Authorpreneurship 201: Building Your Catalog is Vital

This journey of being an author, a self-published but willing to pitch my book to an agent or larger publisher authorhood, has been filled with so many lessons and now it’s time for me to drop a few nuggets. So if you haven’t subscribe yet, you definitely should!

Today’s Authorprenuership lesson comes from the five year in review lens; in other words this if for my 0-3 year experience range indie author. It’s so easy to keep pushing the same book over and over again but guess what’s the biggest obstacle for a self-pub author: growing our audience.

Water Your Audience and They Shall Grow

Yep, not selling the book–as long as it has a good storyline–isn’t the biggest issue. Not getting it out to your audiences is definitely easier now since we have retailers like Amazon, Bookbaby, iBooks and others who can get us in a reader’s queue. Plus if you have a social media following (big or small), you can bet that 1 out of 30 followers will buy your book.

But what happens when your audience slows to grow, and even though I know this is a completely abnormal situation, but what if you can’t travel to events or there are no events going on for you to hustle your book at? How can you possibly grow your audience?

Enter lesson 201. What I’ve learned since I first published my book in 2015, is that if you keep pushing the same book and your audience doesn’t grow, your following will plateau and interest will dim. But before the light completely goes out, you can do one thing that will make the sunshine bright once more–write mo!

Mo Books, Mo Books, Mo!

I just released my fourth book, which is the second release this year, and I immediately saw my readership grow. Even though my following didn’t drastically change, it did increase and so new readers took a chance on me because my old readers were excited to share my new books with their audience.

Of course there are other factors that play a part; make sure you have reviews for your current book(s), stay active with you audience, write or do anything that pertains to your writing career whether it’s blogging, vlogging or joining TikTok. But keeping things completely transparent, I knew this step was essential years ago, like literally the third year that I pushed the same two books.

What kept me from dropping more books faster? Answer: Excuses. “I don’t have enough time to write,” or “it needs to be perfect” were my favorite excuses but the latter was the greatest one of all.

Trust in the process and instead of looking for perfection, write toward passion. Write a story that makes you feel something and trust that even though a comma is out of place or maybe the a sentence is a run on that the editor will catch it.

Write and then release and then do it again.

I’m thankful that I can now open a bookstore online with Square and have several options for readers. I’ll share how that goes too because I’m testing it to see if managing my own store is worth the work or if I should just stick with the mass-producing book retailers.

Now Open!

NaNoWriMo is here! You ready or Nah?

It’s that time of the year when we writers decide to isolate ourselves from the world to get as many words, stories, outlines, edits and thoughts out in the name of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) – like we really need another excuse to get lost in our word counts.

Since I learned that November was the designated month for such an audacious yet exciting event, I’ve tried to join in on the festivities and this year is no different.

With the a plan to knock out my 2020 self-pub piece, I’ve identified all the weapons (or tools for you non-warriors), tricks and hints that I could find starting with my own version of Popeye’s spinach – wine!

On my YouTube channel (say what, you haven’t subscribed…what are you waiting on?), I take you through my thoughts on my first wine subscription that started with a simple wine tasting.

While you’re there on my channel–after you subscribe–make sure to check out my NaNoWriMo playlist to find other tips and hints to surviving and smashing your goals throughout the entire month of November. I’ll continue to do videos thought the month to share my own progess too.

Got some tips of your own? Share away folks. Drop your tips in the comments below so we can all do this right. It’s a writing community thang so let help each other out.

4 Things to Know When You Attend a Book Pitching Event

I attended my first Black Writers Weekend in Atlanta this past June and all I can say is that it was incredibly dope. And for two reason; first I was able to pitch my third manuscript to a group of women who are experts in the writing arena (one who was a literary agent on my current pitching list); and secondly, I jumped on a last minute opportunity to sell my babies and connect with other authors from around Atlanta.

For this post, I’ll focus on the event that had me shook — pitching my book…verbally. When I first learned of this opportunity, I was scared out of my mind. There is just something about the unknown that is horrifying and not truly understanding how it would be to say a pitch about my book out loud to experts in the industry, blew my mind and confidence.

Thank God I have a dope network of sister/friends around me to keep me focused and challenge my fears. So through all of the unknowns, I signed up for the event and began preparing weeks out for p-day. There were so many things that I learned through both the prep and the post of the event that I have to share them with you all. These four nuggets set me up for success and I want you to make sure you’re ready for your opportunity too.

Watch behind the scenes video of the emotional roller coaster I went on preparing for this event on Patreon. Subscribe today for more exclusive passion-fy content.

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4 Tips You Should Know Before Pitching your Book

Pitch an unpublished book. This is a point that unfortunately most of my colleagues did not think about prior to the event. Let this be the moment that you decided to get out there and connect with others in the world of writing because if I had not been told by another author not to push any of my current public babies, I would have fallen in with the others. One of the tips that the group of experts gave us prior to pouring our hearts out about our novels, was that it’s a lot harder for a publisher to pick up an author who has already introduced the book to the public. Yes, you read that right, I did say harder and not impossible, but just think about whether you would rather take a car up the mountain or walk that sucker.

Perfect your portfolio. For most pitching events, you will need certain printed material to support your words. For the Dope Reads pitching event that I attended, I had to have an author resume (I used my media kit), the book synopsis, and the first three polished chapters. I also included my business card too, so they could see how serious I am about this #writerlife. Once it was my turn to present, they all had materials to take back with them, which was more than others had at the event.

Hone your pitch. Doing all that prep work with the synopsis and fine-tuning your first three chapters will get your mind moving about how to describe your book. What you want to do is nail it down to a two- to five-minute elevator pitch. Highlight your key characters and the conflict (but don’t give away the ending), know and say your word count (they don’t care about how many pages, it’s all about how your word count fits your genre), describe who your book could sit next to, and what trope your novel falls into, particularly if it’s one that is pertinent to society right now. Then practice it out loud over and over again. Want to really test your pitch? Tell it to a stranger and see if they’re interested.

Be confident about your work and who you are as a writer. It’s tough when you get into a room and see a bunch of authors working toward the same exact step as you. You may start wondering what makes you different? Why your book and not theirs? ┬áBut don’t start comparing your words to theirs. Your story is one that can only be told by you. It’s like having a superpower; you’re the only one who can control it and use it for good. Be proud of your work and how far you’ve come, then go shine like the sun is counting on you.

If you cover these four points, you will be ready to knock that pitch out of the park (see what I did there). If there is one thing you get from this post, let it be that if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. Opportunity is coming.

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Every Writing Journey is Different…No For Real!

If there is one lesson that I’ve learned throughout my 35 years on this Earth is that no footstep is the same. Sure our paths may seem similar, we’ve both turned a left or two, but the reality of it all is that they will end in separate places at different times.

When I first started writing, it was for relief. With all the temptation around me at school and the love I had for my boyfriend, and now husband, with me every waking moment, I had to find a way to release some lustful desires in a healthy way, so I started writing. I wrote freaky tales and shared it with my friends, which did something powerful for me that I reflect on today–I connected women on a level I didn’t know I could through erotic words.

Then when my mother passed in December of 2006, my best friend showed me that writing was also a way to cope with pain and loss. I really let all the painful words that were being held back by my tears out of my system into poetry and journaling. Writing has not only helped with my sanity and recovery but it’s taught me more about myself that I thought it could. I mean, a totally different emotional level.

So did I know that I would be pursuing a writing career when I was in college. No. Elementary, well yeah. I’ve dreamt about telling the stories that were in my head since I was young but I only thought it was a dream, until now.

And it’s not until now, or should I say the past year, that I’ve realized that becoming a full-time author may look totally different for me than anyone else, so I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.

So I’m taking the next big, and what was one of the scariest steps thus far, which was why I decided to take my talents to Patreon–a platform build to help creatives survive why continually sharing our work.

So, why Patreon? Three reasons:

  1. Supplemental-ish Income: This platform allows a creative like me to make an income by supplying a product on a regular basis. As an early published author who only has two books out, it helps to supplement my income to help cover costs like editors, cover designers, software, supplies and all the other stuff that comes up in between (travel costs to conferences and marketing materials).
  2. Storytelling on a monthly basis: I love writing. Did you know that? It’s so true that on this platform I get to write short stories and upcoming chapters for you all to review and give feedback on. Oh, and depending on what tier you subscribe to you will get multiple stories a month, free stuff and so much more.
  3. Connecting with you on a personal: It’s hard to be real on so many channels, and to be honest I can’t be for “commercial” reasons, but on Patreon I plan to be the best and honest me I can be because everyone who supports this dream desires nothing less. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about those of you have bought my book and who have already subscribed to this blog. I’m keeping you in the loop on some of the goodies, but honestly, if you want the gems…you know where to go and what to do!

My path will be different but it will happen because I know it’s for me. If your struggling to live your purpose, I challenge you to take a leap of faith. Trust that the path is already there and all you have to do is take the next step, even if you can see it clearly. What you feel, is what is for you.

Join DNC on Patreon.

With passion

DNC