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Flight of the Tarantula Hawk
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On the IndieReader Best Book list and featured on NBC's Daytime Show, the second book in the Lance Underphal Mystery series is part of a new breed of supernatural thrillers which can be read and enjoyed in any order. Dark, different, featuring a damaged psychic, this is one of those disturbing novels that keeps you guessing.

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Supernatural Murder Mystery - Realtor Carla Simon has her first showing in nearly eighteen months. Recovering from a nervous breakdown, she arrives at the bank-owned foreclosure well ahead of her prospect. When her buyer pins her against the wall, it turns out to be the last house she'll ever show.

Looking for a new breed of supernatural thrillers? Paranormal mysteries of murder and suspense? Perhaps a psychic detective series which can be read and enjoyed in any order? Or maybe one of t...

Author Topic: What makes a 100k author?  (Read 62200 times)  

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #150 on: June 13, 2017, 10:03:20 AM »

Talent just isn't enough, which I think has been a constant in this discussion.

I think talent is essential for long-term, evergreen success (having a few books sticking at enviable ranks year-round, sustained by some form of minimal marketing and/or a somewhat regular publishing schedule). To me, that's winning the big prize in a writing career.

Writing talent/storytelling appears less of a requirement for a few of the treadmill publishers in several best-selling genres. I'm not dinging those authors. Many of them are to be admired for their marketing savvy and ability to spot trends and profit from them. They may yearn for the perfect turn of phrase like any other writer, but put that yearning aside when their cash flow deems it necessary and their audience doesn't really care one way or the other.

Hitting the $100k may not be in reach for those writing in the less popular genres or pursuing a more "literary" career that disdains  "writing to market" (I don't). But there's no reason why they can't have "One Pen For The Money, Another Pen For Show". A talented writer could do both without damaging their integrity. For some, it might be their only road to $100k, and there's no shame in that.


Offline Robert A Michael

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #151 on: June 13, 2017, 10:35:25 AM »
I feel ya. I had some serious early success in romance, then started spinning my wheels and never stopped. Romance is a brutal, brutal genre just because it's so saturated. So, don't beat yourself up! And, as Perry Constantine shows, all it takes is one hit. Eh, no, strike that - I had two series hit, and then went into the toilet.

Actually, this biz is more like a rollercoaster. And it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

Hang in there!

You nailed it. Thanks for expressing just how I feel.

I'm a decent writer. I want what "X" has. Why can't I have it? Waa! Poor me. It's when this bad attitude permeates my work (or lack of it) that I allow my circumstances or my envy to hold my own potential success hostage. The stuff about narcissism and doubt is spot-on.

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Offline Anarchist

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #152 on: June 13, 2017, 10:46:53 AM »
Talent just isn't enough...

This reminds me of an interview I heard years ago with Eddie Van Halen. He noted there were 15-year-olds sitting in their bedrooms who could blow him away on guitar. But most of them would never become famous. They didn't have what it takes to get on stage and be a showman.

That's how I see being a commercially successful author. Writing chops are a prerequisite. They get you a spot on the bench, but don't guarantee you'll get time on the court.
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Offline VincentZandri

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #153 on: June 13, 2017, 10:51:32 AM »
I'm more or less a 100ker as described in the article. And a hybrid at that. I was surprised to find how much I fit the bill of the full-timer, who writes a whole lot of words and who pays to market aggressively. But I do find that the 100K is an average. Some years I make more, others less. Because of this article, I actually made a count of how many full-length indie novels I have for sale (not including novellas, shorts, or boxed sets), and I only have ten which jives entirely with the math. I can see now that 20-30 indie novels will be the sweet spot for me. Meaning, I look forward to the day when I'm earning 100K just on my indie books alone. The payments from the publishers will then be gravy.
Vin

Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #154 on: June 13, 2017, 10:52:33 AM »
This reminds me of an interview I heard years ago with Eddie Van Halen. He noted there were 15-year-olds sitting in their bedrooms who could blow him away on guitar. But most of them would never become famous. They didn't have what it takes to get on stage and be a showman.

That's how I see being a commercially successful author. Writing chops are a prerequisite. They get you a spot on the bench, but don't guarantee you'll get time on the court.

That's not really talent, though, is it? I've seen some folks who can act their ass off and do great at auditions, but utterly stink up the joint once they're on stage. I think that's more a confidence thing.

More than talent, I think a writer wanting a career out of writing needs to be persistent, patient, and be willing to constantly learn. Self-confidence doesn't hurt, either. No one owes us a living from writing. We have to each go and get it.

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #155 on: June 13, 2017, 10:58:51 AM »

Writing talent/storytelling appears less of a requirement for a few of the treadmill publishers in several best-selling genres.

Damn, that's one of the best subtle insults I've seen yet.

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #156 on: June 13, 2017, 11:08:52 AM »
Damn, that's one of the best subtle insults I've seen yet.

Though it's really not meant as one. It takes skill to sense the market pulse just right and know, regardless of ability, exactly what degree of your talent to employ. I console myself by thinking even Shakespeare knew when to reel himself in.


Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #157 on: June 13, 2017, 11:31:20 AM »
Though it's really not meant as one. It takes skill to sense the market pulse just right and know, regardless of ability, exactly what degree of your talent to employ. I console myself by thinking even Shakespeare knew when to reel himself in.

"Titus Andronicus" notwithstanding, though I guess he was writing to market with that one. :D

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #158 on: June 13, 2017, 11:42:21 AM »
This reminds me of a story. it's not meant to contradict anything above, it's just something I was reminded of. I only ever took one creative writing course, in college, as an undergrad. This came after multiple playwriting classes and a non-fiction class. The feedback I got from the instructor (not a professor: someone with a masters in creative) was consistently of the 'this is bad writing i don't like it' variety, and I was getting increasingly frustrated because I flat-out did not agree with her opinion of my work. So in a one-on-one, after more back-and-forth, she said maybe I just wasn't cut out to be a writer.

At that point, I suggested she walk by the theater, because they had a poster on the wall with my name on it. I was the first student writer to have a play produced by the school's dramatic society in the history of the dramatic society, and it was in production as we spoke.

I think that the vast, vast majority of the time, if someone, many someones or the market itself says to a writer that they aren't doing something well, they need to listen. But sometimes, the person telling us this is wrong. The biggest challenge is figuring out when our egos are right about something.

Oh, there are definitely bad teachers out there. You can see it from the inside, and you hear about it from students, too. It's terrible luck to get one of them. I bet the sort of experience you had crops up the most in creative writing, where tastes can differ so widely. If you let yourself get locked blindly into your own tastes, you won't teach well.

Offline Shelley K

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #159 on: June 13, 2017, 12:23:36 PM »
Some people can write a story with a good structure and all the right elements in place without having to work very hard at it. Are they talented? What does that mean? That person probably read so many stories they learned the structure without having to sit down and work at it. Some people take easily to an instrument and can do things earlier and better than others. Is that talent? It's an inherent natural understanding of something and ability to do it. Talent's a crummy word for it.

Someone who stands at six feet is never told they're much more talented than short people. They just naturally grew taller. The person has no control over the things that occur without their trying, which includes the ability to to do something they haven't worked hard at.

Give me somebody for whom a skill doesn't come naturally who loves it and is willing to put in the time to learn, and that person is going to blow the talented one out of the water almost every time. Drive and determination are far more important than having a skill come easy. Far more.


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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #160 on: June 13, 2017, 12:45:16 PM »
Some people can write a story with a good structure and all the right elements in place without having to work very hard at it. Are they talented? What does that mean? That person probably read so many stories they learned the structure without having to sit down and work at it. Some people take easily to an instrument and can do things earlier and better than others. Is that talent? It's an inherent natural understanding of something and ability to do it. Talent's a crummy word for it.

Someone who stands at six feet is never told they're much more talented than short people. They just naturally grew taller. The person has no control over the things that occur without their trying, which includes the ability to to do something they haven't worked hard at.

Give me somebody for whom a skill doesn't come naturally who loves it and is willing to put in the time to learn, and that person is going to blow the talented one out of the water almost every time. Drive and determination are far more important than having a skill come easy. Far more.


It comes easily to me. But I don't get blown out of the water that much. Anybody can have drive and determination. Including a person to whom a skill comes easily.

Some people write way faster than I do and hustle more, yeah. I'm not the bestest evah in either talent or push. But I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive. And I disagree that the person with not much talent but huge drive will do better in this job, actually. I know lots of writers putting out a book a month and promoting like crazy who do ok but not great. To do great, you probably do need the X factor.

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #161 on: June 13, 2017, 12:53:35 PM »
The concept of luck was bandied about earlier in this thread, and in others, for that matter. I'm a former professional poker player and I can easily say that when you have a group of people engaged in a similar pursuit, all chasing a common goal, then luck will invariably visit each of them in more or less equal doses. Lady Luck doesn't care whose shoulder she's sitting on now, but it's a certainty she will quickly move on. In writing, as in poker, what makes the difference between success and lack of success is skill, hard work, and constant learning.

Over the years, you've heard the stories. They all have the same ring to them. Someone puts their first book out and within two or three months, they're selling 20,000 copies a month. They claim to have done no marketing of any kind. They just tossed the book out into the boundless Amazon Sea, crossed their fingers, and poof! Riches flowed in.

It doesn't really work that way. Some concerted effort had to be made to put a debut novel from an unknown author in front of that many people to sell 20,000 copies in one month so quickly. What passes for luck is really something else.

There's a saying in poker that applies nicely to writing: the harder I work, the "luckier" I get.

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Offline Shelley K

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #162 on: June 13, 2017, 12:54:49 PM »
It comes easily to me. But I don't get blown out of the water that much. Anybody can have drive and determination. Including a person to whom a skill comes easily.

I was talking about talent alone vs someone not as talented but determined to learn. You also apparently have drive to go with your skills or you wouldn't be writing and publishing regularly, Rosalind. But you illustrate my point. You're one of the few writers I'm aware of who wrote a book and had success. Most write a lot before they break out, because they had to learn talent. Too many inherently "talented" people don't do what it takes, because when something comes easy, they often assume everything should.

Quote
And I disagree that the person with not much talent but huge drive will do better in this job, actually. I know lots of writers putting out a book a month and promoting like crazy who do ok but not great. To do great, you probably do need the X factor.

"Not much talent" doesn't mean much unless you're talking about someone who can't learn to write no matter what, and I think that's pretty rare. Someone inherently able to do it doesn't have that much of an advantage over someone who works hard at learning to write, in the end. Sometimes the hard worker gets far better than someone deemed naturally talented, because they strive to get better all the time and many talented people rest on their laurels. "Talent," for the most part, can be taught. I don't know whether some X factor can be, but I'm not really a big believer in it in the first place.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 01:04:22 PM by Shelley K »

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #163 on: June 13, 2017, 01:09:53 PM »
The concept of luck was bandied about earlier in this thread, and in others, for that matter. I'm a former professional poker player and I can easily say that when you have a group of people engaged in a similar pursuit, all chasing a common goal, then luck will invariably visit each of them in more or less equal doses. Lady Luck doesn't care whose shoulder she's sitting on now, but it's a certainty she will quickly move on. In writing, as in poker, what makes the difference between success and lack of success is skill, hard work, and constant learning.

Over the years, you've heard the stories. They all have the same ring to them. Someone puts their first book out and within two or three months, they're selling 20,000 copies a month. They claim to have done no marketing of any kind. They just tossed the book out into the boundless Amazon Sea, crossed their fingers, and poof! Riches flowed in.

It doesn't really work that way. Some concerted effort had to be made to put a debut novel from an unknown author in front of that many people to sell 20,000 copies in one month so quickly. What passes for luck is really something else.

There's a saying in poker that applies nicely to writing: the harder I work, the "luckier" I get.
Yeah, it actually does work that way. Or it can. OK, it's not luck. It's a hooky concept, a hooky cover, a hooky title, a hooky blurb, and most of all, a hooky book that generates word of mouth.

I wrote my first book at age 50+. My very first fiction ever since a one-page story at age 9 for a school assignment. It was about Betty Bacteria, and it was totally derivative. I just copied the example concept and expanded. That was it. Me and fiction.

For my first book, I did not use an editor. I had some beta readers who were my friends. I wrote it, I wrote two more, and I published them. The first month, I sold 2,000 copies and made $5,000. Four months later, I gave away 93,000 copies of Book 1 in five days and then sat in the Top 100 Paid for 5 days. I sold 20,000 books that month, and that first book of mine has sold about 150,000 copies in English and German ebook, print, and audio in the past four and a half years. It still sells well.

I had no business selling that many. I did lots of things wrong. But I'm naturally good at some things in fiction writing, and my genre works for those things. I've gotten better since, but that first book is still many readers'  favorite. My story is not at all unique. I know several other people like this also, many of whom did far better than I did with that first fiction. But one thing about me? I followed up. I kept working. In fact, I doubled down.

That doesn't mean talent is enough. Of course not. But there's such a thing as leveraging your best skill set. Writing romance happens to leverage my best skill set, which is why, I believe, success has come more easily for me in this field than it did in others. Other jobs I've had took much more "effort" to succeed. I spend lots of time, and I strive to get better all the time. I work HARD to get better at writing. But writing came easily, success came easily, and improvement comes fairly easily too. I have personal qualities that make that so (including 58 years developing good work habits, but also including other inborn qualities and personal preferences. I graduated from UC Berkeley in History with a 3.98 GPA, and from business school with a 4.0. I know how to work, I'm a good writer, and I'm smart. Those things count in this job.)

On the other hand, I'm horrible at physical stuff requiring any daring. Horrible. I'm married to a backcountry skier and rock climber. I've tried those things, and I'm absolutely terrible. I could work at them until the cows came home without acquiring much more skill. I've practiced yoga for many years. I'm still bad (I know, I know, you're not "bad" at yoga. OK, I'm not flexible, and I'm not very coordinated.) I'm also crap-crap-crappity-crap at sales, though I'm good at marketing (creating collateral that sells the product). Because I'm shy, anxious, and sometimes awkward. If I tried to work as, say, a hiking guide? I'd be horrible. I'd be fired. I wouldn't put people at ease, I'd get nervous, and I'd become a gibbering idiot. And yet I'm good at hiking, I'm extremely conscientious, and I'm generally good with people. Most people like me. I just don't have the qualities for that job.

See, sales. I'm not selling this point very well, am I? Probably just sounding like a jerk. There you go. But I'm really good at writing books with feels.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 01:39:31 PM by Rosalind J »

Offline Anarchist

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #164 on: June 13, 2017, 01:11:56 PM »
That's not really talent, though, is it?

Correct. And that's the point. Or, as notjohn said...

Talent just isn't enough...

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Offline Deblombardi

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #165 on: June 13, 2017, 01:24:43 PM »
Yeah, it actually does work that way. Or it can. OK, it's not luck. It's a hooky concept, a hooky cover, a hooky title, a hooky blurb, and most of all, a hooky book that generates word of mouth.

I wrote my first book at age 50+. My very first fiction ever since a one-page story at age 9 for a school assignment. It was about Betty Bacteria, and it was totally derivative. I just copied the example concept and expanded. That was it. Me and fiction.

For my first book, I did not use an editor. I had some beta readers who were my friends. I wrote it, I wrote two more, and I published them. The first month, I sold 2,000 copies and made $5,000. Five months later, I gave away 93,000 copies of Book 1 in five days and then sat in the Top 100 Paid for 5 days. I sold 20,000 books that month, and that first book of mine has sold about 150,000 copies in English and German ebook, print, and audio in the past four and a half years. It still sells well.

I had no business selling that many. I did lots of things wrong. But I'm naturally good at some things in fiction writing, and my genre works for those things. I've gotten better since, but that first book is still many readers'  favorite. My story is not at all unique. I know several other people like this also.

That doesn't mean talent is enough. Of course not. But there's such a thing as leveraging your best skill set. Writing romance happens to leverage my best skill set, which is why, I believe, success has come more easily for me in this field than it did in others. Other jobs I've had took much more "effort" to succeed. I spend lots of time, and I strive to get better all the time. I work HARD to get better at writing. But writing came easily, success came easily, and improvement comes fairly easily too. I have personal qualities that make that so (including 58 years developing good work habits, but also including other inborn qualities and personal preferences. I graduated from UC Berkeley in History with a 3.98 GPA, and from business school with a 4.0. I know how to work, I'm a good writer, and I'm smart. Those things count in this job.)

On the other hand, I'm horrible at physical stuff requiring any daring. Horrible. I'm married to a backcountry skier and rock climber. I've tried those things, and I'm absolutely terrible. I could work at them until the cows came home without acquiring much more skill. I've practiced yoga for many years. I'm still bad (I know, I know, you're not "bad" at yoga. OK, I'm not flexible, and I'm not very coordinated.) I'm also crap-crap-crappity-crap at sales, though I'm good at marketing (creating collateral that sells the product). Because I'm shy, anxious, and sometimes awkward. If I tried to work as, say, a hiking guide? I'd be horrible. I'd be fired. I wouldn't put people at ease, I'd get nervous, and I'd become a gibbering idiot. And yet I'm good at hiking, I'm extremely conscientious, and I'm generally good with people. Most people like me. I just don't have the qualities for that job.

See, sales. I'm not selling this point very well, am I? Probably just sounding like a jerk. There you go. But I'm really good at writing books with feels.

You left out the part about BookBub picking you up, out of the blue, which helped you give away 93,000 free copies when you first were writing. That's a pretty important detail. I think that the person you were replying to was talking about putting out a book, doing NO MARKETING OF ANY KIND, and having it take off. I can only think of one book that did that - Cake, A Love Story. Other than that...

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #166 on: June 13, 2017, 01:30:55 PM »
You left out the part about BookBub picking you up, out of the blue, which helped you give away 93,000 free copies when you first were writing. That's a pretty important detail. I think that the person you were replying to was talking about putting out a book, doing NO MARKETING OF ANY KIND, and having it take off. I can only think of one book that did that - Cake, A Love Story. Other than that...
Hopeless. Colleen Hoover.

As for me? I sold 2,000 books at $3.99 each my first month with no marketing, just setting the first book free for 3 days. My stuff kept getting picked up by various bloggers and things after that. Yeah, BookBub picked me up. When you do well and your stuff looks good, people pick you up.

You talked about doing "no marketing." I did no marketing. I set the book free, and BookBub picked it up. That can happen when you have a hooky cover and title and blurb and good reviews.

I thought it was all luck too. But then I wrote another series that was very different, and got no special love or luck from anybody. It's sold extremely well. Book 1, which is a genre mashup, is actually #600 or something right now, in fact, and the book's four years old. (And yep, it's in Amazon Prime. It's in there because it's always sold well, and it has good reviews.) After a while, if you keep getting lucky, you realize that you're actually good at something. There's no shame in that. I'm not good at everything. Just this one thing.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 01:34:09 PM by Rosalind J »

Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #167 on: June 13, 2017, 01:31:48 PM »
You left out the part about BookBub picking you up, out of the blue, which helped you give away 93,000 free copies when you first were writing. That's a pretty important detail. I think that the person you were replying to was talking about putting out a book, doing NO MARKETING OF ANY KIND, and having it take off. I can only think of one book that did that - Cake, A Love Story. Other than that...

Plenty of people get Bookbub promos and don't last. And those promos aren't 'out of the blue'.

Offline Deblombardi

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #168 on: June 13, 2017, 01:51:28 PM »
Hopeless. Colleen Hoover.

As for me? I sold 2,000 books at $3.99 each my first month with no marketing, just setting the first book free for 3 days. My stuff kept getting picked up by various bloggers and things after that. Yeah, BookBub picked me up. When you do well and your stuff looks good, people pick you up.

You talked about doing "no marketing." I did no marketing. I set the book free, and BookBub picked it up. That can happen when you have a hooky cover and title and blurb and good reviews.

I thought it was all luck too. But then I wrote another series that was very different, and got no special love or luck from anybody. It's sold extremely well. Book 1, which is a genre mashup, is actually #600 or something right now, in fact, and the book's four years old. (And yep, it's in Amazon Prime. It's in there because it's always sold well, and it has good reviews.) After a while, if you keep getting lucky, you realize that you're actually good at something. There's no shame in that. I'm not good at everything. Just this one thing.

I think you're talking about Slammed, Colleen Hoover's first book. She published in 2011, back in the day when you could make a mint just by being picked up by certain bloggers, which happened for her. Unfortunately, that doesn't work so well these days. Cake is the only recent one that I can think of that took off with no marketing, no fanfare, and it was a debut. The author of that book has no clue what happened. I suppose it happens other times - we just don't hear about it.

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #169 on: June 13, 2017, 01:57:36 PM »
I used to be on these very boards not that many years ago now and reading the posts by people who did very well one after the other. I was here in 2009/2010 when Amanda Hocking took off. I remember Zoe Winters and when Konrath used to post here. I watched people succeed and I, too, sat here thinking "why not me?!" because it wasn't like I wasn't working hard and writing a lot and trying.  I started self-publishing almost exactly 7 years ago (next month is my 7 year anniversary) and was desperate to make any money at it for a long time. I thought all I needed to do what keep going, keep publishing things, and I'd be okay. After a few years of that, though, I realized that what I was doing wasn't working at all. What little successes I'd had along the way I had piddled away listening to bad advice and trying to be in this for the marathon/long haul.

I remember my biggest moment of "why not me?" which became the seed for me to finally stop doing the things that had failed me over and over. It was a post by Courtney Milan, I believe (I tried to find it, but I didn't bookmark it and I might be miss-remembering who posted it but it was a long-timer here).  In it, she detailed stages of self-publishing success. Stage 0 was where I was at... trying to get any sales at all, scrabbling in the 200k+ rankings, no mailing list to speak of etc. Stage 1 was consistently getting a sale or two a day, mailing list is building, but nobody knows who you are yet. It went on from there. I remember it because she talked about how the hardest thing is to get from stage 0 to stage 1 and stage 1 to stage 2, and that going up from there was much easier because you would finally have a foundation.

That post made me cry. I sat at my desk staring at the screen and cried like the world was ending because I was that frustrated. I didn't know how to get to stage 1, much less stages 2 or 3, or 4 (4 is about where I am now I think, I can release books high but not into top 100 quite yet, I have a few thousand people on my list, I make 6 figures etc).  I was literally yelling at the computer screen because I was so mad and depressed. I mean, I had nearly 40 products up across four different genres. Why wasn't I seeing any business growth? Why was selling 5 things a month the place where I seemed to be forever?

That was the beginning of waking up, for me. A few other things happened at the same time (I learned some hard truths about people I had trusted the advice of etc) that propelled me to stop wondering "why are they so special? why  not me? Don't I work hard enough?" and start thinking about how I could do things differently. Start looking at what those who had the success I wanted were doing. Getting from nowhere to somewhere seemed impossible still,  but I had a map, a blueprint built off tons of helpful blog posts and posts right here on Kboards that showed me a path I hadn't taken.

Anyway, I'm typing out a novel here... but obviously I took a different path, copied a lot of the things I saw actual successful people doing, and got out of stage 0 (I jumped right over stage 1, too, I think, ha).

I guess the TLDR of this is: Many of us who are making 100k or more from our fiction writing were not doing so just a few years ago. Many of us struggled and wondered "why them? Why not me?"  Wallowing in that frustration doesn't help. If you want what someone else has, look at how they got it. I promise, the keys are there.  I don't want to go into the "talent" argument, but you won't know if you have what it takes until you try and if what you are doing isn't getting the results you want, stop doing that and try something different, even if it is scary. The great thing about being at the bottom of the mountain is that you have nowhere to fall, right? :)

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #170 on: June 13, 2017, 02:06:21 PM »
I wasn't here back then but that sounds a lot like a talk Courtney Milan gave at RMFW a couple years back where she had this drawing of a big hill you had to climb and said a beginning writer is like a paper airplane at the bottom of that hill and each sale is a direct result of the author's efforts until you can get up that hill and you blow on the paper airplane and it goes up a little bit but falls right back down if you don't have ongoing support pushing it up that hill.  It was a good presentation.

And Annie, yours is one of the success stories on here I like the best because it shows that you can find success by being willing to adapt until you find what works.  You were a great writer long before you saw your current level of success.  (I was never a member on the WOTF forums but I remember you posting on there and seeing a DSF story you wrote about a girl and a lake and a dragon(?) and thinking "wow, that was amazing.")


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Online Becca Mills

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #171 on: June 13, 2017, 02:11:45 PM »
I remember that post of Courtney's: http://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=176583.0

Online Usedtoposthere

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #172 on: June 13, 2017, 02:13:57 PM »
I think you're talking about Slammed, Colleen Hoover's first book. She published in 2011, back in the day when you could make a mint just by being picked up by certain bloggers, which happened for her. Unfortunately, that doesn't work so well these days. Cake is the only recent one that I can think of that took off with no marketing, no fanfare, and it was a debut. The author of that book has no clue what happened. I suppose it happens other times - we just don't hear about it.
All right. Whichever Colleen Hoover book. At this point, it always seems to devolve to, "That doesn't happen anymore. Nowadays . . ." Which may or may not be true. Maybe bloggers talked up Colleen's book. BookBub picked up my book. Neither of us did "marketing" to make that happen. We wrote (very different) books that worked for their time and their market. Colleen did a lot better than me, but I didn't do too shabbily.

As Annie says--you can think, "That's not fair; I'm a way better writer than Rosalind, and I'm putting out three times as many books as she does." Which may be true. The few times I've submitted my books to independent review sites, they don't do better than "very good," because I think I write a little weird for romance. But as Annie says, or as Dr. Phil would say--how's that working out for you? What good is it doing anybody to think, "That should be me"? Maybe it works if it forces you, as it did Annie, to take a good hard look at where she wasn't hitting on all cylinders. Maybe you're stubbornly clinging to something you think SHOULD work, but it doesn't. Maybe there are tweaks that will get you there. Or maybe it's a sea change that's required.

I think it was one of the "Indies Who Sell" podcasters who said to me recently that one way indies spin their wheels is to look at what "crap" some bestselling novel is and cite it as proof that quality doesn't matter. Seeing that, what she and her co-podcaster did was to dissect the work of indies who sold to see WHY. What was it about those people's books that resonated with their audience? Because something did. Marketing can bump a book up artificially, but it doesn't give a book the magic. It doesn't give it legs. They wanted to see where those "legs" came from. The legs are the key.

That podcast, by the way interviewed me, Annie, Michael J. Sullivan, and a bunch of other folks. Worth a listen, maybe, even if just for the stories of the author(s) they've interviewed who write in your own genre. The presenters do a good job, I think, of analyzing that "why." There may be something to be learned from even the "crappiest" of bestsellers.




Offline JaclynDolamore

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #173 on: June 13, 2017, 02:19:04 PM »
Though it's really not meant as one. It takes skill to sense the market pulse just right and know, regardless of ability, exactly what degree of your talent to employ. I console myself by thinking even Shakespeare knew when to reel himself in.

I'm starting to appreciate the truth in this since I started a pen name. I've done decently as an indie writing the books I love, attempting to fit them into market boxes, under my own name. Likewise, I did okay in traditional YA publishing with the same strategy. But two months ago I was reading a romance book that I really enjoyed. Couldn't find much else quite like it to read. Meanwhile, my sales were slumping, so I thought, "What the heck, I'm just going to write a tropey book fast like the one I just read and not stress over it." I wrote it in 10 days, bought a premade, threw it up there at full price with one AMS ad.

...9 years of writing for a living and I've NEVER had a book truly "take off" until now. Yesterday I briefly achieved an actual author rank under my pen name which I've never had before even with promo. And these really engaged people keep joining my author Facebook page.

I'm really happy and grateful that I have a book doing so well and obviously, I've been making a living as a writer for 9 years and treating it like a fulltime job for 12. All the time I've put into learning both craft and "the market" have surely contributed. I certainly am no overnight success. But at the same time...it's a little AGONIZING that my ten previous books I poured my heart and soul into have done somewhere between terribly and like, PRETTY well. And some bit of fun fluff sells like hotcakes. So I guess I've learned to not feel like writing fun fluff is "stooping"; it is in fact exactly what people want. I will certainly be banking the money pen name is earning so I can spend more writing the things I love when/if she burns out, though...

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Online Annie B

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #174 on: June 13, 2017, 02:20:01 PM »
I remember that post of Courtney's: http://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=176583.0

Yes! I was searching the wrong keywords. Thank you. It was this post that made me cry, yep.

I remembered 5 phases, but looks like I'm Phase 3 cusping on Phase 4, hah. I skipped phase 1 and 2 basically starting from somewhere worse than phase 1.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 02:21:43 PM by Annie B »