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The Career Author Podcast: Episode 107 – Launching an Author Career in 2020

Launching an Author Career in 2020

The publishing industry went through a wave of unprecedented changes in the last decade with the evolution of self-publishing. The rise of the eReader along with technological advancements in the digital distribution of books knocked down doors previously held closed tight by the major publishers. But with the “golden age” of independent publishing long gone, more competition in the market, and the increased difficulty to be discovered by readers, we ask the question: is 2020 too late to become a Career Author?

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • What has changed over the past decade in self-publishing
  • Why it’s more important than ever to treat your author brand as a professional business
  • Things to consider before writing your first book
  • What you should be doing and thinking about while writing your first book
  • How to find the right editor and cover designer
  • How you should be spending your money on your author business
  • Zach and J.’s top tips for new authors in 2020

Also, learn why it’s important to appreciate where you are in your journey while moving towards a better place.

Send us your ways and hacks – https://thecareerauthor.com/waysandhacks/ 

Leave us a comment: If you’ve published, what advice would you give to someone just starting? If you’re new, what plans do you have for 2020 to launch your author career?

Thanks to all of our Patrons.

Podcast sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://writinglife.kobobooks.com 

Get exclusive bonus content by supporting The Career Author Podcast on Patreon at www.patreon.com/thecareerauthor

Want to work with us? Get the details at https://thecareerauthor.com/services/

Links:

The Career Author Episode 23 – Mailing Lists For Authors – https://thecareerauthor.com/the-career-author-podcast-episode-23-nurturing-your-audience/

The Career Author Episode 33 – How to Find a Book Cover Artist – https://thecareerauthor.com/the-career-author-podcast-episode-33-finding-the-right-book-cover-artist/

The Career Author Episode 40 – Yes, Virginia, You Need an Editor – https://thecareerauthor.com/the-career-author-podcast-episode-40-yes-virginia-you-need-an-editor/

The Career Author Episode 50 – List Building Fundamentals Part 1 – https://thecareerauthor.com/the-career-author-podcast-episode-50-list-building-fundamentals-list-building-part-1/

The Career Author Episode 96 – Pay-Per-Click Advertising – https://thecareerauthor.com/pay-per-click-advertising/

The Career Author YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/thecareerauthor

Three Story Method – http://threestorymethod.com

Molten Universe Media – http://www.moltenuniversemedia.com

Events – https://thecareerauthor.com/events/ 

23 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 107 – Launching an Author Career in 2020

  • See now I wish I was able to listen to this before enjoying lunch with you guys in LA. I would have had so many more questions. I’ll break it down tomorrow once I get my notes figured out from this great episode.

      • Can’t wait to catch you guys somewhere else. Hopefully J won’t get attacked by a homeless person. (sorry inside joke)

        My goals (sorry J) for 2020, are to release book 1 and finish book 2 and release it by December. The way I am getting there is back to writing at least 15 min a day at 930. Also hold myself to editing at least 1x out of the MWF that I have blocked at lunch in a work conference room each week. I find myself cheating on this because I like going out with work friends, but I think the minimum (per atomic habits, etc.) is 1x per week is doable and I should make progress on editing which apparently is my bane.

  • Morning guys. Great travel pack hack and way today and yes there are podcasts:
    https://indietravelpodcast.com/packing-for-travel/
    For the record, in New Orleans I walked into the casino with $10 and I walked out feeling pleased with myself with $14. 🙂. With my $4 winnings I bought lovely wifey Denise a “New Orleans” mug from a supermarket. Unfortunately it cost $5 but I let her off for the extra $ because I’m a nice guy. Happy days. I highly recommend one of your events to anyone, especially 2020 newbies.
    Great hack Zach. Totally agree with it. Little things keep me happy. One tip which really works is do something good for someone every day. Don’t expect a reward; the reward is the warm fuzzy glow you get from doing it. It’s easy, especially in a relationship, to think “she/he hasn’t done… and it’s his/her turn…” Stop keeping score, a relationship is not a contract (but don’t let yourself become a doormat).
    My advice to new authors is similar to yours:
    1. Write every day – how else can you improve?.
    2. Read every day – learn from other writers.
    3. Learn every day – every day’s a school day.
    4. Enjoy writing – if not, why do it? Sell widgets or something else.
    5. Be professional about being a writer – if you want a career as a writer.
    Great show today guys.

  • You guys are crushing it this year! This is exactly the thing I’ve been analyzing lately. Great info here, I will recommend this to some friends.

    My general advice for starting out, from someone with just 2 books pub’d and making next to no money off of it.

    1 – Write shorter books (40-60K words). Each book from start to finish is a learning process, shorter books shorten the feedback loop. You’ll learn the cycle of editing, launch and marketing at a faster rate this way.
    2 – Plan on writing in a long series. For ads to be worthwhile you’ll need that read-thru to make a profit.
    3 – Don’t publish a series until you have a handful ready to go. Then do a rapid release every 3-6 weeks or so.
    4 – If you’re worried about reader feedback, give unpublished books away for free from a blog or mailing list. Kind of like an extended beta reading period. Or join writer’s critique groups on Goodreads.com or Scribophile.
    5 – Don’t be afraid to give books away. Your series starter (and sometimes even books 2+) should be free, at least occasionally. It’s the later books in the series that tend to bring in the money. (From what I observe, anyway.)

  • Had to laugh at your hope for California sunshine during this episode. I’m in Sacramento and it’s raining.

    Not published yet. I’ve written one book and I’m halfway through my second. I want to have three before I publish so I can do them together or rapid release while working on book 4. Fingers crossed for launching in 2021.

  • This was one of your best episodes ever! I got so much out of it.

    I’m just starting and have only published a small, niche, non-fiction book. I have several novels either ready or almost ready to publish. I plan on releasing at least two, if not three of them. ::fingers crossed::

    I spent the last three months or so of 2019 in despair that I was too late to the game, that the indie market was too crowded, and that I didn’t have the will or proper discipline to make this work for me. Something J. said in this interview made me feel better (and I’m not sure why given the above): “you have to compete at the highest level.” Not that I think my work is at the ‘highest level’, but I do find solace that maybe we’ve come to a time when all the people publishing simply to see if something sticks will give up. The road is no longer easy and that will make many people step away.

    Your talk made me realize I’m in it for the long game. I don’t want to chase trends. I love writing for its own sake. I am fully aware of how I’ve progressed and improved over the years. I love the process. I love learning about the craft and story structure not just to improve my own writing, but for its own sake. I will continue to read a lot (and I read everything, from graphic novels to literary fiction), and learn from all of it. Movies and TV too!

    This episode was actually a great pep talk for me. 🙂 Thanks!

  • During that gold rush period, some people with badly edited books and so-so covers still made it, and were able to then improve as they went along. While that time is gone on KDP, I wonder if there will be something else that comes up (wattpad? soemthing totally new?) that will let new authors find readers and get important feedback, maybe to help them hone their skill before they jump to Kindle. I think there IS something to be said for just putting yourself out there and learning (maybe just do it with a different author name for your first five books…)

    • Agreed. I think that’s a good plan as long as the platform isn’t retail. I don’t believe you should expect paying customers to provide feedback on your craft.

  • My plans for 2020? To get the books published. I’ve been working and improving for a couple years. I have several books mostly done (after rewrites) and ideas for more books in each of those series. I’d like to finish what I have and get the releases scheduled out. I want to do it so I am not overwhelmed with release stuff (marketing). By the end of the year I have the goal of 4 books in my fantasy series and a book or 2 in another fantasy/paranormal series. I do have 1 basically done but the genre is different and I don’t want to confuse people plus I have enough other short stories I could combine into a book, but I’m still tossing that idea around.

  • My advice comes down to one word – focus. Don’t bounce around. Focus on one thing. Finish it.

    Besides that, find a genre you like, learn it, and write every day, then treat your writing like a business because you’re about to become a publisher.

  • Just a quick note: Lunch breaks are NOT required by federal law, although they are sometimes required by state law. But in shithole red states like I live in, your employer can schedule you for 168 hours a week and as long as they pay overtime over 40 hours, it’s perfectly legal. Yay weak labor laws.

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