2016 Year In Review

I seriously still can’t believe it’s the end of the year. Where the hell did 2016 go?!

That being said, it was an INCREDIBLE year for me. My best so far. I’m finishing the year not only having completed so many of the goals I had, but feeling SO damn proud of myself for how much I stepped up this year and kicked ass.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know the kind of year I just had!

But it’s always good to do a check in and really take inventory of what you managed to do this year (and what you didn’t). So here’s my 2016 Year In Review:

What I Accomplished

  • Wrote 9 books–published 7 of them (5 on Amazon, 1 as a freebie eBook on my website, 1 as a long blog post).
  • Hit #1 on Amazon 3 times with 2 different books
  • Fully replaced the income I used to make at my day job with my business income (first year I’ve done this!!)
  • Participated in my first multiple day live event (with Larry Brooks!)
  • Guest posted for Copyblogger
  • Sold 2,300+ books in 31 days
  • Was the first American guest on the U.K. podcast, Self-Publishing Journeys
  • Connected with big-name people in the writing industry
  • Launched my first podcast, The Pro Writer Mindset
  • Up-leveled my mindset and created a new reality for myself
  • Created supportive writing habits that stuck
  • Continued changing writers lives through my books, workshops, digital products, free content, and my 1-1 coaching
  • Kept up with my daily mindset practice and have now taken it into overdrive
  • Attended a live event in the writing industry (TRIBE Writers!)
  • Signed on to work with two of my dream mentors
  • Took massive leaps in my business and in my writing career
  • Stepped up to be the writer and author I’ve always wanted to be
  • Learned A SHIT TON!
  • Began trusting the Universe to show up for me and keep showing up for me
  • Launched my membership site, the Bestselling Author Mastermind
  • Changed my thinking BIG TIME
  • Wrote 20+ emails a month to my community
  • Continued to grow the membership of my free Facebook group, the 1% Writers Club

There’s probably SO MUCH MORE that I’m not even thinking of (because I honestly did a fuck load of stuff this year!). But this is the bulk of it. Whew!

And I’m not even tired! I’m energized and ready to keep going!!

What I Left Undone

With everything that does get done, there are always things that don’t get done. It’s what sacrifice is all about. And every choice you make has one.

For me, these are the biggest things that got left undone this year:

  • Didn’t achieve any of my fitness and health goals
  • Didn’t publish my second novel
  • Dishes… oh so many dishes 🙂

While I’m not happy about the things left undone, I realize that it’s OK. Because a whole lot of other things did get done. And way more than I left undone.

Looking Into 2017

As usual, I have some MASSIVE goals for the New Year–stuff I’m really, really excited about. And while I’ll have lots of little goals for the year, I like to choose 3-5 BIG goals for the year. My big goals for 2017 are:

  • Publish novel #2
  • Write a screenplay
  • Get healthy (fitness and food goals mixed into this one)
  • Write a memoir
  • Double my income from 2016

I’m taking on some stuff this year that’s totally outside my comfort zone. It’s going to be another year of massive achievement and massive growth. I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t know about you, but this is the first year where I’m ending December feeling like I killed it!! Like I seriously kicked ass and like I took advantage of every minute I could.

I know there are things I could’ve done better (’cause aren’t there always?) but overall, I’m insanely proud of myself and of how hard I worked this year, how far out of my comfort zone I pushed myself, and how much I leaned on the Universe for support.

I know 2017 is going to be an even more amazing year thanks to the momentum I built up this year.

How’d your year go? Are you landing where you wanted to? Or are you finding yourself feeling disappointed for another year gone by without achieving what you wanted to?

Wherever you’re at is the perfect place–there’s never any reason to judge or berate yourself. Your life is unfolding in perfect timing.

But it never hurts to get some clarity and self-awareness around what’s working and what’s not. So you know exactly what to focus on in the coming year.

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What did you accomplish this year that you’re most proud of? Share in the comments.

 

The FREE “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks Read and Discuss Event Series

The new year is upon us, and with it a refreshing sense of what’s possible. A whole new 365 days to do with whatever we desire.

And one of the things I like to do every year, is re-read my favorite craft book, Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks.

But this year, I wanted to do something different. This year, I’m inviting you to JOIN ME.

I hosted a 7-day livestream series where we read and then discussed the sections of Story Engineering. (Video replays below) 

Why did I choose this book? Because the information in it changed my life. It took me from writing in circles to writing actual stories that were cohesive and worth publishing. It helped me get my debut novel, SoundCheck, out into the world.

It’s the only craft book that ever spoke to me and that finally made me really understand story structure and how to use it. (I was lucky enough to have found Story Engineering back when it was an eBook on Larry’s site called, Story Structure–Demystified.)

Not to mention it’s a best-seller, and Signature recently named it #3 Best Books on Writing.

And if you are following along, I highly recommend you also do the following:

1. Buy (or borrow) a copy of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (it’s available on Kindle and in print)

2. Download the Story Engineering Reading Guide that I created to go with this event

The Story Engineering Read and Discuss Series

Additional trust-building content (will add the rest as I go, since I’m doing it live on my business Facebook page–and then sharing the replay into my free FB group):

Day 1 Livestream: Part 1 and 2 in Story Engineering 

Day 2 Livestream: Part 3 in Story Engineering 

Day 3 Livestream: Part 4 in Story Engineering 

Day 4 Livestream: Part 5 in Story Engineering up to “Foreshadowing”

Day 5 Livestream: The rest of Part 5 in Story Engineering 

Day 6 Livestream: Part 6 in Story Engineering 

Day 7 Livestream: Parts 7 and 8 in Story Engineering 

BONUS Live Call

Larry Brooks and I did a live Q&A call, to wrap up the Story Engineering series (Note: I forgot to hit record for the first few minutes of the call so it starts right into the content with Larry)

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Ready to find your story? Grab my FREE story development training + workbook, ‘From “Eh” to “Awesome!”‘ here

The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Ep. 6: An Interview with Memoirist Marion Roach Smith

Listen on  iTunes or Stitcher

Guest Bio:

Marion Roach Smith believes that everyone has a story to tell. The author of four books, all of which contain a large degree of memoir, her most recent book is The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing—and Life, an irreverent, quirky, provocative product of the countless memoir classes she has taught for more than a decade.

Under the name Marion Roach, she is the author of The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red Hair; the co-author with famed forensic pathologist Michael Baden, M.D., of Dead Reckoning; and of Another Name for Madness. A former staff member of The New York Times, she has written for The New York Times Magazine, Prevention, The Daily News, Vogue, Newsday, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, Discover, and The Los Angeles Times. Since 1998, she has taught classes in writing memoir and now does so both in person and online. She can be found at MarionRoach.com.

Show Notes:

I had the pleasure of not only hearing Marion speak on memoir writing at the 2016 TRIBE Writers Conference, but I also was lucky enough to sit at a table with her for three days. She is FANTASTIC and has so many incredible insights about writing memoir.

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • Memoir is about moments of transition and transcendence–this is one of my favorite pieces of memoir-writing advice Marion shared. I’ve always thought memoir was a genre I’d never touch, and now she has me thinking about writing a memoir (listen to the episode to hear the topic I’m considering!)
  • Write from a place of phobia–I loved hearing her say this, because I’m someone who overcomes fears by facing them head-on.
  • Read above you–rather than reading at the level you’re used to, if you want to learn how to write better, you must read above you, by finding authors who are better writers and studying what they do.

Be sure to check out Marion’s book–The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing and Life, available now! 

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What’s your biggest takeaway? Share in the comments. 

And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, and share it using the links below.

The Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor For You

Finding and hiring an editor for your book is a pretty big deal. Not only is it an investment time-wise and financially, but it’s also an investment in the future success of your book.

On top of that, choosing a good editor can be the difference between a polished, professionally self-published book (that rivals the books published by traditional publishers) that finds a readership, and shot-in-the-dark self-published book that gets no traction. 

Which is why it’s important to do your research and know what you’re getting into.

And to make it even easier for you, the great people over at Kindlepreneur just released The Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor. It contains everything you need to know about choosing an editor, including:

  • Deciding on the right kind of editor
  • Learning how to compare one editor to another
  • How to reach out and contact an editor

And more.

Did you know that there are four main categories of editors? A snippet from the article:

Here is a rundown of common terms for editing services as well as some other terms editors may use to describe them. These are arranged from heaviest editing to lightest editing.

  • Developmental editing (may also be called structural or content) – looks at the book’s big picture and overall structure in nonfiction or plot and characters in fiction. Developmental editors may assess a book idea, outline, or early draft to tell authors what works and what could be better. The big picture questions need to be answered first before an editor ensures your words are polished and used correctly.
  • Line editing (may also be called substantive or stylistic) – goes through each line refining the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences and smooth-transitioning paragraphs. This helps the book “sound good” by polishing the language used to communicate your story.
  • Copyediting – corrects grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Copyediting also includes correcting commonly confused words (e.g., affect and effect) as well as checking for internal consistency of facts and consistency with capitalization, hyphenation, and numerals.
    • Important note: Sometimes Copyediting and Line Editing are the same thing…just depends on that editor’s interpretation.  In our list of book editors below, we combined them as “LE and CE” and just made it one.
  • Proofreading – a final check before publication to find missed typos, missing words, repeated words, spacing and formatting consistency. Proofreading should be the very last level of editing.

>> Check out the complete Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor 

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How did you find your book editor? 

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And if you’re in need of a content editor–someone to look at your draft for structure, character arc, opposition, and all the most important parts of writing a kick-ass story–check out my Read and Feedback service and then contact me if you wanna chat.

10 Steps to Making Shit Happen (aka: The “I Don’t Know How” Guide)

For a long time I dreamed of seeing my book at #1 on Amazon; of more readers finding my books and transforming their lives, because the books is at #1 and actually has a chance at being shown to potential readers.

Problem was, I had no idea HOW I was going to make this happen. I didn’t know anyone who’d done it. And I had never done it before, so the steps were unknown to me.

So because I didn’t know HOW I was going to get my book to #1 on Amazon, I didn’t allow myself to want it. I just pretended that I didn’t care and that it didn’t really matter to me.

I even recall making fun of authors who called themselves “best selling authors” just from hitting #1 on Amazon. (And now I do it–ha!)

The point being, I did everything I could think of to downplay the fact that I really wanted to hit #1 on Amazon. Just because I didn’t know HOW to do it.

Thankfully this year, I finally accepted the lesson that was given to me over and over again for years… the HOW is NOT up to you.

What that means: HOW you do something isn’t what matters. It’s DOING SOMETHING that matters.

My Story

In February I came across an author who has published 47 eBooks–46 of which were best sellers on Amazon. It finally made me realize that if she could do it that many times, I could do it at least once.

Suddenly my fear of not knowing HOW I was going to do it shifted to a belief that I could do it.

At that point, the specifics of HOW didn’t really matter, because I was finally to a place where I not only wanted it, but I believed I could have it. It finally felt possible for me to be #1 on Amazon.

So I started writing in my journal every day that, “I am a best selling author” and “I am #1 on Amazon.” And then I started talking about wanting to hit #1. I even told my accountability buddy about it.

And then I made a decision: I would hit #1 on Amazon in 2016.

(Still at this point had no idea HOW I’d do it.)

Not long after, I got an email about a tool called Bestseller Ranking Pro. Out of no way, a HOW had shown up.

I could use this tool to find the right category to put my book in, so people can actually find it. And that will help me get to #1. Boom! I bought the software.

After looking through the BRP categories and info, I decided I was going to write an eBook about the structure of love stories. The “craft” category was a good fit for this book.

I wasn’t totally thrilled with that book idea, but it was an idea to get me started. Thankfully, right after that I got another idea–what if I took the 30-day challenge I just did to help me revamp my writing habits and turned it into an eBook?

That idea really inspired me, so I decided to put that book together and publish it first, and then go back and write the structure of love stories one.

The more practical side of me also had a thought: if I’m going to hit #1, I need to write and publish more books.

So I announced that I was going to write and publish 9 books in 2016. And then I got inspired to invite people to watch me as I wrote and published these books and turned one of them into a best seller.

(Still no real idea HOW I’d do this. Just some nudges and ideas.)

I published “Align Your Writing Habits to Success” in May and two days after it went live it hit #1 on Amazon. (And then my book, “The 15-Minute Writer”hit #1 in multiple categories two months after!)

I had achieved the goal of hitting #1 and being a best selling author on Amazon.

Looking back, I never had any idea HOW I’d do it. I just took whatever actions I could think of.

And that’s the whole point.

It’s NOT about the specific actions that you take. You can take actions that seem random and if you’re still moving in the direction of your desired outcome, the right HOW will eventually show up and you’ll get there.

My story is the perfect example–I was planning on a totally different book hitting #1 by me using the BRP tool and writing a book for a specific category; and a book I never even expected to have hit #1 did, multiple times. (Pretty much shuts up the “you need to know HOW” argument, right?)

How I achieved a #1 best seller on Amazon didn’t happen because of any one thing I did. It happened because of ALL the things I did–this year and all the years leading up to this one.

The HOW that gets you to your desired end result can only be found by creating momentum. And you create momentum by taking action–any actions–that move you in the direction you want to go.

The actions can be simple, easy things and still be powerful enough for the Universe to meet you half-way.

Because the Universe doesn’t care what actions you take. Big or small. Super risky or playing it safe. It just cares that you’re DOING SOMETHING. (Although the bigger, bolder actions always pay off more than staying in your comfort zone.)

Want to become a published author? Write a book. Show up every day and put words on the page. Learn the steps in the self-publishing process. Do your research.

The specific HOW that gets you to the desired end result of being a published author will show up as a result of you doing all those other things.

What you don’t want to do is decide you want something and then sit on your ass thinking it’s just going to show up one day. ‘Cause it doesn’t work like that, sorry.

10 Steps to Making Shit Happen

If you’re been feeling stuck or frozen because you don’t know HOW you’re going to achieve something, or because you’re overwhelmed by HOW much there is to learn and know and do… I’m gonna simplify it for you in 10 basic steps:

  1. Take a deep breath and relax–it’s not that serious.
  2. Remind yourself that you’re in the right place, exactly where you are right now.
  3. Write down your desired end result (one or more).
  4. For each end result you want, make a list of all the things you can think of right now that you could do to move in that direction. It doesn’t matter if the steps are out of order, totally random, or make no practical sense; just write everything down that comes to you.
  5. Choose one of the steps/actions you listed and do it right now.
  6. When that action is done, do the next one. (Whichever one pops out to you as the one to do next.)
  7. Repeat steps 5-6.
  8. Add any new inspired actions and ideas to the list as you go.
  9. Act on as many of the actions and ideas from your list as you can.
  10. Trust that any specific HOW you need to get you to that final end result will show up as a result of you doing steps 5-9.

And there you have it–get the hell out of the HOWS and stay focused on the end result.

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What have YOU been holding off or playing small on because you don’t know HOW you’ll make it happen? Share in the comments!

The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 5: An Interview With Best Selling Author Chandler Bolt

Listen on  iTunes or Stitcher

Guest Bio:

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-4-06-03-pmChandler Bolt is the author of 5 best selling books including “Book Launch” and his most recent book, “Published.” He’s also the founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School, the #1 online resource for writing your first book. Through his books, training videos, and Self-Publishing School, he’s helped thousands of people on their journey to writing their first book.

Show Notes:

I’m not gonna lie–I was geeking out a bit when Chandler agreed to be a guest on my podcast. I’ve been following his work for a while now and I’m a huge fan of him and what he’s created in the world (not to mention he has some pretty good travel hacks 😉 ).

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • Don’t take your old book down, even if you write an updated version of it–this was something I was actually thinking about doing because I’m in the process of updating some of my eBooks. Until I heard Chandler’s reasoning for why you shouldn’t do this.
  • Meditation app recommendation: Headspace
  • Book recommendation: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Be sure to check out Chandler’s new book, Published, it’s available now!

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What’s your biggest takeaway? Share in the comments. 

And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, and share it using the links below.

Do You Have A Nonfiction Book In You? Here’s How To Tell

I believe that most writers have a nonfiction book in them–they’re just not always sure how to pull it out. In situations like this, I share two of my favorite exercises:

  1. Uncovering your book idea
  2. Finding your angle

If you’re not sure that you have a nonfiction book in you, here’s an exercise you can do to find a potential topic you could write about.

The “Uncovering your nonfiction book idea” exercise:

  • Grab your notebook or a piece of paper
  • Draw a line down the center of the page, dividing it into two parts
  • At the top of the left column, write “Skills I have/things I know how to do really well”
  • At the top of the right column, write “Transformations I’ve made/experiences I’ve had”
  • Make lists in each column based on the prompt at the top—now you’ll have two lists of potential topics you could write a nonfiction book about
  • Go through the lists and circle the topics or ideas that most interest you
  • Narrow down the topic/idea and choose one

Once you’ve done this exercise, then complete the exercise below.

The “Find your angle” exercise:

The following exercise will help you find a unique and/or interesting angle for your book topic:

  • Grab your notebook or a piece of paper
  • At the top of the page, write your book topic (or idea)
  • Brainstorm 30 (or more) different angles or approaches you can take on this specific topic
  • Go back through the list and circle anything that pops out as something worth writing
  • Narrow down your circled choices to one (or combine several if it works)

From doing both of these exercises, you should have a bunch of nonfiction book ideas. You don’t have to write all of them, of course. In fact, most you probably won’t write at all.

But you’ve got a whole bunch of ideas to choose from now. And maybe you’ve even proven to yourself that you do actually have a nonfiction book in you.

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What potential topic are you considering for a nonfiction book?

Are You Born to Write? You Need to Hear This

You know that day when you finally realized you’re meant to be a writer? That day you knew there was nothing else in the entire world you could see yourself doing forever except writing? That other things will come and go–as is typical for a multi-passionate person–but writing will never say die.

Because you are born to write. It’s in you. It’s who you are.

You couldn’t separate you from your writing, because it would be like separating yourself from a vital organ. Impossible.

If you’re born to write, you know it. You feel it in every cell of your being. And even if you’re not totally 100% confident yet, you know what you are called to do.

Write. Put words on the page. Inspire, motivate, teach, instruct, lead, entertain… with your words. Tell stories, share experiences, pass along messages that connect us all.

I believe those who are called to write have a responsibility–to show up every day; to put words on the page; to hit publish and get those words, those stories, those messages, out into the world.

You have a RESPONSIBILITY.

You were gifted with the written word for a reason. You were born to be a vessel for the ideas, thoughts, lessons, messages, experiences and stories the world needs to hear.

Those things you hear inside you–the characters, thoughts, stories, ideas–they’re REAL. And they want to be let out.

But only YOU can let them out. There is no one else.

They came to you for a reason. Because you’re born to write them. And no one else could ever come close to doing it the justice you will do it.

There is incredible power in being born to write, because words are powerful, stories are powerful, and sharing your thoughts, experiences and message is powerful.

Being born to write isn’t for the faint of heart. No, it’s gifted only to those who can handle it. Those who truly have what it takes to go all the way–to finish and hit publish and get those stories and messages into the hands of the people who need them most.

Writers who are born to write often struggle with it more than writers who choose to write because it’s a hobby they enjoy. This happens because we often have a deep Resistance to doing our soul’s work, our creative work. (Read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield for more on this.)

And because that Resistance is inevitable–as it is for ALL creative people–writers who are born to write must be that much more committed and that much more disciplined to put words on the page each day.

Even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Even if it’s right before you go to sleep. Even if you have a million other things that seem way more important.

Nothing is more important than putting those stories, experiences and messages on the page and getting them out into the world.

Nothing.

The sooner you see that, the sooner you will start to have everything in your life fall into place. Because here’s the thing–when you’re born to write, you’re connected to writing on a soul level. It’s part of your being.

For that reason, when you ignore your writing, when you skip your writing sessions, when you tell yourself your writing is not that important, when you put it off for later–THAT’S why things are a mess–internally and/or in your life.

Because you cannot ignore your soul and think anything else will work. It might feel like it’s working, even without your all-in on being an author. But I promise you, it can and will work a ton better if you’re putting first things first and getting your writing done.

Every day. Writing is a priority. Before anything else.

If you do this, even 15 minutes a day is enough time to start creating the writing life you’ve always dreamed of having. The writing life you were born to have. And along with it the success, money, fame and whatever else you dream of having.

It all starts with making your writing a priority. Because when you’re born to write, writing is your tool for creating everything you desire.

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Are you born to write? Declare it in the comments. 

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Along with having a responsibility to write and to publish, born-to-write authors also have a responsibility to get their writing in front of the people who need it most. My Sell More Books masterclass will show you exactly how to do that. Details and sign up here.

Are You Choosing “Thriving Author” Or “Starving Artist?”

So many writers and creative people hold the belief that, “it has to take a long time” and “you’ve gotta pay your dues.” And yeah, it’s also true that A LOT of people hold this belief.

But you know what isn’t true?

That belief. It’s not true. Not even remotely true.

Unless YOU decide that it is.

I’ve decided that 2017 is the year I break six-figures from my book sales. I’ve decided it’s the year I’m going to thrive in my writing career like never before.

Sure, this year has been amazing and I’ve built up some killer momentum. But it’s not enough.

Because I want to blow the ‘starving artist’ mentality OUT OF THE WATER. And, yes, it IS a mentality. One that’s keeping most authors insanely broke and unfulfilled.

But here’s the great part–you can change a mentality. 

You can actively choose the thoughts you think and the beliefs you hold. You can choose to create exactly the writing life you’ve always dreamed of having.

But you have to CHOOSE. Consciously. Actively. Every single day.

You have to decide that you’re not going to accept the ‘starving artist’ mentality as truth for you. You have to decide that you’re going to be an author who THRIVES. 

Yes, it will take time to create this in your physical reality. But it will happen a whole lot faster if you get your mind there first.

And yes, there are people in the world who refuse to see past the limitation that is the ‘starving artist’ mentality. These are the creative people who say things like, “I can’t quit my job and become a full-time writer or I’ll end up living in a cardboard box” or “writing is a hobby” or “one day I’ll make it happen” or “writers are broke” or “it’s just a pipe-dream” or [insert whatever lame excuse you give or have been given for why you can’t thrive as a writer].

Those are the creative people who will never see their full dreams come to fruition. Because it’s impossible to create a big, successful, thriving creative career with a belief like that.

And what’s sad is, just by changing that mindset and by seeing themselves as thriving artists, those same creative people could have a totally different experience.

Because you create your own reality. And you do it with your thoughts, your beliefs and your actions (or inactions). 

So if you’re looking around and you don’t like what you see; if you’re dreaming of being a thriving author, meanwhile you’re still holding a day job and barely making book sales, it’s time for a mindset intervention.

It’s time to go within, dig around, pull out those limiting beliefs–the ones that are stopping you and holding you back–and GET RID OF THEM!!!

And you really don’t even have to dig around. If you want to know what limiting beliefs you currently have, you can find out by doing 2 things:

  1. Looking around you–your reality is a reflection of all that you’ve thought, believed and acted on up to this point.
  2. Start telling yourself new, empowering beliefs–just by doing this, you’ll start to catch all the limiting beliefs because they’ll show up as that negative voice inside that tells you you’re wrong or that you can’t do it, etc., whenever you say the new beliefs.

You really can change your life by changing your thoughts. 

So your choice is to either continue buying into the ‘starving artist’ mentality, and believing that it has to be a struggle, that you have to work insanely hard and pay your dues, and that even if you do eventually make it, you’ll be lucky to earn low five-figures a year from your creative work.

OR, you can tell yourself something different.

You can tell yourself that you make millions from your books. And that you quit your job and become a full-time writer who thrives and has more than enough, always. And that your books hit the NY Times Best Seller list and get turned into Hollywood movies. (‘Cause that’s what you’re really dreaming of, right?)

Which one inspires you? Which ones makes you feel better? Which one motivates you to take action?

Exactly. The thriving artist version.

And when it all comes down to it, it’s just a perspective. If you choose to believe in ‘starving artists,’ then that’s what you’re going to find in your experience. And if you choose to believe in ‘thriving artists,’ then that’s what you’re going to find in your experience.

The reality you choose to experience is totally up to you. 

For example, a few months ago I decided that I’m well-known in the writing industry and that big-name people contact me and want to partner with me and work with me. I decided that my podcast is a must-listen for writers everywhere and that big-name people want to be interviewed by me.

This past weekend, I booked a big-name guest for my podcast AND I got contacted by a big-name author who wanted to talk to me about how we can help each other out.

Your reality is what you decide it’s gonna be. So decide you’re going to be a thriving author and you will be.

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Do you choose “starving artist” or “thriving author?” Declare it in the comments! 

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Are you ready to drop the ‘starving artist’ mentality and learn how to sell more books? Check out the masterclass I’m hosting: www.jenniferblanchard.net/sellmorebooks

How I Sold 2,300+ Books in 31 Days

Selling books. Making money. Being a full-time author. Pretty much the dream writing life for most writers.

And yet, so many authors aren’t having this experience. So many are feeling frustrated and like they’re wasting their time because it’s never going to happen.

Maybe you’ve felt (or feel) this way?

I know I have. Back before I decided to take control of my writing destiny, I used to feel that way all the time. Like, what’s the point? I have these great books out there and barely anyone is reading them. 

This year, I had a breakthrough. I finally stepped up my productivity, my writing habits and, most importantly, got my mind in the game. And now that I’ve done those things, I’m selling an average of 1,000+ books a month, pretty much without even trying. (That’s not to say I didn’t ever have to try. Of course I did, it’s just now I have momentum. More on that below.)

But I had one month this year that was bigger than all the other months (at least, so far). In July, I sold 2,312 books (and made a little over $800)!! Not bad for 31 days.

I recently did a breakdown to see what exactly went into selling that many books, and now averaging 1,000+ sales a month. And here’s what I came out with:

1. Get Into Alignment

For the first time ever, I’m finally in full alignment with the writing goals I have and the writing career that I want. I’m no longer fighting it. I’m not playing small or acting like it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m setting an intention for exactly what I want to create and I’m taking actions every day to move in that general direction.

That’s what alignment is. It means that your thoughts, beliefs, words and actions are all working in harmony and moving in the same direction. 

Being in alignment has helped me to start writing, publishing and selling more books.

2. Have An “I Sell Books” Mindset

Believe it or not, your mind is the source of everything you currently see in your reality (whether you like it or not). Hard to accept, I know, because then you have to take responsibility for the fact that you believe shitty things that are holding you back and you have negative thoughts that are limiting your success.

But when you can just accept where you are–and accept all that you’ve created up to this point–you can start to create something new.

In February of this year, I amped up the mindset work I started doing back in August 2015 and began a daily practice of writing intentions in my journal. One of those daily intentions was, “I am a bestselling author.” Another was, “I sell thousands of books every month.”

I still write intentions like that every single day. Because out of everything I’ve done in my writing career, the best thing I ever did for myself was start a daily mindset practice. It has hands-down changed everything for me.

When you have an “I sell books” mindset, as opposed to an “it’s hard to sell books” mindset or an “I wish I knew how to sell more books” mindset, it really can be the difference between making sales and not making sales. Because you create in your reality what you believe in your mind. And if you believe that it’s hard to sell books or that you don’t know how to sell books, that’s exactly what you will experience.

Decide right now that you’re going to create an “I sell books” mindset and don’t ever look back.

3. Publish Multiple Books

I see so many authors spending time on marketing when all they have is one book. And while, yes, you do have to do some marketing for that book, you also want to make it a priority to write and publish the next book. Because what happens if someone buys your book, loves it and then there’s nothing else for them to buy?

You got it–they go elsewhere.

So if you don’t have at least 2 books published, it’s time to get to work. I started selling 1,000+ books a month when I had 6 books published. Now that I’ve got 8 (with more in the works), I know my book sales numbers will keep growing.

The best way to sell a book is with another book. 

4. Build Relationships–With Readers and People In Your Industry/Genre

After a year of blogging, I decided to branch out and start guest posting (where you publish your articles on someone else’s blog). Doing that helped me to connect with editors in the writing industry (on blogs where my target readers are), and from those connections came other opportunities.

For example, in July, I was invited to participate in a one-day, 99 cent eBook promo along with 8 other authors. The other authors were all well-known writers who have big communities of writers and authors. So by having a connection with the person running the promotion, I was not only invited to participate, but I got my book in front of 8 new audiences. I also made connections with the other authors who were part of the promo.

And, of course, I had my biggest book sales month ever.

Relationships are everything when it comes to online marketing. So if you’re not already making connections and building relationships with potential promo partners and potential readers, now’s the time to start.

5. Launch A New Book

In the month of July, I launched my eBook, The 15-Minute Writer: How To Write Your Book In Only 15 Minutes A Day. This was a brand new book, which means every single person who saw it or checked it out was new to it. It was something that even my repeat readers could buy.

Having a new book can make it easier to get sales, especially if you’ve already got a few books out there that people have bought.

This goes back to what I said about having multiple books. And what’s cool about Amazon (and other sites) is once you’ve got a few books out and enough reviews, it will start suggesting your book to people who look at related books.

6. Charge 99 cents

I’ve been testing out pricing this year, to see if it makes a difference. When all of my books are 99 cents, I sell a lot more of them than when I charge more.

I know that sounds crazy–all that hard work and then you only get a 35% royalty from Amazon! (I do have a couple books that cost $2.99 as well.)

But when your book is 99 cents, people are more willing to give it a try. Everyone has wasted a dollar at some point in their life, so 99 cents is less of a risk than a book that costs more. 

If you’re just starting out or are a new author, I highly recommend trying a 99 cent pricing strategy. It may just be the difference between making sales or not.

As you grow, get more known and have more books available, then you can have a mix of prices and increase your overall profit.

7. Build Momentum

I’ve been online since 2008 and building my following ever since. Which means I’ve had 8+ years of connecting, building relationships, and growing a readership. I have momentum.

You can create momentum too, and it doesn’t have to take 8 years. If you focus on what’s really important about book marketing (hint: it’s not about selling books), you can make it happen a lot faster. 

Once you’ve got momentum, your books can almost sell themselves. That’s not to say I’m not still doing marketing, but I don’t put a ton of energy into marketing my books at the moment, and I’m still selling 1,000+ a month.

Book marketing is like a roller coaster–at first it’s a slow climb, but when you hit the tipping point, it’s all momentum from there.

Share With Us

What’s one thing you can do today to start selling more books? Share in the comments. 

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Are you ready to make more sales and learn the right way to market your books? Then check out my upcoming masterclass: Sell More Books. I’m teaching you everything you need to know to kick-ass in your online book marketing, and then some. Full details here