I posted a status today asking the “little guys” to share about their books. To be honest, I was floored by the responses. My notifications blew up within minutes and I realized that while I may still feel like a little guy at heart, that’s not really the case anymore. There’s a lot of authors struggling, and that hurts my heart.
I remember the anxieties and pains from that period of time though, and I still feel them! So, I wanted to get real with you guys for a minute about what my career’s been like and what it’s taken to get there. Hopefully it will encourage other “little guys” to keep going, keep trying, keep writing.
There’s a reason why we do this, and there is a path to success but each of ours is different. If any other authors feel like posting in the comments about their journeys to help inspire, or vent, feel free! This is just one person’s experience, but it’s a different road for all of us. ❤️
In 2013, I published my first book through self publishing at age 24.
In 2016, I now have 8 published, but 11 written.
Out of those, 7 are self-pubs and 3 are traditionally published (with more to come).
My dream was always to write for Random House, and I signed a contract for 6 books with Penguin Random House in 2014.
My next book comes out Oct 4 (self-pub), and Dec 13 (traditional).
It took writing 7 books before I was proud of my writing.
In 2012, I got my Masters and began working as a therapist in a sexual offender rehabilitation programs in a jail.
In 2013 and 2014, I worked full time but started writing, plus an additional separate part time job of writing resumes.
In 2015, I worked 2 part time jobs outside of writing.
In 2016, I work 1 part time job outside of writing, plus some freelance work and consulting. I also now fully support my household due to my partner’s job change.
During all 4 years, I’ve averaged 60-80 hours of work per week.
I haven’t taken a vacation. I didn’t get a honeymoon. I have never taken a full weekend off. I normally work all 7 days a week.
I write at least 20,000 words a week minimum, and I do all my own marketing at night. I do not have an assistant.
I only go out with friends once a month, if that. I turn down events all the time and forget promises I make people regularly.
I don’t have kids yet, which helps with time, but I’ve had several miscarriages and am actively trying to adopt/get pregnant.
I have date nights, even if its just on the couch, because we need that time. When a friend needs me, I’m always there–work never comes first.
I spend half a day every week cooking and shopping for the rest of the week. My husband cleans the house because I just can’t even.
I watch television because it’s fun and I want to, and I don’t feel guilty if I’m doing something that isn’t work or writing.
I spend at least 15 minutes a day screaming and running in circles around my house with the dogs, playing. I call it my exercise.
I read at least 2-3 books a week.
I cry at least 2x a week about whether or not I’ll ever reach my dreams, or be able to afford…life.
In 2013 and 2014, I netted a profit loss on my books. I think it was by -$8k the first year, and -$3k the second year, but I don’t fully remember.
In 2015, I made +$8,000 profits from my books.
In 2016, I made +$8,000 in January alone, and while it’s always up and down throughout the year, by the end of the 2016, I’m projected to net a “normal” salary for my work.
In 2017, I hope to do 1.5x what I’m doing this year.
I still struggle and work on paying down a lot of debt, and put most of my book money back into my business. My shoes have holes in them and I wait for my birthday to come up until I beg a relative to buy me new shoes because that’s a “luxury” for me at the moment. I still give away hundreds of my books and buy other author’s books every week.
MY TOP TIPS:
1) Pick your goals and work toward it, no exceptions.
2) Be willing to put in the time. And a lot of it.
3) Unless you just want a hobby, treat this like a business.
4) Sleep. Get lots of sleep, or you’ll be less productive.
5) The best way to sell a book is write the next book.
There’s plenty more and I could go on and on, but this is just one author’s take on what life looks like when you work really hard and get one step closer to your goals. I’m nowhere near where I want to be yet, but one day I will be, and it will have made all the hard work worth it. There are tons of authors doing much more and much better than me, and that’s perfectly okay with me. We’re not competition, we’re peers.
But even if it never pays off, I love what I do. I love my job, and I love working hard, and that’s all that’s ever going to matter in the long run. I’ve surrounded myself with a great group of people, my agent, my publisher, other authors, my family, my friends, etc, who make me a better version of myself and I love every moment of it. This is going to be my lifetime career, and I’m going to make it successful–no exceptions.
So, don’t be discouraged if your book isn’t selling, or you’re struggling to reach more readers, or you’re new and overwhelmed. It’s not an easy road for any of us. We’re all just trying to figure it out.
Go check out some of these awesome books listed in the comments of my “Little Guys” Post here!
[This post was originally published on Sarah’s Facebook profile here. Please follow her there (or on her page) for the most up to date information. For book information, please subscribe to her newsletter here.]
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