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My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Tag: success (page 1 of 4)

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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What is the Force Behind Success?

 

Those of us who live the writer’s life have it rough. We want nothing more than to make a living off our words and ditch the DDJ forever. To us, we’re not successful unless we hit this awesome milestone, and there is a singular force behind success for any writer; the writer.

Isn’t that amazing?

No one else in this world can make you successful except you.
Sure, we’ve all heard those ‘right place at the right time’ stories but do you really think every successful writer was in the right place at the right time?

Then, there’s the ‘well, so and so had these great connections, which is why they’re successful.’

Finally, there’s this excuse. ‘They came from a rich family so they had an easy ticket like all rich kids.’

Here’s an ultimatum for you: If the previous three paragraphs (practically sentences) sounded like excuses for you, you have a golden ticket to continue reading this article.

If you agreed with anything written above, stop reading and go find another writer to take advice from. One that will tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear will suffice.

Not just that; if you think you can just become a successful writer without working a day job while doing so, go find another blog that’ll tell you so.

As I write this article, my hands are covered in oil from handling steel products all day long. Now, as I sit and write, it’s time for me to give you the rundown some of you may not want to hear, because for the sensitive soul, it’s a tough reality check.

Actually, it doesn’t have to be so. All you need is a work ethic, but I’m not going to stop there. Now that you know what you need, it’s time to learn how to utilize it.

 

You’re the Force Behind Success

In any field, not just writing. Again, as I’ve done so often this week, non-writers are welcome to read this if they’ve made it past the first two obstacles written above.

No one will give you success. And if you’ve already published a book that just isn’t selling, it’s not the people. There’s nothing wrong with people—okay, if you once worked in the grocery store industry you could write a novel on why my statement can be faulty—there’s likely something wrong with you, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s how you learn.

I’m saying to use the adage, worry about what’s in your control and don’t worry about what you can’t control.

You can’t control whether people buy your book, and if they do buy your book, you can’t control if people will like your book. You can’t control if they’ll follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but you can control whether they know you exist in social media circles.

How do you make success?

As I’ve stated in so many recent articles:

Get yourself a killer book cover and invest in one.

Nail your book description.

Own a blog and post links to Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, and share to all your major social media networks.

Have an email list so people who like your work can follow you.

Write monthly newsletters so your followers can stay up to date on what’s happening regarding your next written works.

 

Work Everyday

Even when you’re working eight or ten-hour shifts at work, it doesn’t mean you should slack off on writing your blog, updating your social platforms, and most importantly, continue working on your written works.

I’ve stated it in so many articles and so many other authors have stated in their articles; make time to work on your writing passion, in all aspects of it.

Just because you’re writing a book and in the hardcore editing stages or even the first draft doesn’t mean you need to slack on social media updates or your blog. In fact, it’s fatal if you slack on your blog.

While you’re writing your book, give yourself a chance to drive traffic to your blog and maybe you’ll find a few interested readers. I’ve seen this occur here on My Freedom Flame. Now, since it’s only been a few months since I’ve rebranded this blog to only include writing topics, it’s nowhere near where it needs to be, but by summer’s end? Now you’re talking a few good readers.

So, don’t slack on the blog!

If need be, you can even invest in Hootsuite for social media, which automates any social media post you place on the platform. I don’t use it often, but I know many who’ve had time constraints and swear by it.
You can also blog all day on days you’re off and schedule your blog posts throughout the week. Since starting my new day job, I’ve done just this and it’s kept my traffic flowing.

Often, I only have a few hours per day to work on my writing, but an hour in the morning with two to three hours in the evening is something to work with. Use any available time you have and at the very least, you can say you did something on days that you may’ve worked a long shift at the DDJ.

Come weekends, you should already know what you need to be doing. Even if you’re a family person who puts your kids first, as you should, there must be time to work on writing. Even if it means sacrificing sleep on a weekend or a late-night TV show.

 

Make Sound Investments

Let me tell you; investing in the Wealthy Affiliate platform turned this blog into one that’s steadily gaining traffic. It’s helped me establish a second blog called Get Pro Football Apparel, which specializes in football merchandise, and finally, my latest site still in the making called Lord of Columbia Series is also on its way.

WA costs $50/month, but one can invest $349 for an entire year, so it’s a dirt cheap price to pay for a helpful community that will grant exposure to your blog or blogs with community tools like Site Comments and Site Feedback.

You also get a keyword tool with your WA purchase as well, which is a lifesaver when it comes to blogging ideas.

If you’re unsure on how to write an effective novel, there are so many courses out there that you can invest in. My favorite by far is the Jerry Jenkins’ Writer’s Guild, which is an annual cost of roughly $400, so do the math and you’ll find a pretty cost-effective product.

There are numerous books you can read, one of my favorites being ‘Hooked’ by Les Edgerton.

I know these things cost money, but if you end up MAKING money, the cost of a full year at WA for $349 and a $400 investment in the Guild is $749 per year, which pays for itself.

Don’t be afraid to pull the money trigger, because the more you invest in yourself and your own education, the better off you’ll be in the long-run.

 

Take Control

Today, we covered that you and only you control your success. If you haven’t succeeded or if you aren’t succeeding, don’t be that guy or girl quick to point the finger at others. While doing so may sooth the pain in the short-run, we’ll eventually come to realize it was us and not them. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Second, if you don’t work each day at your writing passion or whatever your passion is, you’re selling yourself short. Again, I don’t care if you worked four hours’ overtime and had errands to run on top of it.

Many of our most successful people get very little sleep. It’s time to enjoy a few more waking hours.

Third, if you’re not investing in success, it’s another short sell. You can get all the free information you want, but free is free for a reason. Anything free will have a price tag later on. Either pay the price in the short-term because you’re burning yourself in the long-term.

Take control, work every day, and invest.

Success is easier than it looks, and it’s only as hard as you make it.

How to Achieve Writing Success: Eat Your Humble Pie

This is a week for morality here at my blog, because I have been in a whirlwind as of late with life, but I want to take this whirlwind and turn it into a positive to help you achieve writing success and keep it.

As with success in any field, succeeding in writing won’t come easy and it won’t come fast. But it will come. Success in other fields will come faster, such as a primary income career (for the time being) or something similar.

Let’s face it, there are millions upon millions of writers, but it’s possible to set yourself apart from the pack.

I’ve talked to you all about finding a writing niche, or a genre that you can build your writing brand around.

For me, it’s urban fantasy tied in with epic fantasy since my two series place in the same world but in different time periods.

As I stated in yesterday’s blog, I’m working on an inspirational piece which one can call a hybrid inspirational/creative nonfiction story, which will be built around another brand and a pen name (my first and second initials plus my last name).

So, we have two brands to build around, and two brands I can utilize to separate myself from other writers, and you can do the same. For instance, perhaps you wish to write nonfiction but are also into writing science fiction. You can create two separate brands by using a real name for one, a pen name for another, or two pen names. It can be anything.

The first way to succeed as a writer is to build separate brands for all your work. Build around them, and watch them flourish in time.

There’s also a second way to succeed in writing and in life, for anything, so for non-writers, you’re welcome to view this article. This second way is to have a humble approach to your writing profession.

How is this accomplished?

 

One: Be Interactive

Okay, so first thing is first. If someone wishes to interact with you, interact back. It’s that easy. If they comment on your Twitter, comment back. Ditto for Facebook, blogs, anywhere.

You have fans and they took the time to reach out to you.

Knowing this, you need to take the time to respond to fans and followers. They’re investing their money into your work. Your work must’ve meant something to them, as they’re writing to you.

That’s pretty freaking cool, and you need to write them a personalized message. Not a cookie-cutter message like an email blast or anything of the sort.

And for the love of goodness, do NOT hire someone or outsource responses to someone else like a team member UNLESS that person is a close friend or family member who knows you AND your voice. There’s nothing more disgusting than people who hire some random person to answer fan mail. Honestly, it sickens me.

Former NASCAR superstar Richard Petty used to overstay for every single one of his autograph sessions so he could interact with all his fans. He was the most famous driver on the NASCAR circuit for ages, even after his prime.

Follow Petty’s lead and interact with your fanbase. All of them.

 

Two: Be Helpful

You realize that some fans of yours are aspiring writers themselves, right? Fantastic, so it’s your job to help them out.

No, I’m not saying you need to offer one-on-one Skype services or anything like that; I’d personally be very uncomfortable doing so, since I believe the best training for anyone is hands-on, not online.

However, this blog you’re reading right now helps writers.

Some of them might be interested in my books and follow my blog because I’m an author who’s published two books in a series and is on the verge of publishing a third within the next few weeks.

Some might just like my blog and have zero interest in my books. Like it breaks my heart; they’re still fans of mine because they find value in what I have to say on this blog, and that’s good enough for me.

Why?

Because word of mouth is a powerful advertising tool, and trust me, if people like your work in any capacity, they’re letting others know about it. The more you help others who were once in the same position you once were is more rewarding than any type of monetary success.

You were once walking lost through a forest of endless tips to the writing craft until you stumbled across something or someone that helped you out. So, you need to do the same for your people and hope they follow your example.

 

Show, Don’t Tell

Yes, you can be humble and still be a showoff.

I’m giving you permission to be a showoff, but if you think it means people need to look at and bow down to you, you’re out of your mind.

No, show as in show your readers and followers the process that took you to where you are today.

People. Love. This.

It gives you the opportunity to be an inspiration to someone else. You can show them where you were once upon a time at Point A, working X job and making X amount of money per hour. You were in debt, behind on all your bills, living on a prayer, facing total bankruptcy, whatever your story is or was, and you ended up not only succeeding but succeeding in your wildest dreams.

How’s that for show, don’t tell?

Do you realize how many people in America live paycheck to paycheck, or live without job security?

Or worse yet, are working two or sometimes three jobs just to make ends meet?

I’m one of those guys who isn’t a believer that government programs solve these problems (you may disagree with me here), but it’s because I believe in something else.

I believe there are a lot of people out there convinced their situation will never change, that it’ll never get better, and that they were destined for the short end of the stick.

This isn’t true.

Maybe you once thought this way.

You know this isn’t true.

Maybe these people are surrounded by others feeding them this lie.

Maybe you can be the one, even though you’ve never met them, to feed them the truth, the fortunate truth, a life-changing and perhaps a life-saving truth?

Share your freaking story, don’t be ashamed of it, and rest assured it will inspire others.

Your Fans are Your Partners

You’re not above your fans and I don’t care if you’re the next J.K. Rowling. In fact, I don’t care if you succeed at everything you touch, you’re not above your fans. Man, I wish certain NFL players realized this fact.

You do realize that without your fans, you have zero success, right?

You do realize that if your fans didn’t take to your work, you have zero success.

You might not even be that talented; hate to break it to you.

Let me give you an example: Bruce Springsteen never had a great voice. Some say he never even had a good voice.

But do you know what made Springsteen successful and even these days, when he turns 70 this year, what still makes him successful?

The guy can relate to his audience. He can relate to his fans.

He realized and realizes to this day his fans are his partners in crime.

If you haven’t done so, read some of his song lyrics.

The guy was able to click with his audience through some of the topics he sang about. That’s what made him successful.

It wasn’t because he had a good voice. It wasn’t because he could’ve been in the right place at the right time. Forget the myths. The guy knew who his target audience was, wrote song lyrics that pertained to them, he set them on a pedestal, and the rest is history.

Fans are partners. As you build your brand, your fans will be able to relate more and more to that brand. If you continue to work in ways that your fans can relate to, they’ll continue to follow you.

And if they continue to follow you, you’re set up for long-term success.

 

This should be your mission statement:

To ensure long-term success for (your name) by exceeding your readers’ wildest expectations.

Foundations for Your Success

1. TLC for all readers

2. Prompt delivery

3. Little room for error, if any

4. Heroic values

Pillars

1. Readers

2. Interaction

3. Helpfulness

4. Sharing

5. Partner Up

Passion, Hard, and Smart Work Creates Success

A Lesson I Learned the Hard Way

*Dear Readers: This is not a typical post. I did not use any keywords, write in a way Google would index this post in any way, shape, or form. I deviated a little from my niche in writing this 2,000-word post, in hopes that this post, which is about me, serves as a lesson that will help you all reach the pinnacle of your writing, and your life’s success. Enjoy this unique read.

Dear writers everywhere, I can and will be the first to tell you that passion, hard, and smart work creates success.

If you incorporate these three elements into anything you pursue, writing or not, success will find you.

How do I know this?

I inadvertently have some experience in this field, and it’s not just in writing.

Though this is a writing blog, I’m branching out a little bit today and am about to tell a story I’ve never told before except in one, single, rare instance.

The story is rather heartbreaking in nature, though it did give me a chance to reflect on the last two years of my life, a turbulent two years, which ended on a high note as I published both Northern Knights and Swords of Destiny to Amazon and saw some decent numbers and early returns.

Such numbers should grow with time and as the entire Lord of Columbia Series expands.

My Personal Story

Just so you all know, I rehearsed what I’m about to write in a conversation with myself in my car on the way home from work.

As I once mentioned on this blog before, I used to be a successful personal trainer, but those days of success fell faster than soon-to-be ex-Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell’s career….and possibly Antonio Brown’s.

So, in 2012, I had my first training gig and was “that trainer” who would show up at 5:30am to train a client without hesitation. I was also “that trainer” who stayed at the gym until 9pm to train a client. Again, without hesitation.

It was beautiful, baby.

In late 2013, about thirty clients fell into my lap and I maintained a full-time schedule for the rest of my time there, consistently training and retaining my clientele.

But Weirton, West Virginia wasn’t going to be my last stop, so in 2015, I planned an escape route in about the worst way possible, so I’m not going to rehash on the details. Let’s just say I should’ve thought things through a little more.

And bam, in late-2016, after pissing off my managers and owner, I carried out such a plan, almost without warning, telling them I was out and going to this large box club in Pittsburgh’s South Hills.

Going from a club of a little over 1,200 members to one of 5,000+ members was a gold mine waiting to be unhinged, but little did I realize at the time something else was making me want to leave the training arena.

It was around this time I’d constructed a plot to Northern Knights that worked after a few years of starts, stops, sputters, and stalls. Setback, setback, setback. The more I worked on Northern Knights, the more I liked the plot, but the more work I had to put into it before the novel was ready to be published.

This was in January 2017, and my last day as an employee in Weirton, my beta-readers returned their feedback, much of which was generous. But again, I still had a mountain to climb if I wanted to get Northern Knights (then called the Lost Book) onto Amazon’s online shelves.

I worked on Northern Knights even when on the work clock.

But months before I left Weirton, my passion shifted without my realization. I knew what I wanted but still desired to hold onto a job that I liked at the same time.

After a total of twenty-three days at that club in the South Hills (couldn’t stand the place) I found two clubs owned by the same man on the East End of Pittsburgh, or just past the region known as the East Hills.

What an area, and one that I loved working in and may have continued to love working in had I not been so rash in my decision making.

I’ll be honest, my passion backslid in 2016, took a nosedive in 2017. I thought I wasn’t in the right place so a few months after starting in the East End, I went up to the North Hills, where things would come to a standstill.

Little did I know this at the time.

 

North Hills Debacle

So the North Hills club was a literal goldmine, for anyone familiar with North Pittsburgh. The place has money, and a lot of it, and that’s what attracted me.

It was a new club. Construction barely started but the owner wanted a staff for a presale, which I couldn’t blame him.

But it’s here where, due to my success in Weirton and even modest success in the East End, plus the luxury of the North Hills, did I see a golden opportunity.

Not an honest one though. Never an honest one.

What did I do?

Well, during my presale shift, which was a generous $15/hr plus $10 per anyone who I signed up, I sat and edited Northern Knights (now entitled Lord of Columbia in a series I called Days of Gaia).

The owner wanted us to make calls, texts, and emails, so I did just that, only I just said I called and copied and pasted texting and email.

It was a total con at this point, but hey, I’m still working in a gym and once the damn place opens, I’m making my own hours and it’s Wexford, Pennsylvania, so the members and clients (and dough) will be rolling in, especially at the even more generous $25/hour rate I was to be given for sessions.

I’m disclosing the monetary compensation here because I want you to know just how stupid I was in refusing to take the job seriously.

After the club opened, well, three days after the club opened, the owner and I had a spat which resulted in me leaving the club for a week, only reconciling after a conversation with about a dozen friends and family.

Feel free to call me what you want to at this point.

After starting back up the following Monday, I saw some initial success but again I didn’t want the training sales numbers burdened to me because at the time I was Todd Matthews and what I said is what goes and if they didn’t like it, they were going to learn to like it.

They, as in, the people who hired me, gave me a generous deal, and were decent enough to allow me to continue working for them.

I’m also a huge proponent of property rights, but given the fact I pulled this I was a total hypocrite to myself.

 

Blowing the Opportunity

Damn, they should’ve fired me.

And they didn’t.

I also knew the guy was rather easy to con, so I continued making more money than I’d ever made in my life, while working on Northern Knights (still entitled Lord of Columbia, but it later became the series name over what was at this point Age of Columbia) during hours I could’ve been doing the following:

1. Working the floor and recruiting clients.

2. Working the phones and recruiting clients.

3. Helping the general manager out with recruiting members (and potential clients).

4. Putting my heart and soul into my work when at work rather than knowing I was getting paid on someone else’s time for my own work.

This lasted from late-2017 until well into 2018; around April.

In April, either someone caught onto the ruse, a member rightfully blew my cover, or the cameras caught me in action, because it was at this time I was stripped from 30-40 to fifteen hours per week.

I was pissed.

And wrongfully so.

I blamed the manager, I blamed the owner, I blamed the members, I blamed the people who wouldn’t sign up for training, I blamed everyone but the person who deserved 100% of the blame: Me.

The manager didn’t screw Todd.

The owner didn’t screw Todd.

Todd screwed Todd.

I thought that due to my success in Weirton that success would follow me like a twelve-year-old-girl following around her singing idol. I thought I attracted success, and that just as I had in Weirton my presence would bring it.

Just like in Weirton, the lucky sevens were in my corner and clients (and money) fell into my lap. All I had to do was train them with passion and retain them.

Wait, what was that?

Train them with what?

Passion.

Give what to the gym?

Passion.

Give what to my place of work?

Passion.

Be a passionate trainer and be passionate about my job, just as I was with writing.

 

The End of an Era

I published Swords of Destiny shortly after leaving the fitness industry.

It was then I’d reached the end of an era. My income tanked. My training hours tanked. The manager would get annoyed with me after stating he’d just set up a new member who’d just signed up to change their life a fitness consultation with me….only to state I’d rather workout at that time as I’d planned on doing so.

I didn’t just do this once.

I did it a few times.

Again, he should’ve just let me go without even consulting the owner. I would’ve let myself go at this point.

But he didn’t.

Where was the passion?

Gone.

Where was the trainer from Weirton?

Gone.

You know what the NFL Network said about Antonio Brown, the former sixth-round pick who chose to wear eighty-four because 8 * 4 = 32, in other words, thirty-two NFL teams passing on him and he wanted to remember it?

He had to go back to being that guy.

That humble guy instead of the smug prick he became.

I can relate.

And I’m no longer in the fitness industry.

As my writing continues to improve and this blog, that’s if my story didn’t scare you all away, I long to return to the field. Return to working in the gym. Return to the fitness scene. Become the trainer I was once upon a time.

 

Me Today

Know what this post is saying?

1. Be passionate in your approach to pursue your own writing passion.

2. But if your current job is or was a passion, continue to be passionate about it.

I’m living proof in stating that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

If only I’d played my cards better and took real advantage of a real opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, I still would’ve pursued writing 100%, but to do so while on the work clock was just plain wrong. To know when the owner was coming in and lying to them if they did happen to come in, stating that I just preferred a laptop over a desktop computer to “work.”

And what did I do?

I told everyone who the bad guy was.

I said it was him, and not me, that I was innocent and mistreated.

I wasn’t mistreated. I did the mistreating, and I made a massive mistake.

And now, as I toiled away in side gigs, the desire to return to my home gig, the job that I once loved, once couldn’t wait to get to, day in and day out (how many of us in our early to mid-20s can say this?) and looked forward to every single shift….a split shift!

And it hit me hard back in November-December, which is why I’m writing this kind of non-typical post right now. Because I feel the time is right to come clean with something, and hope that I can help one of you, reading this article right now, and stop you from making a giant error.

I just want to get back to doing what I love for a living, and this time refrain from cutting corners, while doing what I love in the meantime to build into an empire, and perhaps perform both gigs on a full-time basis, each, someday.

This article has documented my fallback, now I’m going to write a Part II, either one or two years from today, in January 2020 or 2021, where I’ll document the Great Comeback.

Can You Find Success Writing?

 

To find success writing one must be willing to go above and beyond a threshold, many dare not cross. For one, it takes working two jobs in a sense and for another, it takes perseverance that will take over a year to see full benefits of.

The good news is there are dozens of ways to achieve the writing pinnacle. In fact, many who have ways with words often choose a few specialties because in a sense, we all have them.
Not just that, you’ll see multiple streams of income, in time, if you develop and stick to a plan of action.

 

Overview: Writing is Hindsight

Hey, a lot of jobs pay you in foresight but today we’re looking to get paid in hindsight, meaning you create the product which is your writing, and later on you’ll find the green.

Sound good?

Yes?

Perfect, because you must love doing all the legwork up front without pay before your work makes a name for itself and in time, passive income derives from your efforts.

Writing isn’t love of labor like the masses believe; it’s a long-term plan that involves patience.

The more patient you are with your writing, the greater the benefits are down the road.

For instance, I have about three-hundred articles here on My Freedom Flame. Many of your successful blogs have over one-thousand and counting.

Google finds and indexes blog posts whose keywords rank high. The more high quality your content, the higher your rank.

However, it takes time for Google to find and index most blog posts.

It takes even more time for others to find such posts which again, in time, your traffic will increase.

The same goes if you write a fictional series. You’ll find that we live in a binge culture today and people want to read and watch several volumes or episodes in one sitting.

Don’t disappoint them, but keep in mind if you have one or two books on Amazon in one series your sales might not take off until Book Four, at the earliest.

And if you’re writing novels, it might take more than a year unless you’ve already edited and polished each, along with choosing a killer cover for each, too.

 

How Do You Start?

One, keep working your dreaded day job unless you love your day job and want to make a full-time income writing in time, but either way don’t quit your day job.

Second, you need a blog and I don’t care what your specialty is. A blog is the most important way to at least make a small name for yourself.

Do yourself a favor and create one this instant.

You’ll at least need a domain name and a web host. If you’re on a budget I guess a free .wordpress.com site will do for now but you won’t get indexed.

If you want a deal on the domain, web hosting, ability to create multiple blogs, site security, site email, keyword research, and even 24/7 access to training on ways to generate web traffic and engagement, I recommend you check out Wealthy Affiliate as for $49/month, you’ll have a Premium Membership and access to all its perks.

If you’re on a budget and wish to test the waters you can sign up for a free Starter Membership, which includes one week of Premium features.

But, go on and create a blog this instant.

The gateway to your journeys awaits!

Okay, so now what is your niche?

What’s a niche?

A niche is something you specialize in. You don’t have to be an expert, but you have to communicate with others regarding your niche. Be an effective communicator before anything else and the goods will come.

For instance, my niche here at My Freedom Flame is how authors can get their name and brand out into the open.

Like, out into the open by means of exiting the comfort zone we all dream of that involves sitting in the corner and writing while our audience finds us.

Take that one-hundred-eighty degrees the other direction and you’re on your way.

Awesome! Now, you get to do the easy part; write about your niche.

How do you do this?

Easy.

Find some keywords that generate at least 100 searches per month, the Jaaxy keyword tool that comes for free with WA Premium is a big help here. With such a tool you can find the number of people who click through to a site if such site is ranked on Google’s first page.

Even cooler, right?

Then, write content based around such a keyword by including it in the title and first paragraph.

The cool thing with doing something like this on WA is you can give and take comments which allows Google to find and rank your site faster and higher than you normally would.

Take a look at my site, Get Pro Football Apparel at getprofootballapparel.com and you’ll see that I have hundreds of comments and over half my articles are ranked.

After you’ve hit hard on the niche for a few posts, log onto Amazon and sign up to their affiliate program and start writing product reviews. Post in a few Amazon links into the ‘text’ portion of your blog and boom, you might start earning some small commissions via Amazon.

Over time, and I repeat, over time, you’ll find the fruits of your efforts paying off.

 

What if You Like to Write Fiction?

Swords of Destiny, Book II in the Lord of Columbia Series.

Or creative nonfiction, you should still have a blog and you can do a lot of stuff here. For one, My Freedom Flame has its own niche, but I can easily start another blog, we’ll just call it Lord of Columbia Series, domain name lordofcolumbiaseries.com (I’ll do this someday) and talk about the influences behind the Lord of Columbia Series.

Now I have two niche sites making my series visible, both My Freedom Flame and the Lord of Columbia Series.

But I can dive deeper and create a blog talking about real-life events and how they’ve influenced the series, creating something like a blog called Anti War Anti State, the domain name antiwarantistate.com. That can make my case for noninterventionism which is a huge theme in the Lord of Columbia Series, again finding ways to sell my books.

And finally, I can create an author blog, we’ll call it toddmatthewswrites.com.

Again, I can talk about my own writing experiences and what’s coming up in the Lord of Columbia Series while also creating pages for my books.

So, that’s four more blogs I can use for my books.

See, it’s great that you’ve written a book and have it uploaded to Amazon but it’s another thing that you need to get the book in front of readers as readers can only find books that are visible to them.

So, do away with your Amazon numbers and author ranking, as they’ll increase as you find readers for your books.

How do you do this?

Hey, keywords have never been so sweet in the history of mankind.

Ever.

Is the book market saturated?

Sure is.

Is this the end of all hope?

Sure isn’t.

The book market is only saturated if you haven’t found a target market. Second the target market finds you and your books, you’re set for some awesome, awesome things down the road.

 

When Do I Write Fiction?

Write a little every other day in your first draft and edit your first draft every other day.

Devote time, as I’ve stated in the past, either early in the morning (I was up at 4:30 this morning editing before a 6am to 5:30pm shift at my day job) or become a night owl and stay up late writing or editing.

Devote time only you know you have at such hours.

Ditto for nonfiction.

Yes, I’m showing you two ways that intertwine: A blog, or blogs, plus your fictional works, which you can promote on your blogs, but that’s only one stream of promotion, which is kind of cool.

 

How Do I Schedule My Week?

Start with just one blog and write three articles per week. Three keyword-rich articles of roughly 1,000 words that rank high in Google’s index.

Write these articles Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for example, but you can use any day you’d like.

Next schedule in your fiction/nonfiction writing at the times I listed above, either early or late. If you have an extended lunch break at work, those times help, too. I once worked a job where we had a two-hour break, so I brought my laptop and wrote on my breaks.

Each article should take between thirty and sixty minutes to complete. Mine take around 35-45 minutes.

As for writing and editing, I like to go until my eyes drift out of focus, go to sleep, wake up, do a little more, then go to work. If I’m lucky enough to be off the following day, I’ll wake up and pick up where I left off the previous day.

Northern Knights, Book I in the Lord of Columbia Series.

Word of Warning

I know I’m feeding you a lot of good food here but I want to warn you that it takes time to make a full-time living as a writer.

I’m not even there yet, but at twenty-seven, I’m proud to state I’ve made strides and have seen a few signs of hope in my short time pursuing full-time writing; about four months.

The ingredients you need are as follows: Time, persistence, patience, effort, love for chaos, get used to rejection, relish anything that’s accepted, and realize the best will come in time if you put in the necessary time and effort.

How much time?

To make a full-time living?

18 to 24 months if you’re lucky and you treat this like a full-time living right now.

Most of the time, like any business, you’ll get there in 24 to 36 months.

But again, you need to have a regular schedule, and you need the discipline to work on your writing when everyone else is relaxing.

Possible?

Of course.

Tempting to do something else when you know you should be writing?

Yes, that too.

Commit yourself daily, yes, daily, and you’ll thank yourself in a few years.

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