The life of an author must be an adventurous one, right? They must be well traveled with a vast knowledge of worldly facts and a taste for only the finest things in life. How else would the author come up with such elaborate tales, of a world you could never imagine without their guiding hand leading you through every twist and poetic moment, if they’re not anything but as previously described?

The life of a self-published, or traditional, author isn’t generally as full of wonder as you might imagine.

Sure, there are some authors who thrive on a lifestyle filled with traveling to exotic lands or completely removing themselves from any type of distractions, aside from what mother nature will impose on their cozy countryside cottage, but for myself, neither of these scenarios describe my life. My life is plainly average. I am your typical full-time working mom. Essentially I’m constantly tired, and always cleaning up someone else’s mess. I keep a clean house, take pride in my job, and live in a suburban neighborhood, my life honestly couldn’t get more predictable than that.

 So as any full-time working parent would agree, I needed and outlet. I would read, watch TV, do crafts, write, I would do anything to break up the monotony of every day life, but no matter what I focused on, it still became predictable.

Back in August of 2018, I decided I was done with predictable outcomes. I sat down to write, but this time I did it without any idea of what I would write about, and I came up with an amazing short story. After sharing my story with my fiancé of 12 years, and he pushed me to share my work with the world. I was nervous…

Writing might a passion I have, but that doesn’t mean it’s a passion that would be appreciated

My love, he comforted me. He told me that my work gave myself a sense of appreciation that no one else would ever be able to match or surpass, and that I would regret stacking it up with all my other forgotten sparks of creativity. He was right, like always, and I followed his advice. Suddenly it didn’t matter if I was liked or accepted, I was determined to self-publish my short story. There was only one thing stopping me, I didn’t know where to start.

It could be opening their own publishing company, being signed by a literary agent, or making enough money so they can fulfill any dreams they may have, but regardless of their definition of more, the thought of their work taking them someplace further than where they are now is one of the major thoughts that fuels an author.

I am no different. Even though I started down this path to relieve stress and bring myself a sense of accomplishment and self worth, that first sale and five star review changed me. Finally there was a thrill in my life that had an outcome I couldn’t predict, a what if that didn’t have a bad thought that followed it, and all I had to do was write. At least, that’s what I thought.

That’s when I discovered Amazon’s free self-publishing tool.

There are tons of different companies you could go through that offer free self-publishing to get your book out to the public, but for me, Amazon just seemed like the best option. Money has always been tight in my house, so free was definitely my main concern. Self-publishing itself is a scary thing, and although it’s hard to say out loud, all authors that take this path secretly crave something more.

Have you ever took on a job where you didn’t realize the amount of responsibilities that went along with that position? Take being a gas station attendant as an example. It seems like all their job entails is ringing up the customers as they come through the line, but there’s so much more to it than that. The same can be said about writing, especially when you’re self-published. Now, I don’t want to scare anyone away from taking this path when it comes to publishing, although I am a horror author, so fabricating a tale of misfortune is second nature to me, I just want to give advice that I wished I had received at the beginning of my journey.

Marketing your book is the hardest part of self-publishing. If you are completely writing and publishing for your own amusement, then this won’t really matter to you, but if you’re like me and you would like to pursue this path with high expectations, then this is great advice to take into consideration- and it’s also where I went wrong.

First, you should work on growing a fan base before you publish your work. If you don’t then you might be waiting a while before you make your first sale.

Second, free publishing might be nice when they provide you with an ISBN, but it can really put limitations on your work. You should really save up and purchase your own ISBN, that way you can sell your manuscript through other distributors.
Third, you should never forget why you started writing. If you treat it like a day job then it will become a day job.
Now that I was committed to being a horror author with a growing fan base, I was faced with the hard realization. This is a full-time job itself, that doesn’t pay a full-time wage. For a moment I started to slip.I was needing help, so I turned to a Facebook group for promoting authors and asked for guidance.

I started to become discouraged with my sales and what was once fun started to become more like work that wasn’t paying off.

None of this testimonial is scripted or requested. Just honest feedback.
Shortly after I made my plea for help I was contacted by Colin Can Help. My hope was restored! I was given so many helpful tips, and once I followed through on the advice I had received my sales started to grow. I am still mainly focused on what writing and publishing does to my confidence and my overall happiness. But, I am also chasing after my own personal definition of more.
Eventually I’d like writing to be the only career I have, but for now, it’s the best second job anyone could hope for. Self-publishing is filled with connecting with people from across the world and networking opportunities that could bring you options you didn’t realize you had. The possibilities of how self-publishing could play out for you are endless.
Not all authors live a life of glamour to inspire us with a lifestyle filled with freedom to write. Most of us put in our 40 hours to a job that we may love or hate, we care for our family and spend time with our friends. Always counting down the hours until we are reconnected with those blank pages. We hope for the best, and dream of success, but we write because we have a story to tell.

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