In Chapter 7 of his book “Maximum Achievement,” Brian Tracy tells a story of his awakening to his own “Master Decision” in his early 20’s.
He finally realized, after much failure in his young life, that his ultimate success and happiness in life was totally up to him. As he recounts his epiphany:
… It suddenly dawned on me that everything that I would ever become was completely up to me. No one else was going to do it for me.
Even he wasn’t sure who originally said this quote, but it perfectly sums up what he and legions of others must conquer if they want to be successful: “True maturity only comes when you finally realize that no one is coming to the rescue.” (Page 200-201, “Maximum Achievement,” by Brian Tracy, published by Simon & Schuster)
That statement has stuck with me for the past 20 years since I first read it, and I hope it sticks with you too.
Far too many indie publishers and self-published authors seem to want somebody else to do the heavy lifting of marketing and promotion. I think it’s a good thing for authors that now they have to be responsible for all the things traditional publishers have promised to take care of in the past: proofreading, editing, printing, cover design, promotion, book tours, TV and radio interviews, cash advances to take the financial pressure off so an author can focus on writing. Those services are ‘pay-as-you-go’ these days as authors who choose to go it alone must take on tasks related to the business-side of writing.
Reminding yourself that “Nobody is coming to rescue me” is the first step to your accepting complete personal responsibility for your own writing and publishing career.
Another book, “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle, relates one of his stories about the Indian philosopher and teacher J. Krishnamurti, who told an audience his secret for happiness: “I don’t mind what happens.”
If you take this approach every day, reminding yourself, “I don’t mind what happens,” you’re likely to enjoy the moment, the space you are in, the journey you are on, the goals you are achieving when things go right, the lessons you are learning when things go wrong. When you don’t mind what happens, you are free to express your creativity and go with the flow of reality.
So, armed with these two approaches to finding your own way to success, happiness and contentment as a self-published writer seeking to sell more Kindle Books, take time to reflect on them when you wonder what to do next: First, telling yourself, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” And, next, taking the pressure off by telling yourself, “I don’t mind what happens.”
Third, it’s up to you to take action. No, like I’ve said before, you can’t do everything at once; but, you can do something at once. You can do ONE THING at once. Choose the “Next Thing” that you need to do, throw your whole self and attention and imagination into it, and never mind what anyone else things about it. Don’t allow your own fear of being judged by others stop you. Don’t allow your own fear of failure — or your own fear of success — stop you. Nobody will rescue you, and none of it matters. So do what you want with your writing, your books, your life. You’re free to express who you are and how you feel about it.
Like I said at the beginning, you are now totally responsible for selling your books to your readers. And that’s good. Get busy.
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Photo by khunaspix, and used with permission from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I realize some authors are dissatisfied with their results after publishing their book to Amazon Kindle. For my own case, I’m amazed that I’ve earned so much for so little time invested. Sure, I’d love to earn more from my Kindle Books. Who wouldn’t? But when you factor in how I wrote almost all my books in my ‘Instead Of’ time — the time I would have been watching TV re-runs or reading a book or napping — it’s hard to believe I receive royalty checks all the time for work I did so long ago.
It was nearly 3 years ago when I got the crazy idea to write down what I’d learn about selling used books online and publish it as a digital ebook with KDP. It was the end of 2011. I wrote it MS Word. I started with a list of things I wished I knew when I started out, and I “fleshed out” the manuscript with lessons learned along the way.
The book took a few weeks to write; I didn’t spend enough time editing and proofreading the text; I made a lousy book cover in less than 1 hour using Microsoft Publisher because it came free with MS Office. Yes, I am that much of a cheapskate. I had very little belief that the book would sell. So writing it in my “Instead Of” time cost me nothing, publishing it on KDP cost me nothing, my lack of proofing and poor book cover cost me nothing. I clicked on “Publish” and I got a dribble of clicks for the next couple of months. My first royalty check was less than $20. But I was thrilled to get it. Since then, that amount has risen and fallen from month to month. I’ve published about a dozen titles since then. But that first book remains my bestseller.
How much of my ‘Instead Of’ time did I invest? Maybe 50 hours. Maybe more, maybe less. I won’t count in the next four revisions I’ve done once readers complained of typos and poorly formatted pages. I won’t count in the $5.00 I spent on Fiverr getting a professional ebook cover created (the same one I’ve used for the past 2 years) that immediately boosted book sales. I won’t count the time it spent to offer my book for free via my first test of KDP Select, where I gave away over 1800 ebooks and had a boom of in sales the very next month. So, for 50 hours of writing, editing, formatting and publishing my first book on Amazon Kindle, I’ve earned thousands of dollars from those hours. Yes, thousands of dollars, for doing what I love to do rather than what I usually do.
Thousands of dollars for 50 hours (more or less) of turning what I know into step-by-step instructions on how others can duplicate my success. You can do the math and decide for yourself if it was worth my spare time or not.
For me, I believe it was.
I quickly made plans — and I still am working on those plans — of writing and publishing more non-fiction titles over the next five years to increase my monthly self-publishing income. I intend to earn $100 a day by the time I retire early at 62. That will be $3,000 a month in royalties on top of my retirement plan income. When I retire, I intend to have $36,000 a year in KDP income plus paperback royalties from Amazon’s sister website, CreateSpace.com. All because of turning my spare time into writing time, and turning my writing into income. Like I said before, turning what I know into automatic monthly income for life.
All my titles will be in various non-fiction categories. That’s what comes natural for me. If you prefer fiction, get busy. Turn your own ‘Instead Of’ time into ebooks and paperback books that will sell and pay your royalties for years to come. No, you might not get rich and hit the New York Times or USA Today bestseller lists. But you’ll earn way more month after month this way than if you’d watched yet another TV re-run or a movie you’d already seen before.
Expect to win. Get busy. Start up the engine of your imagination. If I did it, you can too.
And, if all my sales on my first book ended tomorrow, I’d be thankful.
Then, I’d be busy… turning off the TV and getting with it, cranking out another book.
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