When I reflect back on the year that was 2016 there are several things that stand out…
I began the year nervously anticipating the publication of my first book, a book born from a concept that had been swimming around in my subconscious for many years. The impetus to finally put fingers to keyboard and attempt this journey called writing came about with the news that my corporate employer of twenty years was about to undergo a merger. I had no clue how to start, how to sort myself for success as an independent author. At this point, becoming a fulltime author was nothing but a dream.
The anxiety over not knowing if imminent dismissal was in the offing made me sit down and decide what I REALLY wanted to do with my life. Well, if I had been honest with myself, I would have acknowledged that I really wanted to write but that pesky red devil perched on my shoulder whispered “Of course you want to be an author, but that really won’t pay the bills, will it? Perhaps you should try this…” and off I ran to begin my real estate exams. Well, needless to say, my heart wasn’t in it and after studying hard for the first set, I ended up failing the first exam by two points…two lousy stinking marks.
It was decision time. Do I really want to be a real estate agent, if my day employment fails?
If so, it was time to pony up another $75.00 to rewrite the exam, with more studying and tests to come, then registration fees and advertising for new clients and a whole financial outlay to build a career…that I did not want.
Don’t get me wrong. I like to eat as well as the next person, and I have three mouths to feed in addition to mine on a daily basis. I also prefer to have lights and heat and a glass of wine now and then.
But, when I really stopped to think about it, when I put my mind to the puzzle and began to fully analyze what I was doing, I realized it was a knee jerk reaction to the prospect of being unemployed and not a true reality. While it was (and still is, two years later) a possibility, I realized I had time to plan, time to build, time to create the alternative I really wanted, and it wasn’t to be a real-estate agent.
I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write the books burning a hole in my gut, longing to be put into print. I wanted to write and write and write, until there were no more stories left.
Only one thing stood between me and my goal. Me. Not my employer, not my family, not my finances.
My children will all tell you, mom’s favourite quote is: PEOPLE SORT THEMSELVES.
This is a truth that I have striven to impress on my children. Every choice we make or don’t make, sorts us until we end up exactly where we chose to be!
By attempting to take the real estate course, I was sorting myself just as effectively as anyone else. I was allowing my fear of the future to side track what I really wanted to do, become a published author. Not just a published author, but a successful one. I wanted to earn a living doing what I love, writing. I wanted to create and enrich my corporation, not that of an outside third-party, which is what I have done for the last twenty-five years.
When we give into our fear, fear of the future, fear of failure, fear of what people might think…etc, etc….<insert your favorite action paralyzer> we allow our goals and our ambitions to be placed on a shelf to grow cold and stagnant, while chasing something that is unfulfilling and ultimately doomed to failure because our heart is not in it.
But when we grant ourselves permission to do what we truly want; when WE CHOOSE to not be sorted a particular direction, amazing things can happen. THIS CAN HAPPEN!
I made the decision, to scrap the real estate training and put my full might and energy behind learning all I could about my chosen career. I chose to let nothing stand in my way. I chose to spend the time and the money I would have spent on real estate courses and licensing and advertising to instead learn how to write and design and market. I chose to invest in me and my choice to become an author. I have never been happier to push myself in a career direction.
Here is a list of not everything, but at least the biggest things I have accomplished over the last two years:
- Wrote my first book, Seer of Souls
- Hired a friend to develop my website, register the domain and teach me the ins and outs of WordPress
- Began to blog (You can find my earliest blogs under the Story Seeds tab)
- Pitched and marketed my book to several publishers
- Landed a publishing contract with Booktrope
- Went through a fully professional editing process
- Went through a fully professional cover design process
- Went through a fully professional upload and publication process
- Grew my social media, creating a social media platform for social sharing and promotion (Author Facebook page 1,600 likes, Twitter 12,500 followers)
- Published Seer of Souls (February 2016)
- Wrote Soul Survivor (prequel novella)
- Lost publisher when they closed their doors May 2016 and reverted to full indie in September 2016
- Ordered 50 of my own ISBN’s to begin self publication process
- Bought into the Self Publishing Formula Facebook Ads for Authors (Mark Dawson’s course) May 2016
- Bought into the Selling For Authors course of Bryan Cohen’s to improve my pitch and copy writing skill set
- Learned how to set up formatted copy via Draft 2 Digital
- Learned the joys and terrors of Createspace, to create a paperback copy
- Learned the joys and terrors of Kobo Writing Life and publishing via their platform
- Discovered the joys of Instafreebie and created my first lead magnet for mailing list growth (Soul Survivor) my prequel novella
- Bought into Jeff Goins blogging course to improve my website blogging abilities
- Bought the Book Targeter App to assist with review request searches with recognized bloggers
- Published Soul Survivor (July 2016)
- Wrote Soul Sanctuary and repeated the book creation process, this time as a full indie author (January 27, 2017 publication date)
- Began push to increase mailing list, September 1st, 750 subscribers.
- Bought the KD Sales machine coaching, to learn how to effectively create Amazon ad copy and how to bid
- 90% through the writing of the final book in the Spirit Shield Saga, entitled Soul Sacrifice
- And …sitting at the cusp of 2017, I should reach my target of 10,000 email subscribers.
I look back at all that and I am shocked to see how much I have tackled in two very short years.
Yes I have spent money on this journey and no, not all of it has been profitable. But it has educated me in the ins and outs of being an independent author. I have listened to those who are accomplishing everything I desire to be and studying how they have done it. Everything I have done has made me a stronger writer and a more savvy business woman as I prepare to take this to the next level.
So, in the spirit of New Years resolutions, here are my goals for 2017:
- Publish Soul Sanctuary (January 27, 2017 – now available for preorder)
- Publish Soul Sacrifice (May 2017)
- Publish my first ever box set (June 2017)
- Write my next series of 3-4 book series (My goal is one full series every year)
- Tackle Lightning Source and learn to put together hard cover books and add to my sales platform
- Explore audio book creators
- Refine my Facebook Ads abilities
- Refine my Amazon Ads abilities
- Ramp up my sales using the tools above and others.
- Explore Rafflecopter for continued mailing list growth
- Promote a group boxset that Seer of Souls will be part of, that is making a push for the NY Times bestseller list
- Other opportunities as they present themselves (and believe me I will find them)
- Take that final step towards launching my full-time career as an indie author.
And you know what is most surprising out of all of this? I have not lost the day job…not yet. I am actually wishing they would lay me off, because it is now getting in the way of what I REALLY WANT TO BE, WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO!
And what is that? I intend to be
A FULL TIME, INDEPENDENT, NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR.
That is my goal.
What are yours for 2017? Do you believe in them?
I do. I choose to sort myself into this mold.
I am finding it fits very, very well.
Merry Christmas to you and yours and I wish you a happy, prosperous, and successful 2017.