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How Rookie Indie-Authors Achieve Success on a Limited Budget

Did you all miss me?

Yes, I took a one month hiatus in the middle of winter. Hibernation, so to speak. Er…not really. Spent a lot of time editing for the final book in the Original Lord of Columbia Trilogy entitled Missing in Columbia which will be out soon….very soon. Also, I was hard at work on my affiliate blog and of course, Lord of Columbia Series blog, but I didn’t forget about My Freedom Flame.

So, last month I spoke of how indie-authors can create a plan and today I hope to expand on the subject as to how rookie indie-authors can achieve success on a limited budget. I know a lot of us are doing the following:

1. Working a day job they’d rather be without.

2. Drowning in debt.

3. Refinancing or flat out defaulting on loans.

4. Have this urge to succeed in writing but we don’t know how we can build a business without capital.

Don’t worry, I’m here to give you some advice.

Want to know a secret?

Just a few months ago I was down to my last seven-hundred dollars, so I can relate to your pain.

I joined the Wealthy Affiliate Community and learned to blog. I learned how to at least get my site’s name into Google and Bing search engines. It was a cheap investment that started at a measly $19 a month; best nineteen dollars I’ve ever spent.

In fact, it taught me a lot of cool stuff and guess what?

You too can succeed on a limited budget.

As I’ve mentioned before, I also joined the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild in November 2017, which transformed my writing one-hundred-fold. His Guild isn’t open at the moment as it’s only open for a limited time throughout the year, but if you have a shot to join, I suggest you join.

Want to go inside the numbers?

Wealthy Affiliate costs me $585/year, and if I decide to go annual, $359/year.

Jerry’s Guild cost me $370 for the year.

So, we’re looking at a grand total $955 total throughout the year.

Throughout twenty-three months if I were to combine the two.

No, you don’t have to invest thousands in courses, so if you’re on a limited budget, follow me down the list here.

 

Invest in a Cost-Effective Book Cover

Did you know all three of my book covers for the Lord of Columbia Original Trilogy are pre-made?

The cover for Northern Knights cost $85. Ditto for Missing in Columbia. Swords of Destiny cost $95.
Grant total of $265.

What?

You don’t have that much, either?

No worries.

Back when I was vetting for a book cover, and you will vet, believe me, I came across a few that were as low as $30, so you can definitely find something to fit your budget here.

I would not hire someone from Fiverr for a book cover as I’ve seen them and you’d be better off making one for free, which you can do if you go to Canva. However, I recommend you not use Canva to create covers for books you plan to sell. Freebie e-books are fine, but not paid books.

 

Learn How to Self-Edit

While hiring a professional editor would be top-notch, they can charge as much as .02 cents a word. Had I hired someone to edit Northern Knights, it would’ve cost $1,600. Some of the better ones charge more, as much as a nickel per word. Yikes!

Most of us don’t have that kind of cash, but don’t worry, because self-editing really isn’t that hard once you learn tricks to the trade.

Which is why I recommend the Guild, something I tried myself and enjoyed learning. Okay, I enjoyed learning some new stuff after I found that the first drafts of Northern Knights sucked, but still.

Take your pick: $370/year, or $1,500+ per book edit.

Again, for those of us on a budget, we have to be smart with our money.

$1,500 is a little much.

At the very least, invest in a book that teaches self-editing.

Whatever you do, don’t use this blog or any other free source of information as your only information. We can teach you some, but the best thing to do is always, always, always find a mentor; even a virtual mentor.

Grammar Checkers Don’t Break the Bank

Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid are my two favorites. Grammarly is the one I have built into my laptop and it’s saved me countless times. I really never go a day without it.

On the other hand, Pro Writing Aid does have a freebie tool on its site and if you have any questions, Pro Writing Aid has the answers. It’ll tell you if your writing is fast or slow-paced, whether you used too many glue words, and much more. It gives you sentence length, word frequency, and if you’re running a chapter of fiction through it, how much unnecessary back story you’re using up.

Grammarly is my top choice due to the fact it’s readily available and will point out errors within seconds. It catches things other grammar checkers can’t and it’s free to install.

So, if you’re self-editing, take your grammar to the next level here with Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid, as in time, you will thank yourself. It’s one thing to self-edit to make the work interesting, but it’s a completely different ballgame when it comes to finding you forgot to put ‘the’ where it’s needed, ‘a,’ or any similar word.

 

Book Promotion is Fairly Priced

Books Butterfly has a Silver Eagle campaign running for $50. JustKindleBooks, one I used last December, has an $18 package. Book Runes costs a simple $25.

I’ll never tell you to invest in promotion I haven’t personally used. I’ve used all three and I plan on using more in time.
The above equals a grand total of $93. Three cheap promo packages sold me a grand total of nearly 600 copies of Northern Knights on its free days. It didn’t really come out of the wash, but for $93, I’ll take it.

As a rookie indie-author on a limited budget, I’ll really take it. Especially when my KENP has steadily increased, meaning in time, the promo may end up paying for itself.

Even if you don’t have the budget for $93, there are other options as well. I’ve come across bknights, which is a Fiverr-based promo site that charges $5-$10 for basic promotion. Per Reedsy, they’re a good deal. I’ve never tried them when it comes to freebies, but it shows what can be done even on a small budget.

 

My Investments

Okay, so I joined Wealthy Affiliate for site building, keyword research tools, site networking, and SEO practice for $558, bought my Lord of Columbia Series domain for $14, so we’re at $572.

I joined the Writers Guild the year before this, which cost $370, so we’re up to $942.

Add in the $265, and you get $1,207. Add $93, and we get a grand total of $1,300 that I spent from November 2017 and will spend to November 2019. Divide this by twenty-five months and you get a total of $52/month I’m investing in my indie-author business.

Do you have $52/month to spare?

And again, if not, there are cheaper ways, but for me to create the highest-quality product on my limited budget, I squeaked out $77/month and I mean I squeaked it out.

So, rookie indies, just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean there’s no hope out there. There is hope, and trust me, you will thank yourselves when you invest in something important to you. Invest in something beneficial to you.

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