Author Business & Publishing, Guest Posts, Writing & Publishing Articles

Guest Post: How to Sell Books by Allison Conley

Welcome back to this week’s special guest series by professional beta readers Annette Abernathy and Allison Conley of They’re offering writing tricks, providing advice on how to sell your finished book, and sharing their must-know items for new authors. Here are Allison’s book marketing tips!

beta witches guest post

Hello indie authors, this is your customer speaking. As an avid reader, beta tester, communications writer and copyeditor, I have literally read some of the best books out there and some of the worst books that I wish never made it out there. Every genre has been equal opportunity. I will buy your book as long as you tell me a good story period. However, you may have to work a little bit harder to reach the other bookworms who have not necessarily been in your shoes. Here are some tips for turning those black and white pages into green and white paper!

Sales equal sales. Through my journey as a sales and marketing manager I have figured out through practical application that discounted price points are the key. This can make or break your sales tremendously. When you are coming up with the price points for your book, make sure you incorporate some budgets for deep discount sales at he very beginning. Every customer loves to feel like they are getting something good for cheap. Many times me and my cohorts have bought a book online or in the bookstores because of the “today only .99” or the shiny neon starburst with 20% off. As a new and or independent author, you may not be able to afford to do this with out giving your product away and that is not the goal here. So set some good price point in the beginning and have some sales to draw attention to your books and get your customers buying.

Have a strong web presence for your books/brand. We live in an age where social media is king, queen and the entire royal court, so you must have a web site for your book at a minimum. If you have social media for your book, that equals more sales. Every digital community is a direct place to meet customers. If you put you product out there, someone will buy it. Use the site to give snippets of the book and where you will be promoting your book even if it is at the local library. (F.Y.I. most libraries have rooms you can reserve for such said occasions.)

This is a good place to segway into my next point. Use clever marketing tools. And yes, social media is one of them. Go live on Facebook about your new book and tell us that you just found an antique chest just like the one your heroine keeps her weapons in at a yard sale or that you have a Christmas cookie recopies inspired the frosty villain in your book and you will show us how to make it on You Tube. You don’t have to tell us your book verbatim but give us just enough to keep your book on our minds and keep it out there.

Make sure you make it easy for customers to pay you. Provide links to your website or other places where people can directly purchase your book.

Make sure you elevator story is on point. Yes this is your summary. You should be able to articulate this as fluently in person as it is on your cover or in the Amazon summary. As a communications specialist, I know the importance of getting your point across effectively and quickly. You only have mere seconds to get your reader/customers attention so you should be able to do this on paper and in person. Test it out on your family and friends who will not blow smoke up your behind and them hit the road with your act. Try it out in bookstores and literary conventions and any place you feel like you can get your point across. If you can grab you customers’ attention quickly you can turn it into a sale.

With these tips and trick you should be able to make some progress selling your books.

About Allison

Allison Conley has a B.A. in Mass Communication and Journalism from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a minor in Sociology. She finished the Seeding Entrepreneurs Across the Midsouth (S.E.A.M) program in 2016 for her work as an entrepreneur and artist in the greater Memphis Tennessee Area.

Genres Allison Beta Reads: Fantasy, Young Adult, Regency Romance, Romance, Erotica, New Adult, Contemporary, Christian Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Steampunk, Science Fiction, Thrillers/Mysteries, Horror

Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

Getting in the Money Mindset: A Basic Financial Plan for New Authors

Getting in the Money Mindset

Back when I first discussed my goal of full-time authorship (and again when I reflected on my first full year as a published author), a few readers expressed interest in learning more about my plan to become a full-time author. In short, I’ve had to realize that, if I want writing to be my job, I have to think of it like a business. This mindset shift marked a huge evolution in my writing life, and I’ve done my best to outline my thinking process in the article that follows.

First, I want to make a few disclaimers:

1. I am not an accountant or financial adviser. All advice given should be taken (preferably to a professional) with a grain of salt.

2. This post is meant for authors who want to make a full-time career in independent publishing.

3. This post is written in first-person, because it is based on my own experiences and rough financial plan at this early stage in my career.

4. My situation will not be the same as yours. Therefore, my plan will not work perfectly for you, and I cannot create a custom plan for you. However, the over-arching principles should be applicable to all. To that end …

5. This post is meant to be an outline of a basic financial plan. It will not cover taxes, financial tools/software, budgeting, or how to sell books.

6. Again, I’m not an expert. Advice, resources, and other tips are welcome and appreciated!

All good? Good.

A Simple, Small, Shoulda-Had-It-Months-Ago Epiphany

If you listen to any of the major independent publishing podcasts, the authors and creative entrepreneurs featured will give you the same basic advice: know your goal. Mine is to make a full-time living from my writing.

While I’ve had this goal for years now, I’m embarrassed to say it took me a long time to realize exactly what this meant for me and Boxthorn Press (my business). I’d always looked at the big picture – one day, my book royalties will be enough to live on. That’s great, but it’s not a magical switch that will flip.

What I finally realized was that my ultimate goal of full-time authorship depended on one thing: making money. (Duh, right?) Now, I want to clarify that I’m not a greedy cash-grabber. I love writing, and I have told stories since childhood, regardless of financial gain. That being said, I want to continue to write for the rest of my life – and I’d have a heck of a lot more time to write if it were my only job. So, that’s what I’m going to make happen!

Breaking Down the Steps to Profitability

The Ultimate Goal: Book royalties must cover operating expenses (what it costs to publish, business activities, and requisite state/federal taxes), plus produce a profit (excess money to create my salary and pay personal expenses).

Step One: Invest Personal Funds
Currently, I’m covering all publishing expenses with personal funds from my day job. By keeping track of these expenses, I know how deep Boxthorn Press is in the negative. (Fun fact: on average, a small business owner in any industry can expect to spend about five years in this phase.)

Step Two: Royalties Cover Operating Expenses and Taxes
Eventually, royalties from my published books will begin to cover the cost of producing and marketing new books. At this point, all funds are re-invested in the business (in place of my personal funds). This means that the business has NOT broken even (because the excess funds have not recouped my initial investment) and it is NOT profitable (because there are no excess funds beyond expenses and debt).

Step Three: Break Even
In this stage, my total book royalties (for the length of my career) will equal my total personal investment. From this point on, the business will be profitable.

Step Four: Profitability
The royalties from book sales will exceed the operating expenses and requisite state/federal taxes, and create a true profit. Once this profit can cover my personal expenses (rent, groceries, insurance, etc.), I can make writing my sole source of income.

Defining and Calculating Profitability

How long am I willing to wait to go full-time?
Because my husband will be in graduate school for the next several years, I’m taking a VERY long-term approach to full-time authorship. As the main breadwinner, I must have a steady income to support us. Therefore, my goal is to go full-time after he finishes school. Estimation: 2025 (8 years)

What is a full-time income?
To determine this number, I must take into account living expenses (which will depend on where and how we live), my husband’s potential income, and our savings (and desired future savings). Since we plan to settle in the Midwest, my husband will be a university professor, and we should have a healthy nest egg saved, my starting salary could be low. Estimation: $20,000 (after taxes)

What are my annual operating expenses and taxes?
Expenses will vary based on regular business activities and how many books I publish. Likewise, the amount of taxes I owe will vary based on how much actual profit my business makes. Estimation: $4,000 per year

How will my profits grow each year?
A tough number to estimate. The more products I have to sell, the more potential sales I can make. As my number of books and investment in marketing increase, so will my profits. Estimation: see chart below

How do I determine when I can go full time?
At the simplest level, here’s the equation: Royalties – Expenses = Desired Salary

That’s easy to calculate for one year. However, it gets a bit messier when I take into account the years of personal investment and negative profits. Note: this chart does not include taxes, for purposes of simplicity.

Annual Expenses: the real or estimated cost of publishing and marketing books
Annual Royalties: the real or estimated royalties received from my published books
Annual Profit: excess funds (royalties minus expenses) per year
Running Gross Profit Margin (GPM): total profits for the lifetime of the business

2018: Annual profit hits zero (step two above)
2020: Gross profit margin turns positive (step three above)
2025: Annual profit exceeds $20,000 (salary goal met!)

How to Meet My Financial Goals

Short-term: Hit monthly royalty goals
Because I’m a visual person, I like to break down my larger royalty goals by both time and assets (e.g. books). For example, this year I want to make $2,000 in royalties. By time, that’s $167 per month. By assets, that’s 80 ebooks (priced at $2.99, sold at Amazon’s 70% royalty rate). I do this for all products, price points, and royalty rates.

Long-term: Follow the chart
This was the biggest “Eureka!” moment for me. If I keep my expenses at/under $4,000 a year and meet/exceed my annual profit goals (and no personal tragedies strike), I WILL make enough money to be a full-time author by 2025.

Forever: Save for the unexpected
In any aspect of life, there will be things outside of my control. Maybe Amazon will change its royalty rates. Maybe a marketing promotion will lose tons of money. Maybe I’ll get hit with crippling medical bills. That’s why I’ve allowed myself a long timeline, over-estimated expenses, and plan to build up a healthy nest egg before making the leap. I suggest you do the same.

How to Speed Up the Process

Mathematically speaking, the only ways to reach my goal faster are to A) spend less than my estimated annual expenses or B) make more than my estimated annual profit.

There are about a million tactics that could help. For example, I could higher a cheaper cover designer, play with book pricing, invest in proven marketing services, or create an additional source of income (e.g. courses or editing services). As stated in the disclaimer, this subject is outside the scope of this post.


The road to full-time authorship is long and difficult and different for every writer. However, the basic, over-arching plan applies to all of us.

Figure out the salary you need to live comfortably – this is your goal. Then, weigh your annual expenses vs. your annual profit until you’ve recouped any personal investment. Continue until the annual profit (after taxes) meets your desired salary. Do everything in your power to meet these numbers. Repeat every year, for as long as it takes.

Then once you’ve become a full-time author? Well, I’ll let you know when I get there …

For more information on the business and financial aspects of authorship, I recommend Business for Authors by Joanna Penn. To learn more about taxes and other legal concerns, check out The Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook by Helen Sedwick.

Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

How to Get a Great Cover Design for Your Self-Published Book

Readers do judge books by their covers, and your cover is your #1 marketing tool. For new independent authors, acquiring a book cover is a thrilling, but daunting, task. Once your book has a cover, it looks like a “real” book. The cover is something tangible you can show your friends and family — I know for me, my book cover reveal was the moment when my loved ones realized I had actually written a novel.

So, how do you find a talented and affordable cover designer? And when you do find one, how do you ensure that you end up with a great design? I’ll cover (pun recognized, but not intended) all of that in this article.

First, I want to clarify my position on self-designed covers: unless you’re a skilled graphic designer or have ZERO budget to spend, designing your own book cover is an unwise decision. Self-publishing doesn’t mean that you do everything yourself. It means commissioning other professionals to do what you cannot. You wouldn’t try to fix your car’s transmission without any mechanical knowledge, right?

8 Science FictionSelect Your Strategy

In independent publishing, there are two ways authors approach book cover design.

1. Save Now, Upgrade Later
Authors on a budget will often get the cheapest cover they can afford, with the intention of upgrading it once the book starts to make money. This saves you upfront, but could harm sales by giving readers an unprofessional impression. This is what I have done with my nonfiction booklets (examples left and below).

2. Spend Now, Save Later
Authors who can (or want) to get the best cover available will do so from the very beginning. They will spend more and therefore lose money on their book upfront. The idea is that the professional cover will pay for itself over time and be the best marketing tool for the book. This is what I do with my fiction novels (examples below).

Find a Designer

11-anthologyThis is the hardest part of the cover design process. There are thousands of awesome (and not-so-awesome) designers out there. Where do you even begin? Well, here are my suggestions:

1. Set a budget
Cover design can get pricey, and you need that number set in stone before you fall in love with a design(er) you can’t afford. Consider how many books you would have to sell just to break even on the cover (let alone formatting, editing, etc.).

2. Ask around the community
Which designers do your author friends use? Does anyone in your friendship, family, or professional spheres do graphic design (a former coworker did my nonfiction booklets — for FREE)? What do members of forums or groups say?

3. Look at your favorite books
Browse Amazon (or your bookshelf) and pick out covers that fit with your genre or that appeal to you stylistically. Check the copyright page and/or acknowledgments for the designer. Some designers work for both traditional publishers and indie authors, so it’s always worth a look.

4. Search online.
That’s right: head to your favorite search engine and fire away. You’ll get flooded with options, but it’s worth doing the research: your cover is the FIRST impression readers receive of your book. Try searching for contests/awards also to find the top designers.

Choose a Designer

The Cogsmith's Daughter - Ebook SmallYou’ve used the strategies above and have found a promising designer. How do you decide if this designer is right for your books? Here are things to think about:

1. Check out the portfolio
Are the covers well done? Do they catch your eye as a reader? Are there examples that fit with your genre? For example, if all the covers have bare-chested male models, this designer may not be great for your post-apocalyptic thriller.

2. Check the pricing and packages
First off, do the services fit within your budget? Second, what are you getting for your money? Does the designer only do ebooks, or can you get paperback and audiobook covers too? Do they offer any marketing materials, like banners or bookmarks?

3. Look for pre-made covers
Sometimes, designers offer pre-made covers. These are designs they’ve done for fun, or designs from other projects that were rejected. They’ll be cheaper than a custom design, but you may be limited in the revisions you can make.

4. Consider the policies
If you are unhappy, do you get a refund? If so, how much is it?
What down-payment is required? When is final payment due?
How many revisions do you get? What constitutes a revision?
How long does it take to receive a first draft? Is there a waiting list?
Do you get all the rights to the cover? Are stock image fees included in the price?

5. Read testimonials and reach out to other authors
Find out who the designer has designed for and send them an email to ask about their experiences. Most authors will be happy to share.

The Design Itself

perf5.250x8.000.inddObviously, your cover designer should know how to bring your vision to life. But when you receive that initial draft, it’s important not to fall in love at first sight. The design may be gorgeous, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your genre or book.

1. Does the overall design communicate the genre?
Show the design to a few people. Can they tell what genre your book is and/or the tone it conveys? If your design were on your category page for Amazon, would it look out of place?

2. Do the fonts and coloring communicate the genre?
You probably won’t want “Chiller” for your romance novel. Nor would you want a fancy cursive for your horror book. Likewise, your thriller will need dark, gritty colors, while your children’s book will need vibrant shades. There are exceptions, of course, but they’re rare.

3. Are the images fighting each other?
Make sure your cover has a single image that stands out as the star. If there is too much going on, it’s going to look muddled.

4. Speaking of the image, is it clear as a thumbnail?
On retail sites, your cover will be tiny when it appears in a search. Is the imagery still clear and eye-catching at thumbnail size?

5. Will this design style work for other books in the series?
Series covers don’t need to be exact replicas of each other, but they need to have similar elements that connect them (fonts, basic layout, etc.). If your book is the first in a series, consider whether this basic design will work for future books, too. You can see examples of my series covers in this post.


And there you have it! Those are my best practices for finding a designer and receiving an awesome cover design. If you have any questions about the cover design process, or have any other tips to share, please leave them in the comments!

Note: this post was first written for my Writing Newsletter subscribers. If you’d like more writing and publishing advice like this (plus my FREE 100 Blogging Ideas for Fiction Authors PDF), sign up here.

Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

How to Handle Book Reviews: Good, Bad, and Ugly

read-1702616_640.jpgBook reviews are the lifeblood of books. A healthy rating encourages potential readers to buy, makes an author eligible for merchandising from retail sites, and improves a book’s overall ranking on those sites. However, if enough readers read your book, eventually you’re going to get a bad review (probably several). Those dreaded one-star ratings are the cost of exposure.

After hearing a few author horror stories on the subject of reviews, I wanted to provide a public service announcement of sorts. Sure, several other authors have written on this topic already, but just in case mine is the first you read (or you want another opinion), here is my advice for how to handle your book reviews: good, bad, or ugly.

First, it is important to remember that you are not your book. Reviews are a subjective reaction to your creative work and not you as a person. (We’ll get to the 1% in which this is not the case in a bit.)

Personally, I try not to read reviews (good, bad, or ugly). This is not to say that I don’t try to cultivate them, or that I do not appreciate them (Seriously, if you’ve reviewed one of my books, thank you!). However, I know myself. A bad review can temporarily shatter my confidence and ruin a whole writing day. That’s not worth it to me, my work, or my readers.

My solution? I have my husband check my reviews for me (once a week or so). If there’s a good review, he lets me know. If there’s a bad review, he distills it down to only the constructive criticism (and leaves out any rudeness), so that I can learn from the review, without being upset by it.

You have to decide what’s best for you. If you’re a sensitive soul like me, try getting a spouse, friend, or family member to be your review buffer. If you’re a tough cookie, read all you want. As long as reviews don’t over-inflate or deflate your ego, there’s nothing wrong with reading them.

So, that’s my general policy. Now let’s drill down into the specifics. For the purpose of this article, “good” reviews refers to positive reviews, “bad” reviews refers to critical reviews, and “ugly” reviews refers to hateful or personal reviews.


Good Reviews

Good reviews tell you two things: what readers like about your book and who likes your book. When you get a good review, take note of the reader’s praise and try to keep those themes in your writing. Also, do a little research on your reader. What other books have they liked or disliked? From their profile, do they fit within your target audience? These will tell you if your book is reaching the right market and give you an idea of where to advertise or how to promote your book in the future.

When I published my first novel, I checked my reviews often and responded to the positive ones (That’s all there is when only your friends and family are reading your book!) with a ‘like’ or comment on Goodreads. Now, I don’t respond to any positive reviews. It’s not that I don’t appreciate them (Again, I totally do — thank you!). It’s that A) I don’t want to offend anyone by accidentally skipping or not commenting on their review, B) it sets a precedent that I might also respond to neutral or bad reviews, and C) I really don’t have that kind of time. Note to my readers: if you want to have an actual dialogue about my books or receive a personal thanks, just shoot me an email via the contact page.

It’s worth noting that I have never responded to any reviews on Amazon or another online retailer. As a social network, Goodreads muddles the line, but on retail sites it is clear: do not respond to reviews. It’s unprofessional and the retail sites are likely to frown on it.


Bad Reviews

We all know these. They’re the ones that make us want to crawl under the covers or throw the laptop out of the window and never write again. But bad reviews can be good. Beyond providing you with constructive feedback, they tell other readers what this person did or didn’t like about your book, so that they can better judge for themselves. Your target audience can be persuaded by bad reviews (Is it full of cursing? Sounds up my alley!), and your non-ideal audience will be warded off (Sex? No way!), thus preventing another bad review in the future.

It is my policy to never respond to bad reviews. First off, I respect the reader’s right to their own opinion. Second, they’ve already “wasted” enough time with my book, they don’t need me saying anything to them.

Some authors make exceptions for this. For example, some will jump to defend a concept the reader clearly missed that could change their perspective of the book. Others will respond if a reader makes a factual error in the review. My professional opinion is to stay silent. Most times, you will only irritate the reader more, or never receive a response to your rebuttal anyway.

Here are a few other ways to react to bad reviews:

Remember, you are not your book. The conception of bad writing (or actual bad writing — let’s be honest, it happens) do not make you a bad person or unworthy creator. It just means you have more to learn. We all do.

Take comfort in that even the best books have bad reviews. This may come as a shock, but there are people out there who hate Harry Potter. I know, but it’s true. Go to the page of your favorite author and check out some of their book’s most scathing reviews. If they can survive it and have their work admired, so can you.

Go read some of your five-star reviews. Or social media comments or emails or whatever. Focus on the readers who get and love your work. They’re the ones that really matter.

Really need to respond to that disgruntled reader? Write a response and destroy it. Do this by hand so there is no temptation or possibility of posting it online. Craft your elegant defense or your childish slew of insults, then rip it up and throw it out. You’ll feel better without doing any damage to your professional image or online relationships. Venting to a trusted friend — NOT in online writers’ groups or forums — is another idea. Seriously, though, don’t put your gripes online. A) It can be found by readers. B) It still makes you look bad. C) Negativity will just bring other writers down. Don’t be that person.

If all else fails, I like to get existential. You are only certain of this one life. Is one person’s dislike going to keep you from pursuing your passion? I didn’t think so.


Ugly Reviews

These are reviews that make personal attacks on your character, threaten you, or which are given to your book because the reviewer has a personal vendetta against you. Luckily, these are super-rare, but they can happen. Again, I strongly encourage you not to respond. Instead, contact the website administrator and ask for the review to be removed. If the review is not about the book or makes explicit insults or threats, this should not be a problem. It cannot prevent the reviewer from repeating the attack from a different account, but it is the safest and most responsible course of action.

No matter what praise or criticism, your books receive, remember that you are not your books. Their success or failure does not reflect your character or personality. While writing ability is very personal, it can be improved over time with patience and practice. Whether in book review responses (don’t do it!) or anywhere else online, always be respectful and courteous to readers. And most importantly, never let anyone else keep you from writing. 

How do you handle the different types of reviews? What are your best practices for authors? Share your advice in the comments.

Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

My First Anniversary as an Author-Entrepreneur

Holding my book for the first time!

Although I wrote my first novel, The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1), nearly two years ago, this month marks the anniversary of its publication and what I consider to be my first year as a published author and entrepreneur. Is the writing life everything I thought it would be? Yes and no.

Before choosing independent publishing, I did extensive research into the field. I knew that one book (or two, or ten) is not enough to make a full-time living as an author. I held no illusions about being a break-out success or breaking even on my initial investment in one year (Across industries, small businesses take an average of five years to earn a profit.). While some authors reach these milestones within the first year, and while I have tallied many of my own proud accomplishments, short-term success has never featured in my goals. I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can build my author career slowly. Currently, I’m 24 and a half years old. I want to be a full-time author on my 30th birthday. I think that is realistic and obtainable.

At this point, my career as an author-entrepreneur must be my second financial priority. With my husband in graduate school, I am the primary breadwinner for our family, and my day job must come first. In order to continue publishing books, I make sacrifices and set aside a budget for publishing expenses. Sometimes I miss those little luxuries (like binge-watching Netflix all Saturday, or dyeing my hair every three months), but the short-term sacrifices are worth the long-term gain. If I’ve learned anything from being an author-entrepreneur, it’s how to think days, months, and years into the future simultaneously.

Chai tea = writing fuel

When I first declared myself an author and established Boxthorn Press, I focused heavily on blogging and bringing together a supportive community of writers and readers. I cannot recommend this highly enough. Through writing and reading blogs, I’ve made some of my best friends, as well as many valuable business connections. I still want to provide helpful posts and engaging content for my fellow writers and readers, though I’m starting to realize that my blog needs to take a backseat to creation. Over time, my posting schedule has declined from five days a week to three to two, and I think this has been a healthy shift for my productivity.

Perhaps the most difficult experience I’ve had as a writer is dealing with criticism. I know my books aren’t perfect. On the fiction front, I have a long way to go as a storyteller (If I didn’t, that wouldn’t make for a very fun career!), and I’ll be the first to admit that my nonfiction booklets have been crafted on a shoestring budget. I know everyone will not like, understand, or appreciate my art, and negative attention is the price of exposure. Bad reviews and hurtful comments only strengthen my own self-doubt and internal editor, but luckily, I have the perfect antidote …

You. My readers and writing friends who are reading this right now. If you had told me one year ago the amount of support and encouragement and caring I would receive from the outside world, I would have laughed. But it’s entirely true. My readership is small but mighty. Those who enjoy my novels (and booklets) have shown an outpouring of support in reviews, social media shout-outs, and yes, monetary support. Without all of you, I would have a damn difficult time blocking out those negative voices and zero chance of achieving my dream of full-time authorship within the next five and a half years. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Without spoiling my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions, I want to wrap up this post by addressing my goals for the future. My creative mentor (from afar, that is), Joanna Penn, talks about measuring your life in Olympic periods (and writes an inspiring reflection post each year). If you judge your progress by one year, it may not seem like a lot has happened. However, over the course of four years, so much more can change.

Finishing my second book (aka the first is not a fluke!).

From late 2016 to late 2017, I want to focus on creation and diversification. I’ll put out a new book (hopefully two!) in the Desertera series, but I’d also like to expand the novels I have into audiobooks and perhaps foreign translations. At the same time, I’d like to start planning and writing my second series in the background, so that it is ready to publish when it is time to wrap up Desertera. With my nonfiction, I hope to begin a full-length book and perhaps diversify the products I already have.

Over the next Olympic period? I’d like to have two complete fiction series under my belt and available in all English formats (ebook, paperback, and audiobook) and perhaps another language or two in ebook format. I would also like to have two or three full-length nonfiction books, so that other writers can learn from my mistakes and accomplishments. I’d also like to expand my author-entrepreneurship into other avenues, such as course creation, author services, or perhaps something more social like podcasting. Hopefully, Boxthorn Press will be making a profit and heading to a place in which it can replace my day job.

You know what the craziest part is? I don’t think this is all a pipe dream. I’ve researched the industry, studied successful indies, crafted a basic financial plan, and have picked apart my every strength and weakness. While success is not fully in my power (I’m still beholden to my readers, after all.), I hold 90% of the cards. If I keep learning and working, I know I can make my dream a reality.

Two years ago, I started scribbling down an outline in a notebook and praying that I could achieve my biggest dream of writing a novel. One year ago, I hit the publish button and achieved my new biggest dream of becoming a published author. Today, I’m telling you that I want to achieve my newest biggest dream of being a full-time author by age 30.

Can I do it? Well, stick with me and let’s find out together.