Whoever said fear is a poor excuse for motivation, lied! Two years ago it was the fear of being taken by seedy third parties that propelled me to become an independent author. Even today, the fear of what I might be missing, keeps me pressing for the next tier of success.
Though I’ve written most of my life, my true aspiration (like most writers) was to have my works published. It didn’t take very long to realize the publishing world is a mean and hard road to travel – filled with double-talk, layers of third-party payouts and wordy contract language. I would stat hyperventilating just sifting through online possibilities for getting published.
Then one day, after years (literally) of gathering information and researching online publishing options, it hit me “It’s now or never.” The voice in my head made me stop in my tracks and for the first time, I sat down and listed all the pros and cons of going the independent versus traditional publishing route. I decided indie was the way to go! Once I determined the level of support I needed to be a successful start-up author, I decided the first indie publisher I spoke with who met my terms, would become my partner. That first call lasted 45 minutes and the rest is my publishing for dummies history. Fear of the unknown and being taken advantage of, was the kick I needed to jump-start my dreams.
When it comes to attacking the impossible, I beg people not to fall into the mental trap of believing real life execution is as easy as following your plan on paper. Paper strategies mean nothing. It’s simply an outline and skeletal system for where to begin, but it doesn’t represent the girth of the impending battle. Being an entrepreneur is not for the thin-skinned or faint at heart. It takes courage and vision to see the rainbow behind the shroud of fear.
Like most start-ups, my Achilles heel was money, specifically the lack of it. Unless you’re willing to auction off your first-born, get ready to live a luxury-free life, because firing up the dream is expensive. In my plight, cost was a real culprit because I was feeling my way around the darkness–and boy were my mistakes costly.
Getting past my financial woes wasn’t easy. It wasn’t until I found a new lover that things started to turn for me. I fell in love with an international, savvy, renowned player (not playa) –his name —Social Media. It was love at first site. We began spending all our evenings together, and replacing those rambunctious nights out on the town with quiet, quality time at home…on the computer. All jokes aside, social media is what changed the game for me. It helped me to get smart quickly and at minimal cost. The resources, information and expertise available through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are mind-blowing. I used it to get everything I needed – either free, on a 7-day trail or deeply discounted.
On the heels of my torrid love affair with Mr. Social Media, I felt empowered through my due diligence and decided to start my publishing company. My first book, “Ish” was intended as exposure to the industry – an introduction to get my feet wet. I never knew it would result in the literary demand for a second book, even more a series, but it did. Almost 13 months to the date of publishing my first book, its follow-up, “Ishues” was published in March 2012 under my newly launched label, Griffin Scott Press.
Here are three nuggets of wisdom I learned:
- No doesn’t always mean NO. It most often means you got the wrong person, or maybe it was the right person at the wrong time. Pursue the pursuit with vengeance.
- If you can only see yourself having what you can currently afford, you’re limiting your possibilities. Keep a running journal of your short and long-term goals. There should be dozens of items on both lists. Set a strategy so that the short-term goals bleed into the long-term. Align with people, companies, groups, associations and networks who are experts at what you seek. Find the experts on social media (like them, follow them, talk to them). It’s the best advice and insight you’ll get free, from people who were untouchable before social medial was born.
- Just because others failed trying to execute a plan, doesn’t mean you will. I don’t care how many times people tell you they’ve tried it but it didn’t work–still go for it! The person who failed doesn’t have your drive, your spin or your vernacular. Two people can undertake the same task using the same methods but end with different results. That’s what makes us unique as people and business owners. It’s also what separates the rule makers from the rule breakers. My indie peers encouraged me to sell my books from the trunk of my car, mall kiosks and local festivals. While those venues are not beneath me, my distribution vision was much greater and I always pursued the top rung of the latter. Today, nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than listening to fellow writers pine over how independent authors never get into brick and mortar bookstores or airports. Mine did! In fact, my very first book yielded the attention of Barnes and Noble for an in-store book signing and my books are sold at the largest passenger airport in the world, Jackson Hartsfield International. My journey started just two short years ago and has ended with the titles of author and publisher now following my name.