Sunday, October 9, 2016

Yesterday was a turning point for me. As I sat in a room filled with accomplished authors, I realized I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to building my career. Oh, I have the author part down. I know how to write a book and publish it. Nine of them, in fact. What I don't know is the rest of it. How to effectively market myself and my stories. How to advance from someone who has a few books on Amazon to someone who makes a living from their job. And I do view this as my job. I work at it every day, including weekends, in some form or another. But it's become apparent to me that I'm not working effectively, I'm not seeing results, and that has to change.

I've been a published author for three years and I can honestly say that I see no difference career-wise since I began. In fact, in a way, it's worse now because when I published my first book, no one had ever heard of me. Three years later and it's virtually the same. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not crying 'poor me' or looking for validation. Every author out there who has become a recognizable name has earned it by busting their butt and working hard. And I'm not opposed to hard work. Not at all. I can put in the hours but it seems that all I've done with my time is spin my wheels.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I know that what works for one author doesn't work for the next. I've tried many different things that other people have suggested, most with no success, but I'm willing to learn and try and fail (although I only see it as failure if I don't try). I'm currently implementing suggestions that I've received from those who are further along than I am but past that, I have no idea what to do next.

I'm a person who doesn't do well with generalizations. For instance, to hear "you have to build the subscriber list for your newsletter" means nothing to me. I know I have to build it; what I don't know is how to build it effectively. I have a pop-up on my website, I have the sign-up form linked to my author page, I post about it now and again but I know there is more I can be doing. **Side note, I messaged an author last night who has an awesome subscriber list and she made some great suggestions. Thank you, Kathleen.** I'm the sort of person who needs to know the exact steps I should be taking to accomplish a goal and that's where things get sticky. Again, what works for one may not work for me. Also, I don't want other authors to think I'm 'cheating' off of their hard work. I'm okay with 'doing it' on my own - as long as I know what I should be 'doing'.

It's not enough to say "I've written a book and I want a career" and just expect it to happen. There's a broad distance between the two. I've wasted three years expecting that distance to diminish based upon the promotion work I've been doing and, if anything, it's broadened. But I'm not giving up. I've put in way too much time and energy to chuck it all. Plus, I love writing and I want to be financially able to keep it up for a very, very long time. I just have to find a way to become more business-minded and that's where I suck.

So, the point of this post? Catharsis, for one thing. The longer I hold stuff like this inside, the more I doubt I'll ever accomplish anything. Camaraderie, for another. I know I'm not the only author who feels this way so maybe by sharing this, someone else will recognize them-self in this post and make changes in their own course of action. Lastly, I'm always open to suggestions. I'm not as self-confident as I may appear. I need help - lots and lots of help. Because without a map, I can't get there from here.

Don't worry, I don't want what you have. It's yours. You've earned it. What I want is what I've earned. What I need is help knowing how to earn it.

Anyone have a GPS?

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