So you want to become a bestselling author who writes full-time? Congratulations! You’re well on your way to spending every waking hour of the day staring at a computer screen writing your book and then, when you’re done, you get to spend even more time figuring out how to get people to buy your book!

By the way, the writing part’s easy. Seriously. It is. Writing the book is only about 10% of the overall work. 90% of it is trying to get your book out there and get people to buy it. That includes everything from getting the right cover to joining the right promotions to choosing the right keywords to risking your neck (and, in my case, my family’s entire savings account) to try and get your book noticed and purchased. With the writing, once you’re done writing a book you’re done with that step and never have to do it again. With marketing, though, you have to constantly be on your toes and trying new things day in and day out.

Before you start on the journey to becoming an independent author, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have several hours a day to devote to marketing?
  • Are you comfortable with getting your hands dirty trying all different types of marketing methods?
  • Are you okay with losing money at the start while you figure out how to best market your books?
  • Are you creative enough to constantly test and refine your advertising strategies to find the best ones for your books?

If you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, you might be ready to try being an indie author. You may note, though, that none of the questions had anything to do with actually writing a book. Why is that, anyway?

In years past, during the golden years of 2012ish, virtually anybody could come along with a story, slap any kind of cover on it, throw it up on Amazon and make a metric buttload of money. No, seriously, they could. I once made several thousand dollars in a two-month period of time off of a pair of recipe books that had the worst covers you’ve ever seen. I personally knew people who wrote financial and health/dieting advice books that made six figures in a month with minimal marketing and exposure.

Unfortunately (and fortunately) those days are long gone. So many people are publishing their own books now that you have to put in a lot of work to rise above the pack and get noticed. Some people have it quite a bit easier thanks to work they put into other areas, like people who’ve built up followings on Youtube or their websites. If they publish a book it’ll sell really well (at first) because they already have an audience to market to.

So what’s someone like you with a creative brain and a flair for thinking of nifty stories going to do? You don’t have an audience so how are you going to get noticed?

Through a buttload of hard work. That’s how. Writing is only a small percentage of what you’ll have to do to become a successful independent writer. Are you up for everything else that comes along with it?

At this point you’re probably thinking that I’m being incredibly cynical about things so here’s the good news: you can become a successful indie writer in today’s market. It’s still very much possible. It takes time and hard work but it’s possible and repeatable. I see so many unsuccessful indie authors and so few successful ones, but the successful ones have a few traits, habits and features that are similar. If you can mimic those traits and features and habits then you, too, have the potential to be successful as well.