Unless you have met me, you probably don’t recognize my name. Neither of my two published books have flown to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. I don’t have thousands of people reading my blog. In fact, my new marketing strategy for Christmas just might be: “My books make great gifts because there’s a 99% chance the readers in your life haven’t read them yet.”
I say this in fun. I’m not bitter. I am very excited about the success of my two books. When I self-published, I didn’t have a webpage, a Twitter account, or a blog. I knew nothing of social media. Despite that, I have been building a group of super fans who are begging for more and have had a good amount of sales.
And I’m so glad my first book didn’t become a bestseller.
Yes, you read that right.
I thank God every day that my journey to success is slow and steady.
1. My journey has showed me ways to save money.
As a self-published author, I am responsible for the cover design. In a never ending quest for exposure, I agreed to write a guest post comparing Independence Day to self-publishing. I decided I needed to follow the blog as a way to thank the host for letting me write a post. A few months later, the blog featured a cover designer. Her covers were amazing. When I contacted the designer, she gave me a discount and the price she quoted was a fraction of the cost of what I had previously paid!
2. My journey mirrors the tortoise and not the hare.
Dave Ramsey, a money-management expert and popular national radio personality, says that one of the main reasons business fail is that they get too successful too quickly. They can’t handle the demand, they make poor mistakes, and their business crashes. According to him, most of the successful businesses take time to grow, make mistakes, and learn the lessons needed.
Be the tortoise. One step at a time. Learn the lessons you need. Take another step. Sell more books. Build it better, not bigger.
3. My journey has given me time to find my voice.
In the years since I have started writing, I see improvement in my writing. I’m bolder and go deeper into the character. Just recently I tried first person. I fell in love with how just changing I for he transformed my writing.
Not having had overnight success, I have been given time to flex and experiment in my writing career. It’s not just my writing voice that I’m talking about here. I also have gained a quiet confidence. When I was in the process of writing my first book, people would ask me “How do you write a book?” My response was to laugh and say I’d let them know when I finished. I didn’t feel like I could answer that question without the experience. I have the experience now.
I know what I want my career to look like. I know what my future books will be about. I know this is my career.
4. My journey has given me dear friends.
As a self-published author, I can get a little lonely. Last year I created a group on Facebook called Indie Christian Authors. I didn’t realize when I started it how much the people would come to mean to me. We exchange prayer requests, promote each other’s book, seek and give advice, laugh at jokes, and share weekly goals to help focus our careers. However, these are not my only friends. I have met so many other people along the way who have become dear to me, and I thank God for the opportunity to be blessed by them.
Do you find yourself fretting over your sales? Longing to experience that huge success? Relax! Be the tortoise and find the reasons that God may have led you down this road. And remember…don’t wake the hare when you pass him!