For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on something new with my YA fiction.
But what’s really exciting is that, for the first time ever, I’m going into this writing project with some specific business goals and an entirely new mindset.
If you’re in the same boat as me, where you’ve been in this indie publishing game for a few months or a year, and you’re still not seeing the sales that you want, then stick around because you’ll definitely find this helpful.
So let me give you a little bit of background on all of this, and if you’re new, you can also find out a little bit more about me.
I started writing in 2011 while I was on the brink of becoming a parent and also student teaching. I wrote my first book during NaNoWrimo that year. It was a complete heap of garbage, and I never did anything with it.
I wrote my first real book in 2012, and after much work on it, I finally hit publish on New Year’s Eve 2013.
Nine months later, I hit publish on my next book in that YA romance series. Over the course of 18 months, I made practically zero money off of my books.
It wasn’t until 2015 when I relaunched my YA romance series that I finally started to sell some books. I got new covers and book descriptions among some other things plus a new release, and I've been making anywhere from $300 to $1000 a month since then.
So when I was making pennies, literally, it really sucked. And when I finally did start making a little bit of money, I was ecstatic about it, and I knew real success could actually happen for me. I was on the right path.
Why I’m Ready to Take My Author Business to the Next Level
Here’s the thing, though.
I’ve published 8 books total. Seven of them are up for sale (one I use as a reader magnet).
So 8 books across two series since 2013, and I’m still making the same amount of money.
This is really frustrating.
Part of it has been my fault and my circumstances with having a teaching job, having another baby, burning out, and not always being able to publish consistently or market consistently. If I had been able to do those two things, I know I’d be making more money by now.
In fact, my overall income has even decreased due to all of this. Doing this indie publishing thing while having kids and a family and a job and doing some freelance editing on the side hasn’t been easy.
This is the first big reason I’m not making more money from my fiction. And why I quit my teaching job and cut out a ton of other things in my life to make room for the two things I love the most: my business and my family.
Another reason that I haven’t made more money as an author is that I’ve always written primarily for love, even if I didn’t always realize it.
Of course, since the beginning, a huge reason I got into indie publishing was that I wanted to write and share my books with the world and actually make money doing it.
I never thought, I don’t care if I never make a penny out of this. Of course, I wanted to make a living at this. Who wouldn’t?
But at the same time, the books I’ve written in the past have never been written with any kind of business or marketing forethought. I’ve always just written the stories I had in my head and paid attention the most to what I wanted to write.
Which is great. I think I’ve come a long way as a storyteller because of that.
But I’m also ready to take my author business to the next level and write for love AND money.
What I’m Going to Do About it
So to be clear, what I’m working on right now is still something I really want to write, but now I’m going into it with a whole new mindset. And that mindset is writing to market.
I read Chris Fox’s book Write to Market when it first came out, but I didn’t take action on anything until now because I was already working on two other series at the time. Now I’m ready to take his advice and really give this writing to market thing a serious try. I’ve also learned a lot about storytelling and marketing since then.
So this is my plan.
My next series (and probably all of my series from now on) will be written to market. Because I’m ready to make some serious money at this writing thing. Like Chris mentions in the book, I’m going to find that intersection between what I really want to write and what readers really want to read.
And all of this kind of takes me back to 2011 when I decided it was now or never with this writing thing. It was October, I was pregnant, and I was student teaching, and I had always, always wanted to write a book. Create my own story.
But I never had the courage to. Until that moment.
And I did it. I wrote my first book. It was horrible, and my first real book came later, but I learned so many lessons that November, the most important one being that I could actually be a writer, if I just wrote.
I haven't stopped since then. Like I said, I’ve published two YA contemporary romance series since then.
I’m writing another YA romance, but this time, I intend to sell tons of books, find way more readers, and make some real money.
According to Chris’s book, it’s a hungry genre, and one I can succeed in. I’m excited because I’ve built up a small fanbase for myself already. Some readers are already familiar with me or see my books in the charts for the YA contemporary romance category pretty often. I have a mailing list. I’m not coming in new. So I have an advantage there.
But I am also coming in smarter this time. I’m taking the time to really study the top books in the category, learn the tropes, and what readers expect. I’m already learning a lot.
I’m literally going step by step in Chris’s book, taking lots of notes, and doing lots of studying and reading on what’s working in this genre so I can hit it out of the park with my next series.
I’m really excited to see what happens in the next several months. I think you’ll learn a lot from this too because I’ll be sharing updates on how everything is going as I do it, whether it’s a failure or success.
Expect an update at least once a month, or maybe once a week, depending on what part of the process I'm at.
But I am going to tell you that I’m going to be sharing everything with you, and I hope that it turns out to be a huge success.
I’m ready to be a big name in YA romance, and I’m ready to be making four or five figures a month, even more, from my fiction.
Why Part of This *IS* About the Money
This is important, although maybe not how you think. Again, I’m not writing anything that I’m not absolutely in love with. That’s not why I started doing this six years ago.
But validation is also important to me. Making money at this, a real living, is part of that validation for me.
Making my own money has always been hugely important for me. And earning a living with what I love to do is important to me.
Right now I have a wonderful husband who brings home the bacon for us, but I’m ready to provide for our family again as well. When I was in school, he was paying the bills. Then I was a part-time teacher for three years, which meant he was still paying most of the bills. Haha.
Not to mention he works a ton of hours, and it’d be great if he was around more.
Plus it’s about time my husband got to take some time off of work to pursue his own goals and dreams. He wants to go back to school and maybe start his own business. And I wholeheartedly want to be there for him in every way, like has done for me.
Another reason I want to make at least four figures a month off of my fiction is that I want financial freedom for our family. I don’t want money to be an obstacle or worry for us. I want us to pay off our debt, create a nice cushion of savings, and give our daughters more than we had growing up.
So yeah. That’s why the money part of this is also important to me.
Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts, answer your questions, or hear any tips you might have. So drop them in the comments.
If you don’t want to miss any updates on this write to market experiment, make sure you sign up for my mailing list on the homepage.
I’ll let you know about any video updates plus you’ll also get any extra inside looks at what’s working and what’s not before I share it with anyone else.
Thanks for joining me on this journey to becoming a six-figure author!