Career Steering

Like most new indie authors, I struggle with getting to where I want to be. When you start out, you have nothing. No book. No money. No fans. Building that base takes times, which is why a lot of people end up quitting before they realize their dreams of being a successful author.

When I first decided to self-publish, the first thing I did was start a designated bank account for publishing funds. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about becoming a business, I just wanted to stash money away to spend on covers and editing when I was ready for it.

Eventually, I ended up with two jobs. My full-time job and my part-time one immediately afterwards. I used the weekends to write and edit. Back then, I wasn’t as consumed with publishing as I am now.

At the time, my part-time job was the main source of funding for my publishing account. It wasn’t much, but it was something. I was frustrated by the molasses pace I was moving in, but the money (and the time) simply wasn’t available to me.

I thought I’d see some financial relief once I put out my first book. I wasn’t expecting to be topping any Amazon charts, but I was expecting at least weekly sales. Don’t get me wrong, the first two weeks were great for sales…and then they trickled off. I pushed my efforts to my next release, a holiday short story.

Two months after my first release, I left my second job. Along with it, my funding for publishing. By then, I had my second book ready for release, the following short story ready, and I was editing my third book. But I knew I didn’t want to shift my publishing schedule because even though I had freed up my evenings, I didn’t have the extra money to pay to produce books more frequently.

I thought about where I was and where I wanted to be. I could give in to the circumstances I was in and give up the publishing venture, or I could continue to move in the direction I wanted to go and give up some of that new found free time.

For a while, I had tossed around the idea of becoming a full-fledged publishing company. I even contacted a few prospective authors. But I realized that I didn’t want to lose focus of my books. If I took on other authors’ books at that moment, I would be working on their books, not mine.

But, what I could do was move a step forward in that direction without taking the jump just yet. Ease my way into it.

With my first book, I had formatted the print book using InDesign and even purchased the $700 program as an investment in my career. It was a severe hit to my funds at the time, but I knew it’d save me money on outsourcing my formatting.

With that in mind, I decided to begin taking on other authors’ books for print book formatting. I was simply expanding my business with an investment I had already made. The risk had been taking, it was just time for me to official “open the doors.”

Luckily, I got work right away. I knew how lucky that was and I was always a little fearful that suddenly I wouldn’t be able to grow a client base and I wouldn’t have any income to my publishing account then. That wasn’t the case. I worked through the entire backlist of that client and he referred me to another author. Meanwhile, I had two more authors contacting me through my website. All successful in their own rights and all looking to work with me on series.

That $700 investment has been made up several times over now. Formatting isn’t the sole source of funding for my publishing expenses, but it’s about 90% of it.

As an author, I’m not making much money. I’ve got changes coming to my release schedule that will hopefully change that. Even if the frequent releases don’t, expanding my catalog will help. Eventually, I’d like to see my income as an author make up the majority of my income. I’ll get there. Formatting has allowed me more financial freedom and because of it my micro-publishing company with an author of one might end up in the black this year.

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