“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it foes in search of a dream” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Being an author is no different from running your own personal business. Seriously, I’m not kidding. It’s not like running a fortune 500 company, but it’s more like owning your local Italian restaurant.

*Alexa play Billy Joel*

When you run a restaurant, let alone an Italian restaurant, you have to compete with the hundreds, if not thousands, of other places that offer the same exact thing.

What is going to separate you from the rest? How are you going to build a successful business model from the ground up? Do you have start-up cash, or do you have to take out a loan? If you do have cash, how much of it are you going to invest in your business?

Did you think you were going to publish a book and you were going to be the one lucky bastard that gets discovered? It could happen, but the odds are not likely, and they’re even less likely in the over saturated and political market that we currently live in.

Remember those rejection letters I showed you? It takes two and a half seconds to rub a person the wrong way and you’re officially toast. People tend to be oversensitive about their art these days, I feel bad for the artists who actually have the guts to shake up the industry and cause a bordello.

I invested around $15,000 dollars over two and a half to three years in my book until it actually hit the shelf at my local Barnes & Noble. Minchia! Who the heck has $15,000 dollars to blow away on something that isn’t even a safe bet? Well pisano, nobody ever said life was fair.

For the record, this $15,000 includes:
• Literary consultation
• Publicity Fees (Publicist)
• Facebook Target Marketing
• Cover Design/Editing (almost three times each)
• Launch Event
• Book Prototypes/Printing costs
• Shipping books to potential readers
• Freelance editing

If you break it down to daily costs, you’re looking at about 13 dollars a day for three years. Without the learning curve I had, I could probably cut that time in half, but it’s still a lot of money. Start saving now!

Other costs not included in the $15,000 that contributed to publication over time

• Macbook Pro – I spilled coffee on mine one morning while writing
• Netflix – Ideas come from all different kinds of inspiration
• Spotify – Music plays a central role in my writing, but the free trial helped. Don’t be cheap, get premium.
• A few iPhones – Pictures, Siri, Notepad, and Bluetooth all played a role
• Coffee – Not the cheap stuff! Imagine serving cloudy water in the place of espresso while serving dessert at your Italian restaurant. Don’t be cheap, get Lavazza!
• Starbucks – sometimes you need a place to stay. I probably could have concentrated more in a halfway house than my own home, so I spent a great deal of time at Starbucks (even right now).
• Reading work by other authors – The library won’t cost anything, but I like collecting things.
• Food – Treat yourself! The two greatest things in life are good meals and great sex.

Didn’t Cost Anything, but contributed to publication:
• Goalcast
• Great friends – If this costs you anything, they’re not great friends.
• Love – If the love is true, it won’t cost a penny.
• My mental health – I’m stable and not stable, depends on my day, both make for good stories. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
• Faith in God – I prayed daily. I got two things out of this. The first is that, I’m not going to hell (I hope). The second is that it calmed me and helped me find my way. God is great

If you don’t have, or are not able to get any of these things, what’s next?
• Pen and Paper – You can definitely find both of these laying around somewhere. No excuses.

Find a budget that works for you because I promise if you don’t have one, you will never even have the chance to put out a good self-published product, let alone a published product. Even if it isn’t that much, try and create SOME sort of a budget that you’re able to work with.

A cost-effective platform that I used to help me get started is a self-publishing service called, Reedsy.

Reedsy is a company that gives self-published authors access to professionals in the literary industry that are available for freelance. What’s even better about Reedsy is that they let you pick the freelancer based on your interests and needs, in addition to negotiating a set price for their service.

The first time I used Reedsy, I have to admit I was skeptical because I thought I was going to get smacked over the head with an offer that was completely unaffordable. It was a breath of fresh air to see that making a cover that is royalty free costed me around 200 bucks. Yes, that’s right, you heard me, 200 bucks. I happened to use Reedsy solely for my cover design, but you could also use Reedsy for a variety of services, now including getting honest book reviews!

If it wasn’t for Reedsy, I don’t think that I’d be where I am today. Reedsy directly contributed to helping me get a financially sound way of self-publishing my first book. These services are not often overpriced and all negotiable. The best part is that you have the ability to pick and choose who you want to work with based on their past experience and your needs. I am proud to have been featured as one of their success stories and will continue to sing their praises as I progress through the industry.

What Not to Invest In

Now, I spent a chunk of real estate telling you how and where to spend your money. While sitting here at Starbucks, I realized that I hadn’t told you where not to spend your money. From multiple trial and error on a variety of platforms, I slowly figured out which self-publishing companies you can trust and which companies you can’t. If a company ever wants you to pay them to publish your book, RUN!

Yes, I literally mean run!

Do not send them your manuscript, entertain them, or even speak to anyone that wants to charge you to publish your book. Any reputable publisher would never take your money to publish a product that you wrote. I’ve seen people fall victim to this on multiple occasions and I myself have almost been a victim of this thievery.

There will come a point when you’re so desperate to get your work out there that you will consider jumping on board with one of the fugazi publishing companies. I won’t list them by name for fear of getting slapped with a lawsuit, but if you’re reading this, I’m sure you have heard of them before.

If you’re tempted by this so called “deal” that you’re being offered and you’re itching to throw away a few grand, here’s my advice to you.

Invest it in Facebook target marketing and let the cards fall into place. That’s what I tell people every time they ask me how I got this far.

Stay tuned for next week’s lesson that will help guide you through making an effective Facebook target marketing plan.