Being a self-published author is not a choice for most authors. Rather, it’s a fallback option for authors who are ignored or rejected by the publishing establishment – literary agents and traditional publishers.
It costs money to self-publish I found out. I spent close to $20,000 to self-publish my books. I spent another $50,000 for PR companies, publicists, book promotions, book giveaways, travel (speaking engagements), website revamping/tweaking, and many other costs, too painful to recount.
I’ve been a self-published author since 2008. My first book, Rich Habits. went on to become an Amazon bestseller in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia and India. Two subsequent books also went on to become bestsellers. One of them, Rich Kids, even won an award from Writer’s Digest, a well-respected trade publication for writers.
But, none of my success came easy. I encountered many obstacles, yet, despite all the obstacles, I persevered. I learned that success in the author business requires daily dedication. In defense of publishing establishment, they know most self-published authors won’t do the things they need to do in order to succeed. Those few who are committed to becoming successful authors, do three things every day for many many years.
The Three Daily Habits of Successful Authors
- Write Every Day – I write between one to five hours every day.
- Read Every Day – I read no less than one hour every day. Some days two to three hours.
- Promote Every Day – I promote myself and my work no less than two hours a day. Oftentimes three or more hours.
Writing every day hones your craft. You get better every time you write. I started a blog in 2009 and I write every day. Practicing your craft every day is the only way to improve and perfect your writing skills.
Reading every day equips you with new information that you can use in your writing. Reading also generates ideas you can use in your writing.
Promoting involves pitching the media relentlessly in order to get them to interview you or to notice you. I relentlessly tweet the media and influencers every day. I tweet-pitch them so much that some block me from tweeting them. I’ve been blocked by some of the best in the media industry. I’ve also been blocked by some literary agents and publishers. I now consider it a badge of honor to be blocked. It means I pushed too hard. I’d rather push too hard than not hard enough.
In my opinion, promotion is the most important part of the author business. Specifically, media promotion. One article or one interview with the right media outlet can result in thousands upon thousands in book sales. I know. It’s happened to me many times.
The first time it happened was with Yahoo Finance in 2013. At the time, I had very few book sales. Yahoo reached out to me in response to one of my tweets. The tweet included a link to one of my blog posts. That blog post caught the eye of Farnoosh Torabi, at the time the host of Yahoo’s award-winning show Financially Fit.
A few months after my tweet to Farnoosh, I had a five person Yahoo TV crew in my office for a series of interviews. When the interviews were released a month later, one got the attention of Dave Ramsey, the number three radio host in the U.S. at the time. Dave interviewed me for thirty minutes on his live radio show. I sold nearly 10,000 books in a three week period thanks to Yahoo and Dave. A month after my interview with Dave, Bob Dumas, a producer for CBS, reached out to interview me. That CBS interview ran in seven CBS affiliates across the U.S. and in parts of Canada. I sold a few thousand books thanks to that interview.
On a good week, I’m in the media five or more times. To date, my books, research and content has been published by the media in 27 countries.
One of those countries was China. Someone at China South Media, the sixth largest publisher in the world, read one of my published media articles, researched my body of work and liked what they found. In 2017 I signed a publishing agreement with China South for two of my books. That contract included a significant advance.
There are 500 million people in the middle-class in China. The way I see it, that’s 500 million people who can afford to buy my books. I did it. It took eight years, but I did it. Never quit on your dreams.