When I met my now fiancé, I was actually an aspiring songwriter and I remember him saying to me, you are going to write books someday. I laughed because I always felt that in my heart as a child too but here I was pursuing a slightly different path. When I was young, I remember trying to read “Fly Girl” and thinking, I could write better than this. (Sorry no offense to Omar Tyree, I was young and just felt if he could do it I could do it.) I never did finish that and hear it’s a hood classic. But I digress. I was an avid reader and knew that one day, I too wanted my words to be able to affect people, and I just didn’t quite know how it would manifest.
So in 2014, I wrote my first book entitled Dear Love: A Love Letter to You and when I ordered my first proof, I nearly cried because of what it felt like to see my name on a book cover for the very first time. Yes it was just 70 some odd little pages and self-published, but I felt a sense of accomplishment and a since of purpose in that moment that no one will ever be able to take away from me. This book was encouraged by my Instagram followers, where at the time I probably had LESS than 1000. A lot Less than 1000. (Disclaimer: Not that followers define you but when you have something to market it helps to have followers to market it to.) But the response was so great and it really made me feel like this was something they would appreciate.
Since then, I have learned SOOOOOOO much! I barely had half the following that I have currently, I didn’t have a detailed marketing plan or any of the things that I know now are essential to the success of launching a book. I just had something that I wanted to say and then put it out there. And I was afraid. But I tell you all the time that something in me has just learned how to do things afraid. I see the end goal and no matter how scary the steps are, I take them because I know that they lead to the outcome. I’m trying to sit in the comfy seat on Soulful Sundays with Oprah or something before my life is over. I was afraid of what the response would be with the fact that it wasn’t this detailed life work, but I just did it. I did the work. I wrote the pieces, edited, researched and researched how to format my own book from start to finish, used Createspace and voila had this book available on Amazon and Kindle.
My release event sold out. When I look back at the photos, I am floored by how many people actually came out to support. I ordered only 50 books because I figured I probably wouldn’t sell too many and completely ran out that night. Completely undershot myself. People were buying multiple copies. This is not to pat myself on the back, but this is to say that you too can decide and produce something great from your writing!
I have been marketing my book for the last year and change. Actually going on two years. I’ve done interviews, blog features, spoke at Temple and The Pyramid Club, collaborated with Mary K. Dougherty & Associates, developed the Dear Love Brunch and much more all in support of that little book that was in many ways a trial to see if I could actually produce something that people wanted to consume. And I haven’t sold 10,000 copies as of yet. But definitely hundreds which FAR, FAR exceeded my expectation for myself. Who was I to think that I actually had something worthwhile to say that people would want to purchase my book? And that’s the self-defeating attitude that so many of us as writers have. We think “No one will care,” “What I have to say isn’t important,” and so on and so on. But it is!
As I work on the completion of my second manuscript which is so much more in depth and so much more detailed, I cannot wait to put into practice all the things that I have learned in this journey. I put out a book with literally nothing and it made a wave. It was the beginning of consistency for me in my writing journey. It pushed me up a notch. It was something that I created all on my own and that actually put me at the forefront of people’s mind space and I am amazed by that.
It doesn’t matter where you are. Whether you barely have an audience or if you’re moving along but just trying to get to the next level. You can develop your writing in a way to create opportunity for yourself. Self-publishing is not as hard as you think. I taught myself. I didn’t have the money so I had to make the time. I read every forum Createspace had, I read how to format my book for kindle, I Googled popular book fonts and tons of info about formatting in word. Yikes! But I did it. Paid a graphic designer to create the cover and boom. I knew that I would not leave this Earth without having released at least one book in my lifetime. And I hope that there will be many more including a New York Times Best Seller.
Don’t let your books die with you. Get them out. Get started. DO THE WORK! Find the time. Get going. We never have as much time as we think and before you know it, you will be singing your should have, could have, would haves. And to get started, I can help.
This year, I softly rolled out some coaching services including my Dreamer Session packages. One of them is based on self-publishing. In this 90 minute session, we can develop your book idea, think of marketing and promotional ideas and even do a quick overview of Createspace. The package includes a 1-month and 3-month follow up on your action plan and personal access to me during the 3 month period. This is everything I didn’t have when working on my first book.
We’ll also cover a bit on self-publishing as a revenue stream in The Writer, The Brand. If you haven’t yet signed up for the mailing list, you can do so below! I look forward to working with all of you on getting your words from your notebook pages to the people!