Romance writer Jami Albright, a “born and raised Texas girl,” is the multiple award-winning author of The Brides on the Run series–a fun, sexy, snarky, laugh-out-loud good time. After I met Jami when I spoke at the Lone Star Conference two years ago, we connected on Facebook. I’ve enjoyed watching her soar, and when she recently announced that she had quit her day job to write full-time, I knew we needed to learn more. I hope her story inspires you. Learn more about Jami on her website.
How one indie author made $74,000 in 16 months and quit her day job (and what you can learn from her)
By Jami Albright
This is the story of how I was able to quit my job and become a full-time romance writer.
I published my first book, Running From a Rock Star, in April 2017. The book launched to 1,381 in the Kindle Store and stayed in the top 5,000 for six months until book two, Running With a Sweet Talker, released in October 2017. That book launched to 696 in the Kindle store.
I quit my day job
Due to the success of both books, last December I made the decision to quit my day job to write full-time.
Are you doing the math? Or are you like me, and you don’t math?
That’s okay. I’ll break it down for you. I didn’t release book two until six months after book one, and it’s been eleven months since I published book two. Book three isn’t scheduled to come out until November 2018.
In the world of indie publishing that is supposed to be the kiss of death. But I’ve been fortunate enough to continually and consistently make money by persistently getting my book in front of readers with newsletter swaps, Facebook group takeovers, and Amazon and Facebook ads.
Here’s what worked
- I put off publishing for a year to learn as much as I could about indie publishing. I listened to podcasts, went to conferences, and asked questions – lots of questions.
- I got a fantastic cover designer who created two great covers that followed genre expectations, but included my own personal brand.
- I wrote the best book that I knew how to write. Then I made sure it was the best it could be by having it professionally edited.
- I was willing to do anything I had to do to make my publishing dream happen, including selling plasma to pay for my edits. The bottom line is: How bad do you want it?
- I put my book in front of exactly the right readers. I did this a couple of ways.
First, I built an email list of 1,200 subscribers before I launched the first book by putting up a preview of my story on Instafreebie. I then joined two group giveaways where readers signed up for my newsletter in exchange for the preview.
Second, I participated in newsletter swaps with other authors. They put my book in their newsletter, and I put theirs in mine. This was a win-win because we were both exposed to new readers. It’s important to only swap with authors who write books similar to yours. Remember, the goal is exposure to the right readers.
- Network, network, network. I made friends with other authors. This can’t be overstated. It’s vitally important to find your people and form relationships with them, whether virtually or in person. I also reached out to other authors who were doing better than me. Sometimes it worked out, and a few times it didn’t, but nobody died in the process.
- I’ve tried to be the best community member that I can be. I cheer people on, I support them, I share their stuff, and I offer help when I can.
I made some mistakes, too . . .
- Had multiple books written and ready to go before I published book one.
- Not let success distract me from getting the second book out. Book two came out months later than I’d intended. I had a tough time focusing because of social media, Book Report, and advertising.
- Stay the hell off social media. For soooo many reasons, I now have to limit my time on social media if I hope to get anything done.
- Not get caught in the comparison loop. It’s endless, and it’s caused me a great deal of stress. And sometimes I’ve let it rob me of the joy of the things that I have accomplished.
- Focus! I haven’t yet conquered this, but I am working on it and you should too.
- Cut myself some slack. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. How many times have we heard that? It’s true, and we all should have it tattooed on our butts.
- Negative self-talk. Y’all, this will kill you, and for about two months I let this paralyze me. If you’re doing this, then STOP IT! It’s my daily mission to correct this behavior in myself.
You can do it, too
I hope this helps. I’m super proud, but it would be useless to post this if it didn’t have some actionable takeaways, and the biggest takeaway should be: If I can do it, you can do it.
Thanks for reading. Now, go write!
Big thanks to Jami for sharing her success story with us! Want to ask her a question or congratulate her? Just leave a comment.
Tip of the Month
Today it’s the “Blog Audit Checklist” from The Work at Home Wife. This comprehensive, easy-to-use form walks you through a blog audit that helps you identify top-performing posts, traffic sources, and blogging tools you’re using, among other things.
I’ve downloaded it and will use it now to help me begin planning for 2019.
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