Today, ladies and gentlemen, marks my 6th anniversary as a published indie author. Now, I’ve officially been an author for the better half of a decade.
In some ways, it feels as if I just published Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl yesterday. In others, it feels as if an eternity has passed since the days of CreateSpace and my early mistakes as an indie author.
Like each year before, however, I’ve learned a lot of lessons within my sixth full year of being an indie author, which I’ll be happily sharing with y’all today. 🙂
If you haven’t yet read about years one through five, check out those posts below:
- My First Year as a Published Author
- My Second Year as a Published Author
- My Third Year as a Published Author
- My Fourth Year as a Published Author
- My Fifth Year as a Published Author
Lesson One: It’s Okay to Re-outline Mid-Draft
If you’ve been following my WIP Updates for On the Flip Side, you may remember that I ended up deciding to start rewriting the first draft from square one back in December after majorly changing the outline.
This was difficult for me to come to terms with, especially after doing the same thing with the writing project directly before it, The Dream (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #3). For most of my prior books, I thought I was able to write them straight through and make linear progress. On these two most recent projects, I’ve constantly dismantled, rewritten, and altered things.
Part of me began to think that I was losing my writing talent, because I couldn’t create a coherent outline from the beginning and have it work for the totality of the novel. That was a dumb mindset to fall into, y’all. And I’ll tell you why.
I thought I had written all my prior books straight through with no issues, but, when I really looked back and thought about those writing experiences, I had to make major changes during edits. Sometimes that involved inserting new scenes (Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl). Sometimes it involved deleting unnecessary scenes altogether (The Crush). And sometimes, it meant rearranging scenes for maximum emotional impact at certain story beats (The Fall, and that was rough!). After consideration, Speak Your Mind is the anomaly where no major outlining changes occurred, and I know that book is an anomaly in more ways than one, so I shouldn’t compare all my other writing experiences to it. Based on these findings, Speak Your Mind‘s writing experience is not my norm, and that’s okay.
Now, instead of beating myself up because I’m having to rewrite and re-outline, I’ve realized that I’m breaking and molding the story so much because I’m improving as a writer. I’ve began to recognize weaknesses in the story concerning the beats of the three act story structure and am actively working to go back and strengthen those spots to form a more compelling story in the first draft to save myself from a headache down the road when it’s time to edit.
So, if you’ve also been beating yourself up for having to rewrite or re-outline, please turn that negative thought process on its head and realize that if you’re recognizing where your story can improve and are actively striving to write the best story you can, you’re a better writer than you realize. ❤
Lesson Two: Social Media Marketing Is 100% More Fun When You Just Be Yourself
I’ve mentioned this a couple times before, and a bit extensively in a recent post about Comparisonitis, but a few years ago, I went through a season where I felt I had to act like “more successful” authors in my genre on social media to sell more books.
Y’all, the devil is a complete liar.
During that season, not only did acting like others not pan out in the ways I hoped it would, but it constantly fed Comparisonitis and led to burnout in marketing.
2022 though… last year was a game-changer.
I first started testing out the Reels feature on Instagram at the end of 2021 to see if I liked using it, only posting once a week for a while. And I found that I absolutely love it. Making Reels provides me with an outlet to reach and build my audience in a way that hones my creativity AND that I wholeheartedly enjoy 90% of the time.
In years prior, the main way I used social media to market my books was by taking Bookstagram photos of books I had read, and making my own marketing pictures using Canva or other free graphic design apps. Though I managed to stay consistent with that method for a year or two, I felt burnt out doing so. Editing the images was tedious, and I felt that I had to make my photos look like everyone else’s, or fit them into a certain aesthetic in order for them to be effective.
Last year, though I still posted images to market, they were few and far between compared to years past. Instead, I had a lot of fun batch-filming Reels on the weekend, where I could 1) be myself (even show my silly side) and 2) use a form a media that I actually like to use and want to get better at.
The lesson here is that, if you want to effectively market your books on social media, do so by finding an outlet that allows you to use your creative skills in a way you could see yourself continuing consistently for years to come. Instead of going with what’s popular right now, market in a way you enjoy, because at the end of the day, when your audience sees that you love what you do, that’s a more genuine marketing strategy than following the beaten path.
Lesson Three: Seeing John 15:5 in Action
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.John 15:5, kjv
The most important lesson my 6th full year of being a published indie author taught me is that if we surrender our dreams to God, and let Him lead in His way, fruit will come from it.
It may not always be specifically the fruit we want, like immediately achieving a certain status we’ve been dreaming of for years. Instead, like in my case, it was hearing from readers about how much of a spiritual impact Writing by Faith had on their mindsets as authors, and, coming as a complete surprise to me, witnessing many wins throughout the year that I know was possible by God alone. Because I had tried so very hard in years past, on my own, and could never accomplish a fraction of what He did in 2022.
Now, I’m not one to share my sales numbers publicly, because where I come from, it’s considered bragging to tell others your salary information or how much you make an hour, unless you are close to that person. Basically, it’s no one’s business but your own and your spouse’s, and you’re better off to just keep it to yourself. It can also breed discontentment in others (I’ve been there before after seeing sales number posts on Instagram/YouTube), so I don’t want to talk dollar amounts here. However, I will mention units sold amounts to show y’all how much letting God lead last year allowed more fruit to bear than ever before.
In 2021, 9 books were sold. Total. This was the least amount of books sold in the entire span of my author career. During this time, yes, I was not devoting as much time to writing, publishing, marketing, etc. because I was focusing on preparing for my wedding that year. However, at that time, my mindset was not in the best place, and by the end of the year, God had worked on me through writing Writing by Faith.
In 2022, with a mindset focused on God’s ability and not my own, with a goal of ministry and not self-promotion or possible royalties, everything changed. 2022 became my most successful year by units sold, and was the first year over 100 books sold. It also was the first year where two books were published within the year, and the first time one of my books ever reached the #1 spot in one of its categories on Amazon.
God’s provision completely blew me away last year, and because of the four previous years where I struggled nonstop, trying to do everything on my own and left God as an afterthought, I know without a shadow of a doubt that last year’s success was only possible through God. If I hadn’t of surrendered my efforts to Him, it would have been a repeat of years past. I would have struggled to sell books, yes, but even more than that, I would’ve felt like a failure as an author. Last year reminded me that God has called me to write and publish for a reason, and that His reason will be carried out by His ability, not my own. I just need to back off with my own desires and let Him lead, and do the work He has called me to do, trusting Him with the end result.
Oh, and One More Thing! 😉
Since I’m celebrating my 6th publishing anniversary today, I’ve got a little treat for all you lovely readers! From now until Saturday, February 25th 2023, all of my fiction eBooks are on sale for the following prices:
Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl is $0.99
Speak Your Mind is $0.99
The Crush (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #1) is $0.99
The Fall (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #2) is $1.99
And, as usual, Writing by Faith, my nonfiction book for Christian authors and writers, is available for free!
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
If you’re an author, what lessons have you learned in your years of writing and publishing books?
If you’re a reader, THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to read my posts and books. You are amazing, and God bless you! ❤ Do you have a favorite character or scene from any of my books? Which are your favorites?
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.
2 thoughts on “My Sixth Year as a Published Author + Anniversary Ebook Sale!”
Ahhh, CONGRATULATIONS, and these lessons are great! I LOVE Writing by Faith and seeing Emery grow in The Fall 🙂
A big lesson I’ve learned is what you eloquently stated in Lesson #3…that God must be first in life and in writing, and also that my definition of success is not necessarily His definition of success.
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Thank you so much!!! 😀 I couldn’t have made it this far without God and awesome author friends like you! 🙂
I’m glad that lesson was helpful! It’s still something I have to remind myself of on the daily. 🙂
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