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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

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. https://xe172.isrefer.com/go/spss16/jlblanchard3

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

Is What You’re Doing Keeping You Unpublished?

Whenever you achieve a goal, you can use hindsight to look back and see exactly what you did that worked. Once you have that information, you can create a process for yourself that will allow you to achieve the goal again and again (unless it’s a goal you only want to achieve once).

That’s how you create success. By figuring out what works for you and then doing it.

Over and over again.

For me, step-by-step processes work. Checklists work.

And they work really well.

I’m almost totally balanced right and left brained (48% left brained and 52% right). I like being creatively unleashed, but I also need steps and lists to keep me focused and not veering totally off track.

I know this about myself, so that’s why I’m now working from a “Daily Fucking Actions” list that tells me specific, outcome-focused tasks that I need to do every day. In the last . week and a half, this process has helped me to create 20+ new pieces of content for my community.

When I’m writing a novel, I know that I need to spend a minimum of 6 weeks developing and planning the story. I have to do this before I write the draft.

Because I know I’m someone who can’t write more than one full draft of a story. If I have to write a whole other draft, I’m not finishing.

I know these things because I’ve taken enough action and achieved enough outcomes to know exactly what works best for me and what causes me to flail (and fail). 

Do you know what works for you?

And  I define “works” as something that actually gets you the outcome you’re going for. If you’ve been doing something for a while and you don’t have the result you want yet, what you’re doing is probably not working.

It can be hard to admit that, I get it. It was hard for me back in 2009 to admit that I had no freaking clue what I was doing and my novel draft showed that.

But I admitted it, I got real with it and then I found what did work (for me, that was story structure).

You absolutely have to do what’s best for you and what works best for you. I’m a full supporter of that. I don’t believe in doing things just because other people are doing them (especially when other people are doing them!). I’ve always gone against the grain in my life. That’s what works for me.

But you also have to see when something is not working and heave-ho.

Otherwise you’ll find yourself stuck in a repeating pattern where you’re living the same year over and over again, never really getting anywhere.

Still working on that novel? Yeah, this will be year 113. 

I know how you feel because I’ve been there. It took me 18 YEARS to publish my first novel, and it wasn’t because I didn’t have a story worth publishing.

It was because for the first 13 years I had NO CLUE what I was doing–and I didn’t care. I thought I could just get inspiration for a story and then sit down to write it.

Now I’m lucky because I’ve been an avid reader and writer my whole life (when I was 5 I climbed on my mom’s lap with a book and asked her to teach me how to read). So because of this I have an intuitive sense of story. I may not have known the specifics of story structure, but I knew the story had to change in 3 places and that it needed a beginning, middle and end that was cohesive.

But that didn’t mean I could write a good story (I couldn’t, and if you read the very first draft of my very first novel you’d see that).

Writing a good story took me 3 years of studying craft. Every. Single. Day. 

I watched movies and deconstructed the plot points. I read books and tried to pick apart the structure. I studied Larry Brooks’ blog and his books, and I practiced planning and developing stories as much as I could.

I was truly a student of story (still am).

So 15 years into my journey, I finally had a story worth publishing. Problem was, I spent another 2 years sabotaging myself with procrastination, perfectionism, feeling not good enough, skipping my writing session, not doing the work, not showing up to the page, Upper Limit Problems and more.

It took getting my mindset in the right place to clear all that shit up.

And then in June 2015, I published my debut novel, SoundCheck.

No one gets there without blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of freak outs. I sure didn’t.

But I got there. So now I know what works best for me and what I need to do to repeat that success and get another novel out there.

Do you?

Do you know what works for you? Really?

My guess is, you don’t. Maybe you know some of it, but you don’t know really what works for you.

Because you’re not doing the effing work.

You say you want to, and you even mean it. But still you don’t sit down and work on your writing.

To be successful on your own terms, you have to know what works for you and then do it.

But you can’t know what works for you if you don’t do the work.

So fucking do the work. Show up. Work on your story. Revise it. Publish the damn thing. Get it out into the world.

Otherwise you’ll never know what works best for you or how to repeat it.

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When it comes to planning, developing and writing (and publishing!) your stories, what works best for you? 

Are you ready to go pro? Join Students of Story, my membership site and community 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 your book and publish it. Learn more here.

Why You Should Never, Ever (Ever, Ever) Self-Publish In A Vacuum

In this Periscope I talk about:

  • Why self-publishing without outside feedback will doom your story
  • What to do instead

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What’s your book publishing dream? And what are you currently doing to move toward it?

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Do you want to be a more effective storyteller and cut years off your learning curve, so you can write a kick-ass novel and get it out into the world in the next 12 months? Join me for a free Clarity Call

 

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