Resources for newbie fiction authors

The very first resource I had on this journey was a book from Lise Cartwright called "Side Hustle Blueprint: How to Make an Extra $1000 Per Month Writing eBooks! (without leaving your day job!)" which I read back in January. Great title, right? I honestly don't remember how I found it. Maybe some random article about side hustles, which I read a lot of for several reasons, but right now because we want to save for a house. Publishing a book had been on my "dream list" since I was very young and she made it sound extremely easy, so I figured I'd give it a try.

There were some good tips to get started, and the optimistic way it was written made me excited to take the leap. Looking back, however, this was probably not the best book to start with if you write fiction. So far in my research I've noticed there are two main self-publishing strategies: "keyword optimizing" and "list building." They are not mutually exclusive, but depending on your goal (sell a lot very quickly, use ghostwriters to make a mini empire, build an author following, etc.) you will focus more on one or the other. Lise's book falls into the keyword category, which seems to work much better for nonfiction, and for selling a lot quickly.

I next came upon Kindlepreneur. He's still mainly focused on keywords, but also has all sorts of great tools and how-tos. I used his Book Description Generator, and list of free sites to promote the book, to name a few. He's great at comparing resources to help you choose what's best for you - which this post is trying to do, so you know that's the kind of stuff I love!

Then came Nick Stephenson and Tim Grahl, who are on the list building side of things. They were both mentioned on Kindlepreneur. I signed up for both at once, so similar information was repeated, making me realize this was a strategy I should probably pay attention to. I stuck with Nick and his free videos, for a few reasons. First, he seems a bit more familiar with fiction. Second, the videos felt more like I was doing something productive than just reading Tim's emails (which were still helpful). Finally, and unfortunately for Tim, American girls are suckers for British accents.

Then once I published, over the course of a month and a half, I signed up for quite a few webinars and freebies. Most I discovered through Facebook ads, but others through blogs I've started to follow. Knowing what I do now about list building techniques, it was interesting to see how often they contacted me in a single month. It gave me lots of ideas about the kind of impression I want to make on people. In the same way, while some things were not really applicable to me as a fiction writer, I am of the opinion that no learning is wasted time. The more I know about what doesn't work, the easier it will be for me to spot things that will.

The excel nerd I am, I made a big table with notes on all of them. In an effort not to totally overwhelm, however, I thought I'd try to organize the list very loosely in terms of usefulness for fiction writers. This is based on personal preference for different styles, how authentic they seem, and how many emails they sent.

1. Mark Dawson - I recently discovered his podcast and while I'm also on his mailing list, I'm not bombarded by emails selling something. He has lots of great, free content, and it's presented in a very approachable way.

2. Jeff Goins - His free webinar on blogging was a great introduction to the list building approach for a writer like me just starting out. I've started to read his writing tips blog as well.

3. Kary Oberbrunner - I did his free 3-part webinar for authors, and while it was inspirational and a new way to look at things, I didn't find it as useful for fiction writers.

4. Michael Hyatt - His free webinar on blogging had great practical tips, but his other resources seem better for nonfiction.

5. Bryan Harris - I watched his free Videofruit webinar on list building, and while I think his products are more for entrepreneurs, there were some really good practical "action items."

6. Colleen Arneil - Her free webinar on Money Blocks was inspirational, but definitely more for online entrepreneurs.

7. Brilliant Business Moms - The free Pinterest webinar was not really applicable to me right now, though I have been listening to their podcast and like it.

8. Vanessa Halick - Her focus is list building for consultants, though some tips were useful.

9. Melyssa Griffin - Her free Pinterest webinar gave me ideas, but her emails talk about sales funnels, which seems more appropriate for nonfiction and entrepreneurs.

10. Rachel McMichael - The Facebook Ads Free ebook didn't have any new information that couldn't be found elsewhere.

11. Mike Dillard - His free list building webinar was more for online entrepreneurs. He was the first to actually mention using paid promotions to grow your list, which was a relief. So many make it seem like it's some magical, organic process, and for a few, maybe it is. But the more I read/watch/listen, the clearer it's becoming that the upfront costs can be quite high (I'll do a post on my own costs soon). However, I really really didn't like his style, and in his many follow up emails, I found him very sales-y and like he was trying to hard (=not authentic).

Hopefully all this will be helpful for someone! I am still discovering more resources and will share as I go along. Please note that none of these people have asked me to or know that I'm writing about them. These are 100% my own opinions, so please feel free to disagree with me! There is so much out there, just presented in slightly different ways, and I think what's important is to find someone, or a few someones, who can make it all "click" for you.

Now that I've started looking into Facebook ads, I am very curious as to what they must have put in as keywords for their ads to end up in my feed.

One thing to keep in mind is that while those towards the top of the list seem to genuinely want to help people, the goal of all of these webinars/freebies is to sell you something, either a course, or a book, or access to an online community. I will talk in an upcoming post why I don't think I'm ready for that step yet, so I can't give any opinions on their actual "products."

Have you tried any of the above webinars? What did you think?