My first books were traditionally published. ‘The Art of Falling Apart’ and ‘Subpoena Colada’ were initially well received, but, looking back on them now, I can see that they were pretty awful. I hadn’t yet found my voice and the covers are, quite frankly, dreadful. In addition, there was little marketing or promotion and the books sank without trace, sinking my career as an author at the same time.
Or so I thought.
The Kindle opened up a world of new opportunities for writers and I got back in the saddle in 2012 with my third book. 'The Black Mile' was a labour of love. I was convinced it was good, and I published it with the hope that readers would find it and love it… and the rest would be history.
I couldn’t find readers. I couldn’t get reviews. I lacked visibility on the retailers’ stores. I ran free promotions, but had no way of contacting the readers who’d downloaded the book so that I could offer them another. In the end, I realised that marketing was key: I would have to learn how to produce the book professionally and then promote it myself.
I am now an award-nominated, multiple USA Today bestseller, with more than 20 books and over 2 million books downloaded worldwide in multiple languages. I’ve been featured in Forbes, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times and the Financial Times, as well as interviewed on national radio and on plenty of podcasts. I regularly speak about self publishing at international writing conferences.
I enjoy a high six figure income and a lifestyle that would never have been possible without the flexibility that comes with a life as a full-time writer. It’s not about big houses or fancy cars. It’s about the small things. Being there for my kids. Doing the school run every day. Attending sports days and school productions. Limitless holiday days. Flexible deadlines. I can work from my office or any of the beautiful cafés in my home town of Salisbury, England…. Or, in fact, anywhere that I have my laptop.
I’ve made a very good life for my family through the stories that I tell. My readers get thrills and excitement and I get the life that I’ve always dreamed about. I realise that I’m fortunate, and I’ve done my best to pay it forward by teaching other writers how to do the things that I do.
It’s an amazing time to be a writer. If you have the skill and the determination, you can build a career like this, too.
Everything you need to know to make your books visible on the virtual shelves of all the major retailers.
How to find new readers using a variety of methods, many of which don’t cost you a penny.
How to turn those readers into fans, and then ambassadors for your work, and then, finally, friends who will support your creative endeavours.