifices we've made. In the beginning, and before we started, we set money aside every month. We still sacrifice going out to eat, going to the movies, buying toys and books and ice cream and even traveling to some family things to save on gas.
But I can tell you now, it is worth it. This is important to us and we made it a priority.
And it's paying us back. Things are still tight, but I can actually say I'm getting paid to do what I love.
What a great time to be alive!
A bit about the book signing (book launch for August Fortress) tonight:
It's official! The Molg (creature from my book) figurine/miniature will be on display!! We'll also have illustrations for you to look at and keys to sell along with my books. I'm so very excited! See you there. :-) (Click on the link above for details about the book signing.)