It’s Time for Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016 (Grab Your Free Ticket)

I first learned about self-publishing in 1996 when I wrote a 120-page novella that I was thinking about publishing. Back then it was insanely expensive just to get your book published and printed (thousands and thousands of dollars). And as a 13-year-old, I didn’t exactly have the means.

Today, you can use a site like CreateSpace to self-publish your book for no cost at all (minus any set up or pre-publication expenses, like editors, cover designers, etc). Self-publishing has totally changed the game for emerging authorpreneurs and writers who dream of seeing their name in print.

I’m super proud to be a professionally self-published author. I think self-publishing is the best way to take control of your writing destiny, to put the book you dream of writing out into the world and make an actual profit from it.

Now I say professionally self-published, because there is a difference.

A self-published book is one where the author just put it together and then published it, without any professional outside feedback or guidance. Books like this rarely do well because most writers (especially new writers) don’t have a clue how to write a good book.

A professionally self-published book, on the other hand, has been vetted; it’s had outside feedback and perspective from a professional (or series of professionals) and has been revised and polished accordingly. Now that’s not to say it’s perfect (nothing is, nor can be), but it has a much better shot at being successful.

If you’re going to self-publish, do yourself a HUGE favor and treat it as professionally as you would if you were being traditionally published.

That’s why I’m freaking pumped to tell you about the upcoming Self-Publishing Success Summit. This is a crazy-big annual event with a mission of helping you become the best professionally self-published author you can possibly be. Last year 30,000 people attended from the comfort of their own homes (it’s a virtual event).

This year’s speakers are really, really good, and they’re going to show you how to go from blank page to bestselling author.

Here are just a few of the speakers you’ll learn from at this year’s summit:

Step 1: Becoming An Author (Writing the Book)

  • Jay Papasan — Using The ONE Thing & Time Blocking To Finally Write Your First Book
  • David Allen — The Getting Things Done Approach To Writing Your First Book
  • Cal Newport — Eliminating Distractions & Practicing Deep Work To Finish Your Book
  • Gretchen Rubin — Happiness, Good Habits, And Becoming A Writer
  • Joanna Penn — Fiction Writing Techniques For First Time Authors (What I’ve Learned From Writing 10+ Books)

You’ll find at least one strategy or system in every presentation that you can put to use right away for massive results (like Jay’s time-blocking approach).

Next, marketing and publishing masters will reveal exactly how they went from zero to bestseller to millions of books sold. (Click here for your free ticket.)

Step 2: Marketing & Publishing Mastery

  • Gary Vaynerchuk—You won’t believe what he has to say about marketing 
  • Tucker Max — Selling 3 Million+ Books, Creating A Literary Genre, And Disrupting The Publishing Industry
  • Perry Marshall — 80/20 Book Sales & Marketing
  • John Lee Dumas — Using Kickstarter To Crowdfund Your Book (How I Hit $453,803 And The #6 Publishing Campaign In Kickstarter History))
  • Grant Cardone — Sell Or Be Sold: Using Sales Skills To Sell More Books & Grow Your Company

After you’ve discovered proven marketing and publishing strategies anyone can use, you’ll get hands-on advice on how to turn your book into prestige, respect, celebrity, and a booming business.

Step 3: Monetizing (Making Money From Your Book)

Turn your book into a 6-figure business and a brand with success secrets and strategies from:

  • Jeff Walker — How I Went From #1 NYT Book Launch To $5.1M Product Launch (And What To Do When The NYT Keeps You Off The List)
  •  Barbara Corcoran—from the TV show, Shark Tank
  •  T. Harv Eker — How I Built The Largest Success Training Company In The World Using My Book (Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind)
  •  Hal Elrod — Beyond The Bestseller: Foreign Book Rights, Creating A Book Series, & Selling Out Your First Live Event
  •  Mel Abraham — How I Sold $500K In Backend Products And Grew My Business Using A Book Launch — Mel Abraham
  • Verne Harnish — Scaling Up Your Business Using Books (And How I Sold 250,000+ Copies Of My First Self-Published Book)

These experts and dozens more leading authors and entrepreneurs are breaking down exactly how to self-publish, market, and turn your book into a successful business. I can’t wait for this event!

>> Claim your FREE ticket to Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016

Image courtesy of Aaron Burden

What You Have to Do If You Want to Make An Impact

Something very few pro authors in the online world talk about is all the “icky” stuff that goes on behind the scenes: the haters, the unsubscribes, the fear, the doubt, the self-sabotage. But I always make it a point to talk about that stuff.


Because if you want to do this pro author thing, like, for real, you’ve gotta know what you’re up against. Being an author in the digital space isn’t the same thing as being an author in the offline world.

In the offline world, the only way to get hate-mail is to have someone say it to your face or to send you a letter via your P.O. Box. But in the online world, hate-mail, complaints, people who want to criticize and point fingers and tell you that you’re wrong…that can show up in your email inbox on a daily basis (and believe me, as you grow into the author you dream of being and find more and more success, that’s exactly what’s going to happen).

If you want to be a pro author, you have to be OK with this. You have to be OK with the haters, the criticism, seeing unsubscribes from your email list.

If you can’t be OK with this, you may want to quit while you’re ahead (or, rather, quit before you’ve actually built up enough success for this stuff to start happening to you).

The truth is, you can’t stop it. It’s going to happen. The online world is full of creepy, annoying, mean, stupid people who have nothing better to do with their time than criticize others, hate on how hard you’re working and try to bring you down to their level.

But you don’t have to fall for it. You can hold a space in your heart for all the people who just don’t get it and never will. For the people who are going to die with their dreams inside them, because they just don’t have what it takes to make it happen.

And you’ve gotta have some compassion for that.

I used to get really upset by this kind of stuff—hate-mail, unsubscribes from my email list. It used to hurt me a lot, because I used to believe that I had to please everyone. That I had to appeal to everyone and everyone had to like me.

Now I know better.

Now I know that trying to appeal to and please everyone is a recipe for pleasing no one. It’s a recipe for keeping people on the fence about you.

And in the online world, that’s the worst thing you can do.

Sounds scary, right? Because we’ve been told that we have to be nice and sugar-coat things so that we don’t make people feel bad or so we don’t “outshine” them with our gifts.

If you’ve been around me long enough, you’ll know that I have only one thing to say to all of that nonsense: I don’t fucking think so.

The real truth is, if you want to be successful online, if you want to be a successful, thriving pro author in the digital age, you have to be OK with not pleasing everyone, not sugar-coating things, not caring if people get offended or if they don’t like you.

Success is built on being who you are, showing up as you fully, 100 percent of the time and being real with your audience/readers.

That was something that took me awhile to really get, because I grew up getting bullied for being different and for not conforming to what everyone else was doing. So when I started my blog back in 2008, I wanted to appeal to everyone. I wanted to help every writer in the world.

And I made zero impact. For an entire year.

Of course, I wasn’t really out there trying to make a big impact, but I was out there trying to get people to read my blog. And while I did get some readers (I think I had 25 by the end of the year), it wasn’t until I opened up to the idea that not only could I not please everyone, but I shouldn’t try, that things started to take off.

It was hard at first. When I first started blogging, I just wanted to be PC. I wanted to help everyone and I wanted to be liked by everyone.

Never going to happen.

And if you try, you’re totally wasting your time and you’re gonna end up not helping anyone and not making any kind of impact.

It wasn’t ’til I started being myself, writing in my voice, using my words (including the swear words that some people just don’t like) and writing about what I wanted to write about, when things got really good for me.

Yes, to this day (in fact, just yesterday morning) I still get haters and people who want to tell me I’m wrong and that they don’t like what I’m doing. I now choose to see that kind of stuff as a good thing.

If I was being plain-vanilla-boring, no one would care.

And as the great Jon Morrow says, if you’re not getting hate-mail on a regular basis, you’re doing something wrong.

If you want people to care about what you’re doing, to resonate with you and to stick around and eventually buy stuff from you (aka: your books!), you can’t worry about that stuff. You have to just go out there every day and be you to the fullest degree that you can.

Yes, some people will hate it. Some people will not want to follow you or will unsubscribe from your email list. And, yes, some people will make it a point to first tell you that they don’t like you or that they’re unsubscribing, because they can’t just go quietly. They have to make sure you know why they’re leaving.

And the reason is because when you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.

But by being you, unapologetically, you will call in your real tribe. The people who are meant to follow your stuff and meant to be on your email list. The ones who resonate so deeply with your words and what you’re creating in the world.

The ones who want to be a part of what you’re doing.

I like to write things that push buttons and piss people off. Because this helps me tighten my tribe. It helps me get rid of the people who don’t resonate with my message and who never will.

And it helps me get closer to the people who actually care, who actually want to hear from me, who actually see the value in what I do.

If you’re still here, you’re a part of my tribe. You’re an emerging novelist with big dreams who refuses to settle and who wants to make all your writing dreams come true.

Awesome. You’re meant to be here and I’m grateful that you are.

Big things are coming. For all of us.

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How do you deal with criticism that’s not constructive?

Featured image courtesy of julochka

The Truth About Being A Professional Author

There’s a question that’s been on my mind lately: do I have what it takes? Do I have what it takes to achieve all the writing dreams I have and to really get everything I want?

It’s an important question, because the answer will make or break your writing dream.

Do you have what it takes?

Like, really have what it takes?

Only you can answer that.

The Truth About Being A Pro Author

There’s something kinda scary that no one really talks about, but that needs to be said right now.

You may not have what it takes. 

Not everyone does. 

Not every writer is meant to be a pro.

It’s scary to say that (I felt panicked just typing those three sentences).

But it’s true.

And the reason is simple: most writers won’t do the work. 

Sure, most writers may actually write. Get blips of inspiration and sit down and start writing.

Because you can’t just write stories and be a professional. Not even if you write 100 stories.

Being a professional means you’ve actually finished something, published it and put it out into the world.

And not half-assed either. (Self-published authors who put their books out there without editing, Beta Reading or some kind of vetting process are not professionals.)

A professional author not only does the work and finishes, but also invests in (or barters for) professional services to do the self-publishing (an editor, a cover designer, a layout person, a story coach, whatever they need).

And the cold, hard, real truth is that not all writers have it in them to finish. Or to show their work to someone who knows what they’re doing and accept feedback that will improve their story.

Pro vs. Most Other Writers

Here are the main differences between a professional author and most other writers:

A pro author:

  • Finishes. Period. (Most writers have tons of half-finished or completed drafts that they never revised or have been revising into oblivion and never getting anywhere.)
  • Publishes. Period. (Most writers don’t actually publish anything. They talk about it and they may even say they’re working on it. But you never see it.)
  • Shuts up and does the work. Period. (Most writers have whiny complaints and excuses about why they haven’t finished or can’t finish or haven’t written their novel or don’t have the time or life is falling down around them or they are procrastinating…)
  • Hires help when they need it. (Most writers think they can do it all themselves and they can’t.)
  • Takes constructive criticism and uses it to make their writing better. (Most writers will shake off any kind of criticism. Because they’re right and they know what they’re doing.)
  • Has what it takes. (Most writers don’t.)

Having what it takes just means having the brass ovaries to get over your shit and do the work. No matter what is happening around you.

And you’ll know the answer as soon as you ask it.

I have HUGE writing dreams. And I refuse to stop ’til I get there (and even then I won’t stop).

But I had to ask myself if I really have what it takes to achieve everything I want.

And looking back on all I’ve accomplished in my life, I know that I absolutely have what it takes. I show up. I do the work. I put myself out there. I take huge risks. I just need to give up all excuses, be more consistent and keep doing the fucking work.

I’m committed to all of that now. So I know my dreams are a done deal.

Now you need to ask yourself: do you have what it takes?

If you have what it takes, I’d love for you to become a part of my membership site and community, Students of Story, where you can get over your shit, learn how to write a kick-ass novel, and get the support and feedback you need to finish and publish your book. Learn more here.