Author Topic: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?  (Read 10348 times)  

Offline dgcasey

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Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2018, 11:31:25 pm »
Learning how to write in sprints any time I had a half-hour free changed my writing life for the better. No more hemming and hawing and stalling about writing--when I know I have a half-hour, I can sit down with the Neo and blaze away on the draft for the sprint, take a break, then do it again. Developing that discipline and being able to turn on and off the flow as needed was a blessing.

Bingo! After reading Chris Fox's book about 5000 words an hour, I started doing sprints at mywriteclub.com and found it was easy to bang out a couple thousand words an hour. I did three sprints this afternoon, totaling an hour and fifteen minutes and wrote 2450 words. It's all a matter of habit. Becoming a published author isn't about inspiration or coming up with great ideas. It's about parking your butt in your chair and banging away on a keyboard and getting those words down.

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    Offline dgcasey

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #26 on: March 16, 2018, 11:37:27 pm »
    Pure laziness. I couldn't have reached these heights of non-success without it, so I'm grateful.  8)

    Hey, I resemble that remark!  ;)

    Offline Taking my troll a$$ outta here

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #27 on: March 17, 2018, 05:53:43 am »
    The one thing that has made the biggest impact is making the decision to stop treating writing as a hobby and approach it in every way with the mindset to make it a sustainable career. That entails sticking to a regular writing & publishing schedule, and constantly re-evaluating everything else in regards to ROI. Anything besides writing (promotion, social media, collaboration) needs to somehow advance my goals; the plan is always changing, since what works in this industry is never a stagnant thing, but my constant is that writing/publishing needs to be the priority and bulk of my efforts.

    Of course, things that were important when I started as an author are not so important now. I think the ability to recognize when you need to re-assess priorities is an important ingredient of success. At one point, growing my social media presence was a huge deal to me, and I soaked up everything I could on that subject. Now, not so much. Focusing on SM was fun, but when sales faltered, I had to take a hard look at what I was doing; was spending hours on SM selling me books, or was it just inflating my ego? Isn't the ultimate goal to get people to read my books? So yeah, the decision to dedicate less resources to SM was a good one as far as the overall goal (write books/publish books). Same goes with learning about how to micro-manage my mailing list, or becoming an expert in Facebook Ads. Sure, spending hours twerking my mailing list, trying all the techniques, becoming super-awesome at running FB ads can be a great thing, but when I look back on a week's worth of work time and see that my actual writing productivity was only 10% of my time, that's when I know I need to come up with a new direction. Even another example, sometimes I'll get tied up making covers, looking at images, working on new concepts for graphics & stuff...not so much anymore. In the past, I made my covers because I had to. Now, as things have evolved, that is just another task that I can likely farm out in order to focus 100% on what I have found is my best chance at success-- regular writing/publishing.

    For me, there are a LOT of things in this industry that can take up your time as an author. Plenty of them can help you sell books. Plenty of them are just a time suck. The constant that remains (for me) is write good books/publish good books, as frequently as possible. Decide what YOUR ultimate goal is, and be honest with yourself and ask if something you're spending a lot of time on is actually propelling you towards it. 
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    Offline NoCat

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #28 on: March 17, 2018, 08:03:13 am »
    The biggest change for me was to throw away all the terrible advice I'd been given and look at what was actually working for the people provably making a living. (details are in this old thread: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,219663.msg3067751.html#msg3067751 )

    Offline Taking my troll a$$ outta here

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #29 on: March 17, 2018, 08:14:25 am »
    The biggest change for me was to throw away all the terrible advice I'd been given and look at what was actually working for the people provably making a living. (details are in this old thread: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,219663.msg3067751.html#msg3067751 )

    That's one of my all-time favorite KBoards posts.  8)
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    Offline 98368

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #30 on: March 17, 2018, 10:31:09 am »
    Instagram.
    . . .
    If that's not enough, here's another plus. You can monetize your instagram. Once you have a decent following, have your email accessible, and companies will start coming to you. It started happening when I had 25k followers and only grew from there.

    As it stands, I make 60k per timed sponsored instagram post. Let that sink in. 60k for a picture that is only up for 24 hours. Do this for yourself. It's a long uphill battle but it beats cultivating emails. But you should still cultivate emails. It's always good to have a back up.

    So, start using instagram. Start building.

    If you want to publish serially, but don't know how to build an app, you could always start a blogger or wordpress and use an 'app wrapper' that turns your blog into an app. When you update your blog, your app updates. Naturally, those services incur a monthly fee. But if you build a sizeable fan base, you can start running ads. And readers are more likely to give you a try if they can read your stuff for free. Now imagine giving them everything for free and still being able to make a living. That's how I did it and continue to do it.

    I know what Instagram is but I've never used it, yet everything you say is so impressive, even the parts I don't understand, that I'm going to ask a few questions. Hope that's okay.

    (1) Do you have a business Instagram account? Or a personal one? I ask because my Googling turned up the fact that one can be on Instagram w/o FB, unless it's a biz account. Then you need a FB account (a FB business account?).

    (2) What is a "timed sponsored Instagram post"? That entire section just lost me. When you say you make 60K per timed sponsored Instagram post are you referring to a dollar amount? a number of viewers? Yes, I know this little about Instagram. But I'm trying to catch up a bit here.

    (3) What is publishing "serially"? On Instagram? Your books? The "app wrapper" info completely lost me. Is this something that turns your blog posts into Instagram posts?

    I've learned so much from kboards but, obviously, I have loads more to learn. If you have the time to enlighten me a bit, I'd appreciate it. If not, I understand. All these things have probably been talked about in depth on kboards and elsewhere. It's just that this is the first time I've seen any of this, and in fact the first time I've seen a successful author talking about Instagram's benefits.

    Thanks.

    Offline Holden

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #31 on: March 17, 2018, 12:35:50 pm »
    I know what Instagram is but I've never used it, yet everything you say is so impressive, even the parts I don't understand, that I'm going to ask a few questions. Hope that's okay.

    (1) Do you have a business Instagram account? Or a personal one? I ask because my Googling turned up the fact that one can be on Instagram w/o FB, unless it's a biz account. Then you need a FB account (a FB business account?).

    (2) What is a "timed sponsored Instagram post"? That entire section just lost me. When you say you make 60K per timed sponsored Instagram post are you referring to a dollar amount? a number of viewers? Yes, I know this little about Instagram. But I'm trying to catch up a bit here.

    (3) What is publishing "serially"? On Instagram? Your books? The "app wrapper" info completely lost me. Is this something that turns your blog posts into Instagram posts?

    I've learned so much from kboards but, obviously, I have loads more to learn. If you have the time to enlighten me a bit, I'd appreciate it. If not, I understand. All these things have probably been talked about in depth on kboards and elsewhere. It's just that this is the first time I've seen any of this, and in fact the first time I've seen a successful author talking about Instagram's benefits.

    Thanks.

    (1) You only need a business instagram account if you plan on utilizing the shoppable posts feature (which is currently invite only and in beta). But no, you don't need one to use it as a personal account. You also shouldn't wait until it comes out of beta to start building your following. Just start a personal one for now and when shoppable posts comes out of beta, link your facebook page (the business "page," not the personal one) to your instagram account and it will automatically turn it into an instagram business account.

    (2) A timed sponsored instagram post is when businesses "rent" an instagram post from you. Instagram doesn't facilitate this. Businesses will come to you with a promotional image (more than likely, they'll send you the product to take a picture of, with or without you), and you keep that promotional image up for apporximately twenty-four hours. Then delete it. The more followers you have, the higher the price you command. With 15.5 million followers, I average about 2.2 million "likes" (that's when someone sees your picture and double taps the screen to give it a "heart"). That's 2.2 million people who are guaranteed to see and like that image. 2.2 million people who didn't know something existed, now know exists. Makes sense? When I say 60k, that's how much I charge and businesses pay that for me to promote their product. I turn down a lot of stuff I don't believe in, but as it stands, I can essentially promote a product every single day throughout the year and get paid 60k per post. But I don't. I turn a lot of companies away. A lot of influencers do. If you start doing it for the money to the point where it gets spammy, it means less and your "reach" becomes less effective. I do about one per week.

    (3) The publishing serially thing has nothing to do with instagram. It was an addendum of sorts. It was my way of explaining how I write a lot but don't publish a lot. Most of my writing is uploaded to my app where it can be read for free. My series is currently just a little over 14 million words. I could break it up and publish it, but I don't feel like inundating my author catalog with that amount of titles. So I don't bother. People always tell me I leave so much money on the table, blah blah blah, but it's because I leave so much money on the table, that I'm able to have the time and make as much money as I do now. When people hear free, they think free. A loss leader. But what if free didn't mean you couldn't earn a living? That's what I meant when I talked about publishing serially via a blog. And if you don't know how to build apps, then you can apply an "app wrapper" that takes your blog and turns it into an app where you could upload to the ios and play store (apple and google). When you update your blog, the app wrapper will then update your app. Imagine writing a blog post that contains chapters of your next book. Now imagine having unobtrusive ads that slide in before and after the chapter is done and getting paid for it. That's how I was able to monetize "free." No one ever believes me when I tell them I release every single thing I ever wrote for free. Every single word. Free.

    Indie publishing is wild. When they say there are so many ways to go about it, they weren't lying. I just so happened to take the road less traveled. Less traffic that way.

    Offline Whatever Writer

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #32 on: March 17, 2018, 02:38:24 pm »
     :) Wow, I'm pretty speechless on what a beacon of hope your post has been. I've been struggling to figure out how to write well and be a good "publisher". Your posts are the most uplifting thing that I've seen in a long time (lurker for years), and I can't wait to know more. The whole machine of indie-publishing to make ends meet has been disheartening :(

    Any chance you'd let us know a recommended app (that wraps the blog like you mentioned in other posts) or book that shares more about what to do? Thank you very much for your time!

    Offline 98368

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #33 on: March 17, 2018, 02:49:58 pm »
    (1) You only need a business instagram account if you plan on utilizing the shoppable posts feature (which is currently invite only and in beta). But no, you don't need one to use it as a personal account. You also shouldn't wait until it comes out of beta to start building your following. Just start a personal one for now and when shoppable posts comes out of beta, link your facebook page (the business "page," not the personal one) to your instagram account and it will automatically turn it into an instagram business account.

    (2) A timed sponsored instagram post is when businesses "rent" an instagram post from you. Instagram doesn't facilitate this. Businesses will come to you with a promotional image (more than likely, they'll send you the product to take a picture of, with or without you), and you keep that promotional image up for apporximately twenty-four hours. Then delete it. The more followers you have, the higher the price you command. With 15.5 million followers, I average about 2.2 million "likes" (that's when someone sees your picture and double taps the screen to give it a "heart"). That's 2.2 million people who are guaranteed to see and like that image. 2.2 million people who didn't know something existed, now know exists. Makes sense? When I say 60k, that's how much I charge and businesses pay that for me to promote their product. I turn down a lot of stuff I don't believe in, but as it stands, I can essentially promote a product every single day throughout the year and get paid 60k per post. But I don't. I turn a lot of companies away. A lot of influencers do. If you start doing it for the money to the point where it gets spammy, it means less and your "reach" becomes less effective. I do about one per week.

    (3) The publishing serially thing has nothing to do with instagram. It was an addendum of sorts. It was my way of explaining how I write a lot but don't publish a lot. Most of my writing is uploaded to my app where it can be read for free. My series is currently just a little over 14 million words. I could break it up and publish it, but I don't feel like inundating my author catalog with that amount of titles. So I don't bother. People always tell me I leave so much money on the table, blah blah blah, but it's because I leave so much money on the table, that I'm able to have the time and make as much money as I do now. When people hear free, they think free. A loss leader. But what if free didn't mean you couldn't earn a living? That's what I meant when I talked about publishing serially via a blog. And if you don't know how to build apps, then you can apply an "app wrapper" that takes your blog and turns it into an app where you could upload to the ios and play store (apple and google). When you update your blog, the app wrapper will then update your app. Imagine writing a blog post that contains chapters of your next book. Now imagine having unobtrusive ads that slide in before and after the chapter is done and getting paid for it. That's how I was able to monetize "free." No one ever believes me when I tell them I release every single thing I ever wrote for free. Every single word. Free.

    Indie publishing is wild. When they say there are so many ways to go about it, they weren't lying. I just so happened to take the road less traveled. Less traffic that way.

    Holden--Thank  you, thank you, thank you. Incredibly generous of you to share all of this. I appreciate it immensely. I have a banquet of food for thought here.
    « Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 04:42:13 am by RTW »

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #34 on: March 17, 2018, 02:59:21 pm »
    I can't pick a One Thing. *A* thing is that I looked for advice that fit the way I write, rather than trying to write in a way that fit the advice.

    Offline Holden

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #35 on: March 17, 2018, 05:48:27 pm »
    :) Wow, I'm pretty speechless on what a beacon of hope your post has been. I've been struggling to figure out how to write well and be a good "publisher". Your posts are the most uplifting thing that I've seen in a long time (lurker for years), and I can't wait to know more. The whole machine of indie-publishing to make ends meet has been disheartening :(

    Any chance you'd let us know a recommended app (that wraps the blog like you mentioned in other posts) or book that shares more about what to do? Thank you very much for your time!

    It's been a while since I first looked into it, but if I remember correctly, PhoneGap was one of the major ones: https://phonegap.com/

    Appypie is one of the major ones, too.

    If you have a blogger blog: https://www.appypie.com/convert-blogger-blog-into-app

    If you have a wordpress blog: https://www.appypie.com/convert-wordpress-blog-into-app

    Offline NoCat

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #36 on: March 17, 2018, 06:11:06 pm »
    If you can build your Instagram following up to 15 million, you likely don't need to be on Kboards looking for advice, ha. It's tougher than it sounds ;)

    Offline Holden

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #37 on: March 17, 2018, 07:11:01 pm »
    If you can build your Instagram following up to 15 million, you likely don't need to be on Kboards looking for advice, ha.



    I've been on kboards, off and on, since 2009. I like it. It's the equivalent of keeping your ear to the streets of indie publishing. I neither look down nor up to anyone. You can learn something new, from anyone, regardless of their earnings and/or social media following.

    It's tougher than it sounds ;)

    It's not easy, but it's easier than you think.

    Offline Crystal_

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #38 on: March 17, 2018, 07:44:50 pm »
    Finding the cross section of what I'm passionate about and what readers want.

    Offline Sam B

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #39 on: March 17, 2018, 08:27:58 pm »
    The biggest change for me was to throw away all the terrible advice I'd been given and look at what was actually working for the people provably making a living. (details are in this old thread: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,219663.msg3067751.html#msg3067751 )

    Thank you so much for linking that, I'd missed it, and it's a great thread. Super helpful information there, and I appreciate that you supported it with your own real life example. I agree that it's always a little suspicious when someone claims to have the secret to great success, but doesn't seem to have followed their own plan.

    Offline Anarchist

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #40 on: March 18, 2018, 06:47:29 am »
    The thing that has made the biggest difference in my career as an entrepreneur is sticking to the Pareto principle.

    Most things matter little. A few things move the needle.

    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

    "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

    Offline KinkyCat

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #41 on: March 23, 2018, 10:58:00 am »
    I wanted to add a word of warning about using Appy Pie.  I signed up for their Premium membership (non-refundable, by the way), and find it atrocious.  Slow responses, indifferent staff, poor tutorials, the whole works.  Go with someone else.
    "Innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm." - Graham Greene

    "We have our usual annoying critters out here: the deer in the orchards, the coyotes in the fields, and the Jehovah Witnesses at the door." - Me

    Offline LindsayBuroker

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #42 on: March 23, 2018, 12:22:44 pm »
    For me, joining an online writing workshop and getting tons of my stuff critiqued--and critiquing even more tons of other people's stuff. I've never been one for taking classes or reading books on craft. This is really how I learned. The kindle didn't exist yet then, so there was no hurry to publish, and I'm glad. I'm sure I would have been tempted to skip those years of learning if I were starting today, but they taught me to be a better writer and to find my own voice. It's funny how it sometimes takes a lot of people telling you a lot of different (and sometimes contradictory!) things to really solidify who you are and what you believe, but I guess it's being hardened in the fire or something like that. :)

    The first series I published wasn't perfect by any means, but it inspired fan fiction, fan art, and the creation of a fan forum, even though I wasn't selling gazillions of copies. Getting that kind of feedback from readers and seeing how invested they were in my characters was huge. It inspired me just as much as the money did.

    I've certainly seen poorly written books do well, but the marketing and everything is just so much easier if you're selling stories that suck people in and get them invested in the characters. If you're emailing a list of fans about a new release in a world they love, there's absolutely nothing more effective than a newsletter. Your subscribers are super excited to get your email and will write you back to let you know about it.

    But Step 1 is writing a story that people love about characters that they want to spend time with. And with prose that doesn't get in the way of the story. The basics get overlooked. A lot. I can't tell you how often someone's told me they can't sell any books, and their story opens with awkward prose and infodumps. We're too close to our own work to accurately assess it. That's why I like critique groups. Getting your stuff shredded is good for bringing your ego down to where it should be, and if you can turn fellow writers into fans of your work, that's just about the hardest group to please.

    The short answer to the question... Learning to write stories that people enjoy.


    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #43 on: March 23, 2018, 12:37:19 pm »
    There have been tons of things that have made a difference since I started out.

    That said, never discount dumb luck either.  I happened to change categories at a time when Amazon was having a system glitch. Somehow my book - which was a year and a half old - ended up on the hot new releases list for the new category.

    It was a well-needed push and, happily, snowballed from there.  :)


    Making fantasy fun again, one corpse at a time
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    Offline notjohn

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #44 on: March 23, 2018, 01:11:04 pm »
    Well, I was a full-time writer long before this happened, but the single greatest thing was when I paid $4000 for an Olympia electronic typewriter with a CPM computer extension, two 5.25-inch disk drives, and WordStar 3. (The typewriter was also the printer.)

    That was in 1982. I've since gone from CPM to DOS to Windows 3 to Win 98 to XP to Win 7 to Win 10. But I'm still running DOS WordStar. There's nothing like it.
    Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting: http://viewbook.at/notjohn

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    Offline KevinH

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #45 on: March 23, 2018, 05:52:47 pm »
    Simply maintaining my faith in a higher power and myself.

    Offline G.L. Snodgrass

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #46 on: March 23, 2018, 10:13:00 pm »
    Getting turned down by every agent I queried. It turned out to be the luckiest thing ever. It forced me to change my plan. I honestly believe I make more money and enjoy writing more without a gatekeeper telling me what to do.

    G.L. Snodgrass | G.L. Snodgrass

    Offline ThirdWish

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #47 on: March 25, 2018, 01:32:35 pm »
    Bumping this because I found an answer to a question someone asked upthread about uploading to Instagram from a desktop. (Mac only answer, but I'm guessing there's a way you can do something similar with Chrome or Firefox).

    1.  In Safari Preferences > Advanced > hit the tick box for "Show Develop menu in menu bar"  (at the bottom of the screen)

    2.  Then go to Instagram and load your page.

    3.  Safari > Click Develop tab in menu bar > User Agent >  Safari -- iOS 11.0 -- iPhone

    4.  Reload the page. Now you will see the mobile version as if you were on your phone instead of your desktop/laptop browser.
             

    Offline Skip Knox

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #48 on: March 25, 2018, 08:42:48 pm »
    >But I'm still running DOS WordStar.
    Ctrl-K, Ctrl-D brother!

    But WordPerfect 4.2 holds pride of place in my heart.


    Offline Talbot

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    Re: What's the one thing that has made a difference in your author career?
    « Reply #49 on: March 26, 2018, 12:24:02 pm »
    The one thing? I'll have to say person. Sherry Soule, may she live forever, gave me invaluable advice on blurbs, genres, and covers right when I truly needed a helping hand. The generosity of people who will help you if you just ASK was a huge lesson.

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