How Not to be a Successful Author

zombie, hallowe'en, costume
The original cover of my first published book

I’m embarrassed to admit it’s creeping close to a decade now since I self-published my first book. If everything had gone according to my grand design, I’d be sitting on a beach, sunglasses on to shield against the sun’s glare off the screen of my laptop, a margarita close at hand, as I churned out another novel without a care in the world save for what fresh hell I was going to put my characters through.

Suffice it to say that things have not gone exactly according to plan.

As I’m sure you are all aware, life has this habit of getting in the way, messing up our best thought out itineraries in favour of whatever crap it chooses to throw at us. The lives of readers and writers are not so different.

And that’s the end of the excuses.

The truth of it all is that the world of publishing is a business and, if you’re not willing to put in the work, you’re not going to find success (and when I say you, I obviously mean me). I’ve always been able to put in the writing work (able as in I can write, not necessarily able as in actually doing it), but the drive to learn and do the business aspects of writing have eluded me. After all, I am an artiste, oui?

It’s a sobering thing when you wake up one day ten years later and think about all the lost time. How often have I thought: “what might be different had I taken the business portion more seriously from the start?” Too often. But the good news is, it’s never too late to change.

In the last couple of months, I’ve started learning about proper advertising and promotion. I’ve been looking closely at my work (both already out and what’s coming up), and I have developed a renewed vigour for the craft. Basically, since I have done such a good job of not being a successful author, I have decided to have a go at the other side of the coin to see what happens.

The cool short story collection you get when you sign up for my newsletter

What can you expect? More engagement, to start. That will be in the form of blog posts, newsletters (if you want to sign up for my newsletter here, you can download a book of my short stories for free), and social media (hook up with my author page on Facebook here, find me here on Instagram, and I’m here on twitter).

Another mistake I’ve made is taking too long in between releasing books. It’s hard to gain momentum when too much time passes (unless your name is George RR Martin, I suppose, though I believe many fans of A Song of Ice and Fire are nearing the ends of their tethers). To put a stop to that, I finally released the fourth book in the Small Gods epic fantasy series in March, book 5 comes out April 15th, and the final installment hits the electronic shelves on May 15th (if you want to check out what the heck a Small God is, you can pick up book 1, When Shadows Fall, on Amazon). I am also currently writing the fourth book in my Icarus Fell urban fantasy series and I started writing another epic fantasy.

You are probably all asking yourselves “What can I do to help?” Here’s a quick list, in case you need suggestions (and these don’t apply to me exclusively…you can follow this recipe to support any independent author you enjoy):

  1. Read my books
  2. Leave reviews of the books you have read
  3. Tell other people to read my books
  4. Sign up for my newsletter–getting free short stories in process, don’t forget–and keep up-to-date on everything I’ve got going on
  5. Follow me on social media
  6. Like and share my social media posts
  7. Did I mention read my books?

I truly believe that, if we all pull together, we have a good chance of making me a successful author, fulfilling all of our wildest dreams.

That’s what we all want, right?


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