Motivation Monday -- An Control Freak's Story
Today's story is about an author who also took the scenic route to success. She'd wanted to be a writer from the time she was young but didn't for a multitude of reasons -- time, marriage, family, illness -- she let it fall to the wayside. She went to college and got a bachelor's and master's degree in theology--so she was a thinker. And she used all that great knowledge to open up...a photography studio?
Yes, you read that correctly. A photography studio. See, she knew she was artsy but she didn't embrace her calling. As far as I can tell (it's HARD to find out a lot of background), she's had a number of illnesses and a ton of medical bills. But she was the breadwinner in the family and so ran her photography studio...until it was time to get back to writing.
She wrote her first book in that genre and decided to self publish.
Well, at first she went the traditional route, but she pulled the book back and decided to do it on her own. As a business owner, she had a lot of marketing experience so she decided that hers was as good as anyone else's. She trusted herself and went for it. She ran her own business. Wrote her own books. Created her own covers. Published her own books.
Now...she's quite the artiste! So, of course, she created these self-indulgent artsy covers to sell her books. Sound familiar? (i.e., me? Mine weren't artsy but they were self indulgent). But her books didn't sell as well as she hoped they would. *Ahem* As she looked back on it, when people looked at her books, it was hard to tell what genre she was writing in. *Ahem* (Sorry...had to clear my through. Reality got stuck in it.). People had no clue about what they were buying. The back cover copy didn't match the cover -- so who would trust this? Not many people.
So she invested the time and money to completely rebranded her covers from beginning to end. Then she did a big book promotion.
And it worked.
Within months, she was on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Number ONE, I might add. Bumping off authors like Nora Roberts.
Her name is H.M. Ward.
She has since gone on to 5 million copies of her books.
And what's more? She's still an indie author. She's been offered traditional deals -- refused! She's been offered movie option deals -- refused!
Why? Because she's a self-admitted control freak. And she can be...because she's selling A LOT of books.
And she's still riding high and doing her own thing--writing YA and in that HOT New Adult genre. And paying all of her bills. Yes!!
What did I learn from her story?
1. Covers. Covers. Covers. Titles. Titles. Titles. Now I don't YET know whether the right covers will guarantee any significant success. But what I do know is NOT having the right covers that confuse readers to the point they don't know what your books are all about -- you will surely fail. *Ahem. By having the right covers, titles, and back cover copy, you at the very least remove these factors as barriers to success.
2. Traditional publishing ain't for everyone. Not everyone is looking for a book deal. Not everyone is looking for a movie deal. Given my experience, I don't know which road I would take. What I will say is this--wouldn't it be GREAT to have the choice??? Especially now that I have SO MUCH experience and I've seen so much good and bad in both.
3. If you're already writing in New Adult, then write on! The field seems very hot.
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