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My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Tag: Business

A Plan for Your Indie-Author Business

I’ve said it in at least two posts: most indie-authors never make a full-time living on their writing. The sad part is most of them can and would make such a living because I’m a firm believer in the fact most books will find an audience.

Even a small audience in an obscure genre or plot element will find a home. Somewhere, a readership will form. The problem is that many fail to build an indie-author business because they have not a single plan going into the game.

I’ve written a few posts in the past regarding goals and ways that indie-authors can boost their sales, but today I’m going even further and will outline a way for you to make a full-time living as an indie-author.

 

NOT A GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEME

I know, writing in all caps is equivalent to shouting, but it’s something I want to clear up immediately. What I’m about to show you is not a get-rich-quick scheme, so don’t think for a single second you can quit your dreaded day job and become a successful indie-author by simply implementing these steps.

My way will give you a roadmap that will get you to your destination if you take the time to treat your books or book series as a full-time business. Yes, if you have two full-time jobs, welcome to the big stage.

You think working 40-50 hours a week at a day job is tough, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Hey, if this were easy we’d all be doing it, so I hope you’re up for a challenge, which is another reason why a lot of aspiring (fill in the blank in a field of your choice) fails. They’re unwilling to put in the time and effort required to see their dream through.

Everyone wants to live their dream, but few are willing to put in the work to make their dream a reality. Ironically, these are the same people who are miserable at their own day jobs, so maybe they just don’t like to lift a finger and contribute in any way to society.

Sorry for the harsh words, but there are a lot of dreamers that just expect success to find them and these are the same people envious of those who are successful. Listen, unless your name’s Paul Menard, it’s not going to happen.

 

Storytime: Who is Paul Menard?

Paul Menard is a professional NASCAR driver whose father, John Menard Jr. founded Menards Inc., the third largest home improvement company in the nation behind Lowe’s and The Home Depot.

Long story short, Menard is a mediocre driver whose experienced one win at NASCAR’s highest level over the past fourteen seasons. His father sponsors his racecar and according to NASCAR legend Tony Stewart, Menard’s father “writes hefty checks to buy his son a ride.”

So, unless you’re Paul Menard, success finding you, albeit on a yearly basis of embarrassment over the course of thirty-six weeks, is rare. You’d be more likely to discover your favorite Pokémon exists.

This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, so if you think it is, go somewhere else. I want workers for this operation.

 

Step One: Identify a Target Audience

Who are you writing for?

If you read my dedication page for Northern Knights, I mention Libertarian America. Boom, done, Libertarian America is the target market.

BUT!

Libertarians tend to disagree with one another on what they perceive to be Libertarian issues and non-Libertarian issues. I can go on forever about this.

You have your Green Libertarians, Paleo-Libertarians (um, that’s me), Libertarian Socialists, the list is insane.

But I’m more Rothbardian in nature, hence my preference for the Paleo sector. Libertarians everywhere might disregard my work for not being Libertarian enough because:

a) My main character starts a war, and

b) The enemy colors happen to be anarchocapitalist and voluntarist colors of black and yellow…I’m a Cleveland Browns fan, people, hence the color scheme of this site, Lord of Columbia Series, which can be accessed here, and even my book covers.

Before I scare you all away with politics, I’m stating this because it shows how narrow a target audience must get. There are a lot of Libertarian sub-sectors, I’ll call them, but only select groups of these sub-sectors will be interested in the work.

Why do we even need a target audience?

Because people who read Nora Roberts aren’t reading anything by Todd Matthews, so why the hell would we bother with people who won’t read our work? Likewise, my reading audience probably won’t be reading Nora Roberts.

So, identify that target audience. Ask yourself who will read your book. These are the people who need to know your work exists but the only way they’ll find out is if you show them the work.

 

Step Two: Work Within a Niche

Much like a target audience, by working within a niche you can bring people to you either via a blog or social media. While a blog, in time, will grant you far more traffic and social media won’t even take you to minor celebrity status.

But search engines can, and it’s all about knowing how to blog within a niche to make your work visible.

This is true for both fiction and nonfiction writers. You need to have an audience for your work to become visible and a live blog to keep people coming back to your site while driving new traffic each day. Only a blog can do this. And it’s cost effective.

How much does a blog cost?

You need a domain and webhosting, plus a vibrant theme, so it’ll cost a few, but nowhere near what social media promotion will. Also, Google doesn’t charge for ranking unless you pay for AdWords, which will put your business at the top of a listing if a keyword within your blog is searched.

Now, this is a slow process and you’ll toil away in obscurity for a time, sometimes as long as twelve months. But you know what? Keep churning and moving, because Google will reward you. On my NFL blog, Get Pro Football Apparel, Google’s trust of my site has increased by 40% over the past five months.

The key isn’t to add content, but to add relevant content readers are searching for. Investing in a keyword tool like Jaaxy will work wonders here, as it shows you what readers are searching for.

 

Step Three: Promote, Promote, Promote

I’ve heard mixed reviews regarding Amazon KDP Select, but a lot of authors love it because it gives their books a chance for exposure with its Kindle Countdowns or Free Promotions.

For new authors, you will give away far more books than paid sells, but it’s worth it in the end.

One indie-author who makes a full-time living off their books earned about $95 in royalties their first year, but gave away a lot of books….thousands. They promoted like crazy when the free promo days came, and Amazon gives you five of these every ninety days. Kind of cool, right?

If you’re a new author, you need to be active in free promotion by signing your book up for promos with Freebooksy, Books Butterfly, or something similar.

 

Go For It

Okay, now that you know what it takes to make a formative business plan, it’s time for you to go for it and start creating.

I’ll be back with another installment soon with a more advanced plan that comes once your initial readership is exposed to your work.

Note that what you see here is the formative stage, which will take one to two years, I’m afraid, but if you keep going, make your way through the dark times, and stay consistent, you will find success. And I heard once you find success, it will follow you.

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Take the Plunge into Darkness

The Greatest Risk You’ll Ever Take

For me, it’s ultimatum time. I could continue to train and put all my energies into it or I could devote myself to running a writing business full-time and getting it off the ground.

 
The choice was easy.

 
Though people long thought of me as the fitness guy, my little shift over past year-and-a-half made people realize I was something else, someone new, to them, anyway.

 

Always a Writer

Deep down I’d always been a writer but had run away from the craft back in 2005 as I didn’t think it was masculine enough for some strange reason. Going to a small, public school where at least half the kids were athletes didn’t help, coupled with the fact we had very few clubs other than athletics or music-based clubs to choose.

 
When you went to Edison High School and you were a writer, you were an outcast. When you’re fourteen-year-old and you’re an outcast, you strive to make things right with yourself, so you fit in.

 

Fitting In

So, I did just that, and from 2005 to 2015, fitness became my number one thing. From 2012 to 2015, it became my obsession, until I started writing again for a hobby. Little did I know three years later the tide would’ve shifted so much that I’d be faced with the ultimate ultimatum. Fitness or writing? They’re both businesses that need more than forty-hours a week’s worth of attention, at least off the bat.

 
I made decent money living as a personal trainer, and while I shifted my focus to creative writing, I took three years to really hone it down, the last eight months even more so. By doing so, it became an obsession all over again, and fitness (though I do workout twice a day) faded away.

 

Cost Versus Benefits

I knew what I wanted, and it’d be one hell of a risk.

 
So here I am, using My Freedom Flame to document my journey in…pursuing passion.
To help you all build the courage to…pursue passion.

 
To tell you that sometimes to achieve a great benefit, you must pay a hefty cost.
I’ve had people tell me, and maybe you’ve had similar experiences, that they had a passion for something and would love to pursue it, but the cost of doing so outweighed the benefit of their current job.

 
Why not strive to be different?

 
Why join and be a part of the drones who all think, act, and portray life in an identical way?

 
Do you know what’s more sickening about these people?

 
They’ll tell you this stuff with a smile and a bow, as if they’re the enlightened ones in society. Oh, I have a good-paying job with benefits, so I’m set for the rest of muh life when I can collect muh retirement and muh social security.

 

Speaking of Social Security

Too bad social security is the biggest government social welfare program ever made.
How many of us had parents or grandparents stating, “You need to start collecting social security, you need to start collecting social security. If you aren’t collecting social security, you’re going to affect muh social security.”

 
Oh, it’s the biggest public scam in existence today and if anyone wants to be on the social security dole when they’re in their sixties or late-sixties, it means after all this long time of hating on government welfare programs, I am talking to you, Republicans, I guess you were all frauds the entire time.

 
Because they have that good-old retirement check going for them while making a living in something they never thought they’d do until they reached high school or even college.

 
And I briefly fell into that trap when I spurned writing and started insisted on taking up fitness as a career in…high school and college.

 

First Love

My view on fitness in grade school and middle school?

 
Never thought of it as a career.

 
Sometimes, I feel like a recovering drug addict.

 
But now, guess what, we’re taking the plunge into darkness. By doing so, it’s the greatest risk you’ll ever take, but from those who’ve taken such a risk, they’ll tell you it’s the greatest decision they’ve ever made in their lives.

 
Yes, the road’s dark.

 
Yes, you may have to slave away at a warehouse job or something like that as you’re building your dynasty that you’ve always dreamed of, just to fund it. And yes, you might look back and ask yourself why you didn’t just take the green in a job you liked, never loved, but liked, while the going was still good.

 
But in time, you’ll be much better off.

 
Hey, I’m twenty-seven and I can attest it’s best to start this now, while you’re still young, rather than wait. Here I am, putting in three-quarters of my waking hours into doing what I’ve always dreamed of as a kid.

 
Seventy-seven hours per week.

 
Right now, I’m currently looking for a gig to fund such a passion, such an addiction, until this little love affair I have with writing pays off.

 
It’s worth forgoing a training career.

 
Writing was my first love, and I never should’ve abandoned it (for the most part, I did write from time to time between 2005 and 2015) for ten years.

 

Ten wasted years?

I can’t say that, as fitness should be an important part of everyone’s life, even those who hate exercise, because it’s the greatest thing you can do for your body.

 
And for those who are trainers, you’re working to change others, which is rewarding. I can attest to that, too.

 
But writing, oh, writing will help change the masses. Training will help change the group of individuals you have time to train, no more than twenty to thirty people at a time unless you’re a tourist trainer who puts everyone through cookie-cutter workouts, then I guess you can train one hundred people at a time.

 
So, are you ready to take the plunge into darkness?

 
Are you ready to take the greatest risk of your life?

 
I can tell you right now, by embarking on your own, becoming your own boss, and eventually turning a passion into the only thing you do for a living will pay its dividends to the point to where five years from today, you’ll be glad you took the plunge.

 
It’s time to risk everything, and what’s life without a little risk?

 

And one day you’ll be able to Fire Your Boss.

Take the Calculated Risk

Isn’t it About Time You Rolled the Dice? Take the Risk, take the Gamble, Play the Hand

We’ve lost our identity as what it really means to be Americans and both Conservatives and Liberals are to blame for this mess.

 
On one side, Conservatives routinely believe love of country is to die for it even if any armed conflict isn’t the best option. In other words, it’s either submit to your country’s authority, or else.

 
Liberals believe the United States to be a greedy corporate empire that gets rich off the expense of the masses, but believes government intervention is the road to freedom, which has never worked.

 
Libertarians believe in playing by one’s own rules should be number one and that any road to personal freedom and prosperity defeats anything Conservative or Liberal America offers. We play by a different set of rules.

 

Take the Risk

And when it comes to risk, us Libertarians love rolling the dice and seeing what we can uncover. We’re risk-takers and we love every second of it. Sure, we know we’ll fail at times, but at others we’ll find prosperity when we climb the highest mountains.

 
We have goals to work toward, passions to pursue, and we’re not about to follow the Conservative mantra of working for a company that’ll take care of us and our families. Hell no!

 

As Libertarians we’ll take care of ourselves, thank you very much.

 
We’re individualists, who refuse to get a job simply for compensation, benefits, and security. We’re freedom-seekers, and we seek freedom over security, failing as we stand than “succeeding” as we kneel. Because when we fail enough, we will succeed, and it’s the beauty of taking the calculated risk. We have the ambition to ride out the storm.

 
Unlike Liberal America, we won’t take your government handout; you can keep it. We don’t like tax credits, instead we want to pay for anything we decide to buy. They can keep their government-mandated healthcare; Libertarians like to take care of themselves and even if we were better off with government, we’d decline.

No Pride Needed

No, Conservatives, we’re not going to show our pride in working for a brand name and helping that brand name achieve its goals. We just don’t care enough for your company or your dreams; we have our own to work toward, and they’re more important to us.

 
But thanks for trying to coax us into a little retirement plan, benefits, and a comfortable salary to bribe us against following our own path. I know we’re hard workers. In fact, Libertarians are the hardest workers you’ll ever hire.

 

 

Except, we’re ambitious people and you, you’re company is just small work.

 
Then, we’ll go on to start our own brand. We’ll pursue our passion, our dreams, and walk straight into Hell for a while.

 
Why?

 
Because we care that much about the product we have in our mind and our goal is to relay such a product to as many people as possible because it’s beneficial to them. Not only that, but we also see the benefits of what we’re doing and your little offer to us just isn’t, nor will it ever be, beneficial enough.

 

Pursuing Passion

No, we’re not just going to work some stupid job and start something we’re not passionate about.

 
Yeah, I know, the whole market demand thing, but someone else can start their business in it. Hey, if I don’t like something I simply won’t pursue it but if I love something I’ll pursue it like I have no other option.

 

I’m an INFJ, I’m only pursuing something worthwhile. If I don’t find you or your product worthwhile, I’ll pass, even on $80,000 a year. I’ll make my own $80,000.

 

How does that sound?

 
No, I won’t give myself another option.

 
I’m pursuing, and that’s all there is to it.

 
I’m pursuing writing because a) I love it and b) there’s a message to spread to the world and it’s the best way to do so.

 
But, isn’t it hard to make a living in it?

 
I think anything worth pursuing is hard to make a living in. Writing is no different, and there are numerous ways to make money here.

 
1. Creative writing. It’s the best. Write a book, market, promote, and sell. Learn SEO and metadata to increase your chances of success. But dammit, take your time. There’s a lot of legwork involved if you want to get this thing in front of people without shouting ‘Buy my book’ on Twitter and annoying the hell out of us.

 
2. Informative e-books. While creative writing can entertain, or at least entertain while informing, others want to be informed. What are you good at? I have a fitness background and an endless fountain of ideas how people can adopt a fitness background. Why not sell my knowledge? Hey, people want to whip their asses into shape in a convenient way, so why not sell it to them, because my ways are strikingly convenient. Sure, there’s work involved and all, but at least you don’t need expensive gym equipment or a special diet; just willpower.

 
3. Blog, dammit. Drive people to your blog the same way you drive people to your book with sound SEO and metadata. I’m busy converting my past works to SEO, and in the week since I’ve started using SEO, my traffic has seen a slight increase. I suspect that trend to continue. Short-term goal is 100 daily views, long-term is 500. I’ll talk about my books and other works, but I’m not telling people to buy them. It’s your decision and if you want it, you’ll find it, or it’ll find you.

 
4. Freelance. Find websites you love to read and see if you can contribute. Some sites even pay a hefty sum, so your time is more than worth it. Even for sites that don’t pay, by submitting and getting published, you’ll receive credibility in your field. Just last week I started studying freelance opportunities and came across how to submit to one of my favorite sites, Mises.org.

 
Last week, I made a list of blogs, websites, and magazines to submit my work and came up with over sixty. After I compiled my list, I crafted several pitches just to get in the flow of proposing my work. This week, the goal is to craft an article worth submitting and hopefully within the next week or two, will submit.

 
I’m very new to freelance, so this is another walk into uncharted waters.

 

Research, Research, and more Research

When you pursue, I can’t stress enough how important it is to research. You need to know the in’s and out’s, even the technicalities like SEO and metadata. The more you research, the more edge you’ll have over others you might be competing with. But if you want to launch your book, then do all the legwork like social media, a blog, and screaming ‘Buy my book, so be it.

 
This time last year, I was hoping to launch Lord of Columbia, my debut creative work. However, I didn’t know anything about the business side of operations and wisely started researching to see how I could give the work the best chance to succeed.

 
What I found out will save me a lot of headache and wtf’s down the road. From book covers, to choosing a title, to choosing categories, sub-categories, keywords, book description, all the way down to my About the Author, I researched every single detail.

 

Conclusion

I hope I motivated you to inch another step closer to so too can take the calculated risk, roll the dice, and gamble for a brighter day.

 
Sure, it’s a scary thought, especially when your current gig may be paying you a nice income and benefits. Calculating risk versus current security, however, plays into the whole security over freedom mantra. Don’t take security over freedom. Instead, take the risk. I’m confident years from today you’ll look back and see how foolish it was to have all this built in fear of what if something goes wrong.

 
Instead, worry about all that’ll go right. It’s true. People worry about finding success because while many of us have had a time where we made a good living, success in our chosen field, our passion, is a whole new ballgame.

 
And with that, I’d like to thank all my readers on My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

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