I’m Finally Taking A Stand and Saying What No One Else Will…

I do that a lot, don’t I? Take a stand, share what I believe. But I’m working with a new mentor now who is pushing me to greater levels of service and success than I ever imagined before.

And one of those things she talks about all the time is how you have to take a stand for your community. You have to take a stand for the people who follow you and for yourself.

You have to stand for what you believe and you have to share it—even if there are people out there who won’t like it. 

This is something I’ve always done anyhow. But there is one topic that I’ve avoided taking a stand on. It’s a topic that’s super close to my heart and something I always dreamed I’d do.

But, to be honest, I’ve been afraid to take a stand on it. To come out and say what I really, truly think and believe about it.

Because there’s a really big chance that you don’t or won’t agree with me… and that’s a scary thing to face. Disagreement. Conflict. People who discover they don’t fit in with my community anymore.

I’ve spoken about this topic before, danced around it for years, but I haven’t really shared my full all-out opinion on it.

But the time has come for me to rise up and take a stand. I deserve it and so do the people who are my ideal tribe members. After you read what I’m about to say, you’ll know once and for all whether or not you are…

I think traditionally publishing in the Digital Age is fucking stupid.

UNLESS you’ve got enough of a following (think Amanda Hocking and Andy Weir) where a traditional publisher comes knocking on YOUR door (when that happens, by all means, hop to it!) OR if you’ve always dreamed of being traditionally published and you’d truly feel like you failed in life if you didn’t make that happen.

But otherwise, I think it’s a bad decision for your writing life. Not because it won’t get you where you want to go, but because it takes away so much of your control and yet throws most of the work on your back. And it takes way too long.

They make the money, you do all the marketing. They give their opinions—and that’s all they are, opinions—and you spend another six months revising a story that’s already fine the way it is.

And did I mention that it takes SOOOO long and it’s built so much on the differing opinions of others—what someone else thinks will sell, what someone else sees as valuable.

I mean, let’s just look at this from a logical stand point. And I will say that I don’t care for logic. I do things how I want to do them, and the world will just have to bend.

But looking at this from a logical stand point… you spend a year writing a book. You’ve cleaned it up, revised it, it’s been to an editor and now it’s ready to go.

And then you’ve gotta look for an agent, because these days, unless you’re going small press, the only way into a big publishing house is through an agent. Could take six months, could take nine. Could even take a year.

When you finally land your agent—which is an awesome accomplishment, by the way, I’m not at all denying that—you now have to wait, again, while your agent tries to sell the book. Another six months goes by. Maybe more.

Or, maybe the agent comes back and says, “so-and-so at this publishing house suggests you make these edits, and so-and-so at that publishing house suggests you make those edits…” So you go back to the story and revise it, yet again. Another six months piled on.

Now let’s say your book actually gets sold to a publisher—and so many don’t—now you’ve got another 12-to-18 months before you’ll ever see that book in print.

Adding that up, it can take you an average of 2-3 years—or even longer, which is the case for most writers. Two to three YEARS! Before you’ll ever see your book in print.

Will it be worth it? Yeah, I’m sure it will be.

But it will be hard-won and you will be burned out… and then once the book finally comes out, you’ll still be responsible for doing all of the marketing. And at that point you won’t want to do it, because you’re so exhausted from how long it took just to get the damn book published in the first place.

Why fucking torture yourself? Why spend years writing pitches and tweaking pitches and making more and more revisions and edits based on so many other peoples’ opinions (ever heard the phrase, too many hands in the pot?)? Why focus so much time and energy on finding an agent and then waiting to find a publisher and then waiting for the publisher to decide it’s time to publish your book?

You could just professionally self-publish your book and get on to writing and self-publishing the next one. (I believe the best way to sell a book is to write and publish another one.)

That is the power of the Digital Age. And yes, you’ll still be doing the marketing for the books you self-publish, but since you won’t be wasting any time or energy on pitching agents and publishers, you’ll have plenty of time and energy to do the marketing.

And then you’ll be the one making the money when your books start to sell. (I mean, you’ll share a little with Amazon, but it’s totally worth it to have this kind of publishing power.)

The gatekeepers are totally gone now. The doors for you to step in and claim the writing success you dream of having are wide open. 

But you’ve gotta step up. You’ve gotta commit to it and you’ve gotta do what it takes.

And, most importantly, you need to professionally self-publish.

What that means is, you treat self-publishing your books like a traditional publisher would: you hire out help for whatever you need to produce a professional book. That can mean hiring an editor, or a story coach, or a cover designer, or a marketing expert. 

Whatever you need to do this self-publishing thing the right way.

I do not support self-publishing in a vacuum or self-publishing when the only person who’s read your book is your spouse or a close friend. That is the biggest mistake self-published authors make and one that causes them to fail and feel totally hopeless because they can’t sell any books.

Books need a vetting process. They need an outside perspective. You cannot publish in a vacuum. You have to get outside feedback.

Now don’t confuse getting outside feedback with listening to the opinions of too many people in the publishing industry. You always need an outside opinion from a professional who knows what they’re talking about, but you don’t have to be inundated by it.

I speak from absolute and total experience on this one. I wrote and published my first eBook—Butt-In-Chair—in 2010. And I didn’t even put that eBook—or the one I wrote next—on Amazon until the end of 2012. Before then I was selling my eBooks exclusively through my website.

And I still made upwards of $4,000 in sales.

Since I’ve been on Amazon, I’ve published five more books—one of which was a multi-category best seller and still resides in the top 5 of its category. And as I’ve done this, I’ve grown my following and am now selling more than 1,000+ books a month.

Six years. It took me six years to get to this point…and I wasn’t even trying that hard until the last few months!!

In the traditional publishing world, it could take you six years just to find an agent or a publisher.

I have a good friend who was committed to traditionally publishing. It took her 11 years to see her book in print. And after all that time and energy and waiting… the book just sits there, collecting dust, because she’s not actively marketing it and neither is her publisher.

Is that REALLY the writing dream you want for yourself? 

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are always exceptions. An author who finds an agent and a publisher quickly and when her book debuts it hits #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List and then gets turned into a movie and she becomes an overnight success story.

But that is an exception—and a rare one. That is NOT THE NORM.

When you professionally self-publish and build a following, you can get an agent and publisher to come to you. Seriously. Just look at Amanda Hocking.

Amanda Hocking spent 9 years writing books and getting rejected by publishers. Until one day in 2010 when all that changed. She needed the money to pay for a personal expense, so she put one of her books up on Amazon.

It started selling. Upwards of 9 copies a day. So she put another one up. And it started selling too. And then another and another.

She created millions of dollars from her self-published books AND THEN a traditional publisher came to her with a 2+ million dollar deal.

THAT is the true power of self-publishing and building a following. ‘Cause, remember, you’re gonna be doing all the marketing and work to build a following anyhow, so you may as well be the one to benefit from it.

Traditional publishing just can’t keep up with the power professional self-publishing holds. It’s a whole new ball game and it’s rigged in your favor.

But you’ve gotta do the work. You’ve gotta keep doing the work. You can’t write and self-publish and then sit on your ass. You’ve gotta step up.

Self-publishing is the ultimate way to take control of your writing destiny. But you’ve gotta take it seriously and treat it like a traditional publisher would. That’s the thing that makes the difference between a book that sells and a book that sits.

I’m insanely proud to be a successful self-published author and I will continue to stand and speak for the power of professionally self-publishing and for creating the writing life you dream of having.

I’ve taken my stand… how about you?

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How do you feel about self-publishing? Would you ever give it a try? 

NEW WORKSHOP: On July 18, I’m running a 4-week virtual workshop to help you GROW YOUR FOLLOWING so you can gain a readership, jump-start your traffic and sell more books (now or when you’re ready to). Learn more here

The Decision At Every Turn

There I was, sitting on my couch on July 1, staring down at a blank Moleskine. It was that time of the month–the time when I come up with my 30-day goals.

Usually I’ve got a ton of stuff going on and I can just barely keep up with myself. But for the month of July, I was stuck. Other than publishing my new eBook, I didn’t really have any other plans in mind.

Problem is, not having anything going on for the month–or not having enough going on–is not an option for me. I need to make and see progress, in myself, in my writing life and in my business, every single month. So I’ve gotta have specific 30-day goals to focus on every day.

Now this is one of those moments that happen often to writers. You’re sitting there and you don’t know what to write or you have no idea what project to work on next or you’re not really that excited about anything you’re working on at the moment.

And in these moments you have two choices: buy into the BS that you don’t know what to do or write or whatever OR create another reality.

Thats’s a choice you have in every single moment of every single day. You get to choose the reality that you live in.

So you can either buy into a reality where you’re stuck, don’t know what to write, have no ideas and don’t know what to do. OR you can create a new reality where you know exactly what to write, and everything you write flows with ease, and you always have brilliant ideas.

Which reality is more inspiring to you?

So that’s where I was at. Blank Moleskine, no ideas for what I wanted to accomplish this month.

But instead of doing the thing I usually do, which is sit around for two weeks, buying into my BS and not taking action, I decided, in that moment, not to. Not to buy into the BS. Not to let the “I don’t know what to do” excuse be a part of my reality. Not anymore.

Because we always know what to do. The answers are always inside us. But we have to be open to receiving them.

And, sadly, a lot of times, we’re not. We’re not open and we’re not willing. In fact, sometimes we’re perfectly happy wallowing in our misery and in what’s not working.

But that’s the shit that keeps you stuck and not making consistent progress.

Which is why there’s a decision at every turn–every moment–in life. And that decision is: am I gonna buy into this current reality? OR am I going to create something different? 

Over and over again, you’re presented with this decision. Problem is, a lot of times you don’t notice or even realize it. So you just buy into the current reality.

But now that you’re aware and you know that this happens, you can actively make the choice to not go down that road. To not buy into the BS of your current reality or any of the negative, limiting thoughts in your head.

To, instead, create the reality you want to see. That’s what I did.

I made a list of 31 things I could create this month. And then I took a nap. (Naps can be a very effective manifestation tool if you use them right.)

BUT–and here’s where the using it right part comes in–before I went to sleep, I set an intention for when I woke up, and that intention was: I will know what to create and focus the month of July on.

When I first woke up from my nap…nothing. I still wasn’t totally sure what to create, but then my husband said to me, “did you see that question someone posted on your Facebook wall the other day?” I hadn’t, so I went on Facebook to check the question out and it went something like this: how do I grow my following as an emerging author? 

BOOM! A sign from the Universe… which aligned with one of the 31 ideas I had brainstormed earlier in the day. I will do a workshop in the month of July teaching emerging authors how to grow their following online. (And I have another workshop that I’m brainstorming on right now.)

The point of all this, is to show you how powerful it can be to combine practical actions with energetic ones. It’s really the intersecting of these two types of actions where the most powerful manifestation takes place.

You can use these energetic and practical actions in your life, moment to moment, as you go through your day. Over and over again, to create your life exactly as you want it to be.

BUT–you have to make that choice. You have to actively, intentionally, on purpose choose not to stay stuck, not to buy into the BS, not to get caught up in the madness that goes on in your head at times.

And if you can do that, you can have any life you dream of.

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What’s one way you can combine practical and energetic actions in your life? 

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This Is A Call to Arms for Writers Everywhere

Why do you write?”

Someone asked me that recently and there’s a variety of answers I could’ve used: because I love it; because it’s what I’m best at; because I’ve got shit tons of fictional stories inside me and creative ideas and life experiences I’ve been through–most of which needs to be written down.

But the only reason that really matters is this one: because I can’t not.

I can’t not write. It’s impossible. Because I was born this way.

I’ve been writing ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. When I look back on my life so far, the only constant is me being a writer.

When I was very young I wrote poems and rhymey little songs. As I grew up I started writing short stories and then a novella. That novella solidified that I was going to make writing my career.

As I went through high school, I got interested in journalism–mostly because I was trying to figure out how to make writing my career, instead of just focusing on doing what I loved, which was fiction writing. Journalism led me to a four-year degree which then led me to my 7-year string of writing-related jobs in publishing (print and online), corporate online marketing and social media strategy. I’ve written 600+ blog posts, and written and published 7 books (and counting).

And along the way I realized I can’t not write.

Even when I had moments where I wasn’t doing a lot of writing-writing, I always kept a journal. I always had a place to write down my thoughts and ideas. I’ve always had several active idea notebooks at the same time (one for each project).

I couldn’t not do these things. Because I was born this way.

Writing isn’t something I do, it’s who I am. It’s who I was born to be. 

And you’re here right now, reading this, because you feel the same way. You were born to be a writer, to use your words to spread a message, to share stories, to change the world. 

The reason the pen is mightier than the sword is because words change things. Words can shift perspectives and cause a fire to be lit inside someone who was once dead inside.

Words are the most powerful force on the planet. Because words create things.

As writers, we are the creators of the world–our worlds and the fictional worlds that we dream up.

Our perspective matters. Our stories need to be told. Our truth needs to be spoken.

Because in us doing this, by stepping up and claiming our calling to be the writers and authors we dream of being, we activate a power within us so great it can move mountains, seemingly overnight.

In April 2016, I stepped up and claimed my calling. I had been on the path of it since birth and even before, but I never claimed it. I never decided that I was here to be an author and to change the world with my words.

Until that day in April, when I decided that enough was enough. It was time for me to drop the bullshit, stop making excuses, and rise to the occasion. The occasion being my writing life.

Up ’til that point I’d been dancing around my writing dream, writing blog posts each week and writing a new book every couple years. But it just wasn’t enough. Not for me.

So I decided that it was time. It was time to claim the writing life I was born to have and to create along my journey in life. It was time to step the fuck up and do the work to think like and act like the writer and author I dream of being.

And from this place of deciding, of knowing what I’m here for and by deciding to live into that purpose, every single day, from here on out, things shifted. My whole writing life changed… because I did.

If you were born to be a writer–and YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE–then it’s time for you to do the same. It’s time for you to accept that mission and decide to live into that purpose. Day in and day out. Every single day. For the rest of your life. 

From this moment on, that is who I am writing for. That is who I am creating for and that is who I am exclusively going to be working with. Writers and authors who know they were born for this. Born to change the world with their words, their stories. Born to live their dream writing lives, all on their terms.

If you know, deep down in your heart and soul, that you were born to be a writer, I’m talking to YOU.

It’s time for you to come out from hiding. Time to let go of the BS stuff you’re telling yourself right now about why you can’t step up or claim that you were born to write. Time to accept your mission to serve the world through your words and through sharing your ideas, your personal truth and your stories (fictional and nonfiction).

The world needs you. I believe that as writers who are born to write, all of the ideas and stories that come to us, come because we’re meant to write them. No one else could ever write that same thing in the same way you can. 

But you’ve gotta write it. You’ve gotta stop keeping it inside your head or in your computer and you need to put it out into the world.

When I accepted my mission to deliver life-changing ideas and stories to the world through my written words, that’s when things took off in my writing life. That’s when I started selling 1,000+ books in a 30-day period and hitting #1 in multiple categories on Amazon.

It’s when I decided to let my dreams be bigger than my bullshit that things totally changed. 

It comes down to one thing: alignment. Getting aligned with the dream I had and the desire I feel inside to shake the writing world with my words.

Alignment is everything. And if you were born to be a writer, but you’re not doing the work or you’re only sort of doing the work, then you’re out of alignment and that’s why things aren’t working the way you want them to. This can change almost immediately though.

Just as soon as you decide. Just as soon as you decide to let your writing dream and let being the writer and author you dream of being be bigger than the bullshit you tell yourself or that you let stop you.

Just as soon as you step up and accept your mission to truly–day in and day out–be the writer you were born to be.

So… do you accept? 

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Were you born to be a writer? Let’s hear it.

Are you ready to step up and accept your mission to be the writer and author you dream of being, and to live into that purpose? Then be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, strategy and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs who want to create their dream writing lives all on their terms. 

Image courtesy of Seth Sawyers 

Want to See the Success You Dream Of? You Need To Build This Up

When you’re going along on your writing journey, you will inevitably come across other authors. A lot of them will be more successful than you are (right now).

You may see other authors selling thousands of books every month, while your book collects dust in the dark corners of Amazon. You may find authors who seem to have success fall into their laps.

And it can be disheartening. To see others growing in fame and success, and you’re just stagnant and feeling totally invisible.

But here’s the thing, you never know where someone started. Sure, you’re seeing the success they have now, but what about when they first began their writing journeys?

Everybody starts somewhere. 

And you have to remember that. You have to remind yourself of that. Because if you don’t, it will get to you. It will make you feel like you’re a total loser and like you might as well hang it up.

Everybody starts somewhere.

You’re starting somewhere, and so did all of the authors you’re watching have the level of success you dream of having. No one starts at the top.

Now, of course, there are things you can do to move from the bottom to the top pretty quickly. But you can’t start there. And really, why would you want to?

If you started at the top, you wouldn’t enjoy or appreciate it as much, because you didn’t have to do anything to get there. Starting from square one, being a beginner, failing and getting up and trying again. Those are the things that make getting to the top totally worth it.

But there’s no such thing as a true overnight success. The seemingly overnight success stories you see out there are either 1) total BS, 2) or the overnight results of someone who’s been at it for a while and has momentum built.

What You Need to Play in the Big Leagues

The biggest thing you need to be super successful in the writing world at a professional level is momentum. Momentum is really everything.

So when you publish book number one and only sell a few copies, do not, do not, do not let it get you down. Everybody starts somewhere.

The first year I put my eBooks on Amazon (in late 2012), I made like $150. It wasn’t until I published books 6 and 7 where I really started to see traction. Now I’m selling 1,000+ books and making around $500+ every month.

From the outside, it may look like my writing career just took off out of nowhere. But the truth is, I’ve been writing professionally since I was 18 years old. I’ve worked for a newspaper, several magazines and several online publications. I have a background in online marketing. I’ve got a journalism degree. And I’ve been blogging since 2008, and writing and publishing books since 2010.

I have momentum built.

So when I published my eBook, Align Your Writing Habits to Success–a book I wrote in 15-minute increments over a 30-day period–and it hit #1 on Amazon in multiple categories on multiple days, things just took off from there.

But it had nothing to do with that specific book or me being better than anyone else. It’s just the momentum.

When you’ve got momentum built up, things eventually have to take off. That’s what momentum does. It builds up force so that when you get to a place where you’re fully aligned with the writing you’re doing, it’s like you’ve turned a corner on a rollercoaster. Suddenly everything is just flowing and building up speed–seemingly on its own.

I’m less than 50 sales away from having sold 1,000 books in the month of June. And I know I’ll make that many sales today, maybe even more. Because at this point, my books are selling themselves. Without doing any additional marketing, I’m selling an average of 30-40 books a day, every single day.

Momentum.

I know what I’m doing now. I’ve got enough failures under my belt to know what not to do, and to know how to pivot in another direction when something isn’t quite working how I want it to. But only experience and practice and time can teach you this.

So next time you see an author out there, having the success that you dream of having, don’t let it get you down. Use it as fuel to build yourself back up. Because you know that you have everything it takes to create the success you want.

You just have to take enough consistent action in the direction of your writing dream so you can build up the momentum.

But no matter what, do not let the success of others make you think you’re not good enough or that you can’t make your dream happen. You totally can. Everybody starts somewhere.

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What can you do today to start building momentum on your writing dream? 

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Image courtesy of Sheila Sund

Why It’s A Good Idea to Have One Website, Even When You Do Multiple Things

Hear me out on this one. Because I know up front it seems like it makes total sense to keep all of your creative work and projects separate from each other by having different websites. The books with the books. The artwork with the artwork. The whatever with the other whatevers.

Logically it does makes sense. Keep everything separate and contained in one place, so that it’s nice and neat and no one gets confused.

Here are the arguments I often hear for having multiple websites:

  • People will get confused if I have multiple projects on one site
  • People will get distracted
  • Readers don’t want to see information about your writing services and writers don’t want to see information about your books, etc.
  • It will be harder to get people interested in what I’m doing/interested in following me if I have too much stuff on one site that doesn’t go together

And, yes, all of those arguments are totally valid. Having multiple websites, one for each project or focus you have, is the traditional way of thinking about marketing.

But there’s a better and much more effective way to think about it: the Digital Age way.

In the Digital Age, there is power in being YOU. There is no one else in the world exactly like you–there never has been and there never will be.

Being you makes you unique, automatically.

So rather than try to separate or compartmentalize all the different things that make up who you are and what you do (which is the traditional way of doing it), put them all together with YOU as the thing that ties it all together.

I’m better with examples… so here’s a quick graphic I drew up to illustrate what I’m talking about:

FullSizeRender-4

The black-marker drawing is the old way of thinking, that everything you do has to be separate from each other. The blue-marker drawing is the new way of thinking about it.

I call it the “Authorpreneur Brand.” What that means is, you as the writer/author are the “umbrella” that everything else falls under. Think of it like a celebrity brand. A celebrity has her movies and her music, her makeup line and her haircare line, etc. But all of it fits on the same website because the thing that brings it all together is her as the celebrity.

Yes, you can also have separate websites if you prefer, to let people find out more or go deeper. But you can still use one website as the “home base” for all of that (and then just connect your main website to all the sub-sites).

One of the bigger arguments I hear for having multiple sites is that people will get confused or readers don’t want to see your writing services and vice versa. But here’s the truth: by being you, you will attract your ideal audience, and your ideal audience will buy into YOU, not into what you do.

Meaning, people who love you and love who you are and who resonate on a deep level with you, will want to know everything that you’re doing. They’ll want to follow all of the stuff you have going on. (And the rest of them don’t matter!).

Makes it a lot easier for them to do that when you have one website, right?

So that’s my reason for recommending you have one main website for everything you do as an authorpreneur.

I’ve done the multiple website thing. I used to totally believe that you had to keep it all separate. So I had a website focused on motivation and inspiration for writers called Procrastinating Writers; and I had a website focused on creative wellness and the writing life called InkyBites; and then I had a website for my author brand and coaching services called JenniferBlanchard.net.

Problem was, I was spread so freaking thin trying to keep up with all these sites that I wasn’t being effective in any one area. I was making very little impact. And I’m here to make an impact on the writing world.

In order to do that, I had to suck all those other brands up into one brand: Jennifer Blanchard. Me, as the authorpreneur, at the center of everything.

So many of us writers are multipotentialites, meaning we’re passionate about multiple things, not just writing. And it’s totally OK for us to be this way. But it does make marketing a bit more challenging.

One way to make it easier on yourself is to find a way to make yourself the brand and build everything else from that.

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How can you pull together all of your interests and passions under YOU as the brand? 

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The Crazy Thing I Did This Morning

I’ve been on my writing journey since I was 11 years old, but in the last five months, shit has gotten REAL. I’ve stepped it up BIG TIME.

A year ago, I had finally published my first novel–a debut 18 years in the making. But then I got stagnant. I let the success of getting my novel out there be enough.

I killed the momentum I built by letting it ride, instead of celebrating and then getting back to work on the next book. I let it be enough.

But the truth is, it’s not enough. Not nearly. Because I want to have hundreds of published books, in all forms.

And why not?? I have TONS and TONS of ideas for books I can write. Most I’ll probably never write, but of the thousands of ideas, hundreds will come through as “I’ve gotta write that.”

That’s just the kind of writer and author I want to be.

When did this vision for my writing life solidify? When I met a multi-bestselling authorpreneur named Kat Loterzo. She has published 47 books–46 of which were best sellers on Amazon. And when I met her, it was like the vision for my writing life opened up.

I want to build a writing empire centered around my books and me as an authorpreneur. 

She was the first author who made the self-publishing career I want to create for myself seem attainable. She inspired me to no end.

So I joined a bunch of her group programs, which totally changed everything for me. Her work got me aligned to the work that I’m meant to be doing in the world and the message I’m here to share with writers. She brought out the writer and author I’ve always known was inside me, but who I was previously too scared to fully step up and be.

Since meeting Kat five months ago, I have:

  • Become an Amazon Best Selling author in multiple categories
  • Published 2 eBooks (one of which hit #1 on Amazon multiple times)
  • Sold almost 1,500 books
  • Added 2,000+ new subscribers to my email list
  • Started listening to my intuition and letting go of planning (day-to-day planning, that is; I will always be a story planner)
  • Been more visible online than I ever have before
  • Committed to writing and publishing 9 books in 2016 (8 eBooks and 1 novel)
  • Revamped all of my writing habits
  • Aligned my writing habits, thoughts, feelings and actions to the success I dream of having
  • Taken action, consistently, every day
  • Created more content than ever before
  • Had more ease, flow, joy in my daily life
  • Gotten more new clients
  • Made connections with some big-name players in the writing world

A good mentor brings that kind of progress out in you. Which is why this morning I finally did something that I’ve been thinking about doing since that first group program I took with her.

I hired Kat as my 1-on-1 mentor.

I stepped WAY WAY WAY out of my comfort zone and bet on myself. I stretched myself beyond where I’d usually go. And I put my money where my dream is (the most money I’ve ever invested, aside from going to college).

Am I freaking out? YES! Majorly freaking out.

In a good way. This is a HUGE leap of faith for me.

But I know the Universe is totally gonna catch me and support me in making this leap. Because that’s the Universe’s job.

Your job is to decide what you want and why you want it, then the Universe goes to work figuring out the How. All you have to do is keep moving in that direction.

A week ago I asked myself, “If I’m in the same place next year at this time as I am right now… will I be upset about it?” And the answer was YES. I’ll be VERY upset about it. I always want to see progress and I want to see myself grow and, at minimum, double up on my success from the previous year (though tripling and quadrupling up is just fine too 😉 ).

So this morning, I made a leap of faith. I paid Kat the first payment for her 6-week program and I’m IN.

Doing this was incredibly scary and yet also incredibly freeing. Because I’ve not only seen Kat’s work with other authors and entrepreneurs (as well as with herself), but I’ve also experienced incredible success just by being in the same virtual vicinity as she is.

I’m a better authorpreneur when she’s around. And I CANNOT WAIT to see what I accomplish when I actually get to interact 1-1 with her on a regular basis!!!! 

This is the biggest leap of faith action I’ve taken since quitting my job in 2012 to work full-time for myself. But you need to take leap of faith actions from time-to-time, because it shows the Universe a very clear message that you are ready for more and willing to do whatever it takes. So I’m committed to taking frequent leaps of faith.

Now I turn the tables to you: When was the last time you took a leap of faith action? When was the last time you went after something you wanted so badly you could taste it? 

If you can’t think of an answer for this… it’s time to reevaluate. Because if you want to do great things in the world, it requires you to think BIG and act BOLD.

Fortune favors the bold.

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What leap of faith action can you take today? 

Ready to take a leap of faith in your writing life? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, kick-ass motivation, strategy and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs who want to create their dream writing lives on their terms. 

Image courtesy of Tiago

The 5 Things Your Author Platform Must Have

You’ve probably heard the term “author platform” before. But you may not know what it means. Basically your author platform is how and where you show up online. Whatever you do to connect with your audience and distribute your content–that’s your author platform.

Usually this refers to a website or Facebook page, but there are actually 5 specific elements your author platform needs to have. Those elements are your:

1. Author Message

Every author should have a message, something you stand for and feel the world needs to hear. This is true regardless of what kind of writing your do, fiction, nonfiction, etc.

The way you spread this message is through your content.

2. Website

This is going to be your “home base” online. It’s the core of your author platform.

It’s the place people can go to find out more about you and get access to the content that you create (whatever that may be–books, blog posts, videos, etc).

3. Email List

This is the best way to stay in contact with your community and to give them awesome, valuable content on a consistent basis.

Just make sure you use a professional email marketing software, like MailChimp (it’s free up to a certain number of subscribers), so that way you don’t have to manually send emails out to each person or keep track of who’s on your list.

Also, legally speaking (though I’m not a lawyer), people need to have a way to unsubscribe from your list, the pro software has that option built in.

4. Freebie Opt-In

You may not have heard it called this before, but I bet you’ve seen several of them. A freebie opt-in is just something free that you give away to entice people join your email list.

The freebie can be an eBook, video training series, workbook, checklist, cheat sheet, MP3 recording, whatever you can come up with.

The goal is to give your audience something valuable that they actually want.

5. Social Media

This is the final piece of your author platform, and I put it last because if you didn’t want to be on social media, you could ignore this step completely and still be a successful author in the digital age (although you will be cutting off connection to a large number of people).

Social media is the icing on the cake, but it’s not the whole cake nor is it the most important part of your platform. The reason is because you don’t own the social media sites, so you have no control over changes they make or things they choose to do.

Your social media can consist of your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest… whatever sites you’re on. I always recommend starting with one or two sites, then being consistent and growing a following on there before adding more.

Are you ready to set up your author platform? Join me for a FREE 5-day Launch Your Author Platform challenge:

>> SIGN UP HERE 

The One Thing I Attribute All of My Recent Success To

Ever since I was very young, I knew I was here for a reason. I always believed that I was meant for more. Meant to make an impact, meant to do big things in the world.

It’s a core belief I’ve held my entire life.

And I didn’t always know what that reason was or how I was going to fulfill it. But I knew if I always followed my heart I’d be OK.

Following your heart. Something that’s so taboo in this world. Society tells us to pick one thing and do what everyone else is doing and we’re wrong if we’re different or outside the norm.

But that’s the agreement I made with myself when I was growing up, that no matter what, I would always follow my heart. I would ignore what everyone else was doing and I would do things my way.

Now I haven’t always lived up to that. There have been times where I lost sight of what really mattered to me. But I was always quick to catch myself and refocus on my heart.

It was my heart that led me to being a writer, to choosing the writing life over all the other possibilities out there. I chose it because I believe so deeply that I have a message to share with the world. And that message is freedom and taking control of your destiny.

The truth is you can have anything you want for your life. ANYTHING. I am proof of it. I’ve lived so many of my dreams and my writing life has exploded (in a good way!).

Since I released my eBook, Align Your Writing Habits to Success and had it hit #1 in multiple categories on Amazon, I’ve been selling a TON of books! In May, I sold 589. So far this month, I’m up to 658 (and there’s still a week and a half left to go!).

I’ve been getting new eBook ideas left and right. Ideas I’ve had for years are coming together into cohesive and engaging outlines right in front of my very eyes. And it’s all happening with ease and flow.

I feel more confident than I’ve ever felt before, expecting so much more awesomeness to come and feeling happy and fulfilled every single day. Joy like I have never known before.

And I attribute this success and the way I’m feeling to one thing: the Bestselling Author Mastermind.

I started this group because I gave myself a HUGE goal (back in April) to write and publish one eBook a month for the rest of 2016. It was time for me to stop being comfortable in my writing life. But I needed all the accountability I could get. Leading a group of people is pretty major accountability.

Being the leader of this group has forced me to step up and not just lead, but fucking own the writing life I want to have. To walk my talk consistently, like I never have before. To be fully in alignment with my divine gifts and what I came to this world to do.

It’s this alignment, passion and–most importantly–pro writer mindset that has brought me to this point.

But not just me.

Here’s just some of what members of the Bestselling Author Mastermind have achieved in the last month and a half:

  • Become a featured columnist on a big-name website
  • Ideas for eBooks
  • Outlines for novels 
  • Established a daily habit of writing
  • Written 23,000 words in a new WIP
  • Got first pro gig editing a video script
  • Completed revisions on a 100,000-word manuscript 
  • Put together 3 poetry compilation manuscripts and sent them off for Beta Reading
And that’s not even including the stuff I accomplished! Since May 2 I have: written one eBook, published 2 eBooks, 1 of which hit #1 in multiple categories on Amazon, written 20+ blog posts, created 20+ videos, outlined 3 new books…I could go on.

Now these results aren’t typical for most writers, but that’s what makes this group so special. Because the people in it are not most writers. They’re writers who actually step up to the plate, do the work and see results. Who let their dreams be bigger than their excuses. Who create their own realities with their thoughts, beliefs and actions.

Writers who know they were born to write and share their message and stories with the world through the written word. And writers who want to create their dream writing lives on their terms. 

If that sounds like you–and if hanging out in a virtual space (Facebook group) with a bunch of inspired, fire-lit-under-their-asses writers from all over the world sounds like it’d be a good ‘ol time–we’d love for you to join us.

>> Learn more and sign up here

This is by far the best thing I have ever created. I hope you’ll join us and find out for yourself just how awesome it is to be surrounded by a community of like-minded writers.

6 Ways to Create Your Writing Life On Your Terms

Life by design? Or life by reaction? That was the choice sitting in front of me (in front of all of us, really) back in 2008 when I decided to start my blog and take control of my writing life once and for all.

It’s been a bumpy ride since then, with ups and downs and all arounds. But one thing has remained constant: I’m creating my writing life exactly as I want it, all on my own terms. 

That’s what I dreamed of. I saw writers out there struggling to find freelance work and getting rejected over and over again by publishers and agents who saw no potential in their books. And I didn’t want to be like them. I didn’t want to hand my writing career over to someone else. Didn’t want someone else’s opinions clouding that inner guidance telling me which direction to go in.

I wanted to take control, to make the decisions for myself, to be in charge of whether I succeed or fall short. It’s all on me.

If I had to pick a theme song to represent me, it would be the song, Make Yourself, by Incubus. That song is all about creating yourself and your life on your terms. With lyrics like, “if I hadn’t assembled myself, I’d have fallen apart by now,” and “if you let ’em make you, they’re make you paper maché, at a distance you’re strong until the wind comes, then you crumble and blow away,” and my favorite line: “but if you really want to live, why not try and make yourself?”

I believe so deeply that we’re meant to make ourselves, that we’re meant to decide who we want to be, and that we can absolutely choose and then step up and be that person.

This applies to everything–including your writing life.

You can totally create the writing life you’ve been dreaming of and you can do it all on your terms. Yes, you.

The only limitations that exist are the ones that you place on yourself, in your mind. Remove those limitations and you will soar to heights you can’t even imagine right now.

You can choose, right now, to start taking control of your writing destiny, by:

  • Working consistently on your mindset–mindset is everything. If you can create it and believe in in your mind, it has to show up in your reality.
  • Giving up the excuses–whatever excuses you make may totally be valid, but they’re still costing you the writing life you dream of having. So give them up and commit to dealing with whatever comes and doing your writing anyhow.
  • Showing up every day–in whatever way you need to show up. Sometimes it’s actually doing the writing, other times it’s just being visible in the online world and letting people know who you are and what you stand for.
  • Stepping up and claiming what you really want–the first step to getting what you want is being very clear on what it is that you actually want and then claiming it and saying out loud to yourself and to others that you are going to make it happen.
  • Not being so rigid about how things happen–if you’re not making a lot of progress it’s probably because you’re being way too rigid about how things are supposed to happen. Writing can happen no matter how much time you have available (15 minutes is enough!). Progress can be made daily when you drop trying to be perfect. Dreams can come true when you stop worrying about how it will come true and just take whatever actions you can think of.
  • Ignoring what everyone else is doing–a big part of creating success on your terms is not worrying about, thinking about or focusing on what anyone else is doing and just doing what feels right to you. Now that’s not to say you should operate in a vacuum (big mistake to do that!). But you need to connect to your intuition and follow the path that your heart desires. All of the most successful times in my life came from following my heart and ignoring everything else.

Your dream writing life exists. Someone out there is already living it. Which means it’s possible for you to have it too.

But you’ve gotta step up, your mindset and your action-taking.

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How will you step up your mindset and action-taking today? 

If you’re done with excuses and ready to step up and claim the writing life you dream of having, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, where we kick excuses to the curb and make big shit happen. Learn more here

Image courtesy of Lindsay Alachance

2 Signs You’re Moving In the Right Direction (And Should Keep Going)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “success signs.” As in, the little signs that start to show up in your reality the more consistent you are and the more progress you make.

As I’ve really thought about my “success signs,” or patterns that tend to repeat themselves every time I have a success of some kind, I’ve noticed 2 main signposts. Most people would probably freak out when they see these signs showing up in their lives (I know I used to!).

But now that I’ve been doing this whole pro writing thing long enough, I’ve discovered that similar things happen to me over and over again, the more success I achieve.

Here are the 2 things that I find to be signposts for success, or at the very least, signposts for, “Yes, you ARE moving in the right direction. Keep going.” Those signs are:

1. Haters

Whenever I’ve reached a place in my writing business where I’m being bombarded by haters or by people who don’t like what I’m doing/who I am and want to give their two cents about it (which, to be honest, isn’t even worth 1 cent, but I digress…), I know I’m doing something right.

I used to take haters as a bad sign. I used to think if someone didn’t like what I was doing or how I was doing it, that I was in the wrong and should change in some way.

But after the last few years of working my ass off to up-level, I’ve realized that whenever haters show up in my world, it’s because I’m on the cusp on something awesome. For me, haters come out of the woodwork when I’m about to push through an old way of being/thinking and achieve a whole new level of success.

Now, rather than see haters as a bad thing or as a sign to retreat, I see it as a sign to PUSH HARDER. To KEEP GOING. To STICK WITH the path I’m on. 

So that’s what I do now. I push through. I keep doing what I’m doing. I commit, in that moment, to NOT letting it get to me, to NOT giving in and to NOT being deterred.

Because that’s what the haters want. They want to stop you, to drag you down with their bullshit. But the thing you need to always, always, always remember about haters is this: it’s NEVER about you. It’s ALWAYS about them.

Sure, maybe there’s something about you or something you’re saying or doing that’s pushing their buttons and causing them to feel reactive. But, again, that has nothing to do with you and everything do with them.

When I get haters (and I get them often these days), I do the following:

  • Avoid reacting to them, as much as possible–yes, sometimes it’s impossible and a hater has said something so ridiculous and unnecessary that you have to write back, reply and tear them a new one. BUT most of the time haters are just a test from the Universe to see if you’ve really got what it takes to do this writing thing for real. So by not reacting, you’re pissing the hater off more AND showing the Universe you’re ready to go pro.
  • Write my reality–even when I know the things a hater is saying are totally wrong and not at all valid, that shit still gets into your head. It still nags at you and irritates you and annoys you to no end. BUT most writers would let that spin into complaining and the total ruination of their day (it’s happened to me before). Talk about an energy drain. So what I do now, is take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, let it out slowly and then I grab my journal and write out the reality I want to create. I write out who I am, what I stand for and what I want to see happen. Mindset work–especially in the face of a hater–is the most powerful tool for overcoming whatever negativity is being spewed at you.
  • Dance–sometimes to “Shake It Off” and sometimes to whatever song feels right in the moment (this morning that song was “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow). Dancing always gets me out of my head and into a flow state.

Haters are gonna happen. How you deal with them is what really matters. 

2. Feeling Really, Really, Really Good

For me, feeling really good is now the norm. It’s how I choose to live my life. It’s the intention I set for my day, every day.

Problem is, as humans, we’re taught BS things like, “what goes up must come down” and “don’t be too happy or you’ll be crying later.” We “knock on wood” when something good happens because we’re afraid that if we don’t, something bad will follow.

We’re taught by the people we love most that feeling good and having good stuff happen is a fluke, but not the norm. And so we actually believe that shit. We actually take it in and believe it.

I can’t even count how many times in my life I’ve had good stuff happen and then immediately my thoughts went to, “Be careful, something bad is always on the tail of something good.” What???!!

Say it with me now… THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT!

You are allowed to feel good. All the time. Good things are supposed to happen to you. You were born into an abundant universe where anything is possible when you set your mind to it. 

So feeling good SHOULD BE the NORM. It should not be a fluke and you should not feel like you “got lucky.”

Happiness, joy, feeling fucking amazing is YOUR BIRTH RIGHT.

But it’s up to YOU to claim it. To decide that you’re going to feel good every single day, no matter what.

For me, when I’ve had too many days in a row where things are working out or I’m feeling really, really, good and really really happy and really, really loving my life, I usually sabotage it. Find a way to do something that will push me back down in the dumps or make me feel bad again.

That’s just how it is…right?

WRONG!

When I realized that wasn’t “just how it is” but instead was “just a choice I was making,” I decided to make the opposite choice. Now when I have days where I feel awesome and weeks where everything is flowing and success is literally just falling in my lap, I do the following:

  • Repeat life truths over and over to myself–“I am allowed to feel good. I am allowed to keep this good feeling going. Bad stuff cannot touch me when I am feeling this good. THIS is how it’s supposed to be. This is what I’m meant to feel. And, most importantly, it is OK for me to feel good and to be happy every day.” Doing this immediately changes my way of thinking and shifts me to a higher vibration where I am actually able to keep the good feeling flowing.
  • Focus, focus, focus on what’s going well–when things go well, a lot of times we sabotage it by turning to the negative and telling ourselves all the things that could go wrong or worrying about what might go wrong. This is when you must have an unbreakable mindset and force yourself to IGNORE all the bad stuff that could happen and all of the worry and just stay focused on the good stuff and on what you want to create and on what could go right. What you focus on expands.

When I’m feeling really good, I know it’s because I’m on the right path and that I have arrived at a new level. And I know the success I’m starting to see will keep going and will expand even further if I just stick with it and don’t get deterred by haters or by feeling good or anything else.

 

Now sometimes you may feel like you’re on the wrong path because “nothing is working out” or “it’s not working out fast enough.” And I get it, believe me. I am the Queen of Impatience. (I wanted to get to where I am right now like 5 years ago, so by this point I could be where I actually will be 5 years from now.)

But success requires patience. (As one of my favorite musicians, Tom Petty, says, “The waiting is the hardest part.“)

So even when things aren’t totally working out, if you’re seeing some signs of success, then you’re doing something right. Just keep going.

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What are your success signs? How do they show up in your life?

Ready to take your writing life to a whole new level? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, kick-ass motivation and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. Doors are opening to new members soon!