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Approaching a huge benchmark number


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#1 RuthCardello

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:20 AM

If I were the kind of person who could keep any news in, I would wait until I actually reached the benchmark and then try to share it in a nonchalant way that made me look cool.

But I'm not cool...if I were a dog, I'd be a Labrador. Up in your face, jumping around, until you tell me to sit before I pee on the floor....lol

I'm on vacation this week, so I was crunching my numbers. I added together all sources of income for my book (Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Createspace, Allromanceebooks) and I had to call my husband.

I'm at about $95,000 this month. Now, even if my sales dip (which they do naturally) ...I should hit $100,000 mid-March. Just in time for my birthday (You know, the one where I turn 29 again and again until people laugh when I say it and then I'll turn 39).

$100,000 since I put my book up at the end of August. So let's say Sept - March. Seven months.

When I put my first book up for FREE, I felt published but people would ask me if I was really published. I know. I know. The answer was always yes. And I know that it doesn't matter if I'm recognized as published by my peers because the credit card companies don't care if an agent loved me or not. The bank never asked me which publishing house accepted me.

But there was a nagging pit in my stomach. I share this only because someone else might be afflicted by the same silly notion. And we need to help each other get over this.

I didn't really feel published at $50,000. And I should have.

I didn't feel published at my local chapter's meeting when I reached $75,000 because they told me I couldn't be in the newsletter even thought they will let me do a workshop on self-publishing.

They won't list me as one of the published authors, because to them I'm not.

It shouldn't matter, right? I mean, in the big picture, that's a silly thing to worry about.

But it did matter.

It does matter to me.

Now, even as I say this....I love my group. It's like when you sit down with an old person who says something outdated and wrong. You don't stop loving them. You just roll your eyes and realize that there is very little chance you can change them at this point. But sometimes what they say stings.

Something very freeing happened when I realized that when I do the workshop for them in March I can say that I've reached a nice benchmark number.

Even if it just reveals my writer's insecurities.

Even if I don't end up in the newsletter listed as published.

I'm going to share that number at my workshop and I'm going to hold my head up high.

I am published.

Sad, that it took this milestone to give me the confidence I need to say it and to lessen the need for peer recognition.

If you're self-published and have made more than me or are self-published and have made $10...be proud. We ARE published. We are cutting edge. And even if they won't list us, they can't dismiss us.

We are the future. We are here to stay. It doesn't mean the big publishing houses are leaving. It just means that we aren't going anywhere either.

Oh, crap, does anyone have a papertowel because I think I made a small mess....lol
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#2 Cat Woods

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:30 AM

*wipes up mess*

How awesome for you, Ruth. Your hard work and perseverence has paid off and nobody should be able to diminish your success.

The truth in publishing is that very few traditionally published writers make it big time. The vast majority languish as midlisters for their entire careers, which may be short-lived if they don't show impressive enough numbers to keep publishers printing their books. Your benchmark may be more than some traditionally published writers will ever make. This doesn't sound like a failure to me.

It sounds innovative, motivated and brave. You found a way to make your writing/name stand out in the midst of other self-published writers. You've branded yourself as a success that other aspiring writers can look up to. And best of all, you haven't selfishly coveted your journey, but have given others an honest portrait of how they, too, can succeed.

Kudos to you and never let anyone dismiss you.

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#3 Jean Oram

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:33 AM

That is SO freaking AWESOME!!!!!!

A huge congratulations, Ruth. You've worked amazingly hard and this success is yours. Revel in it. And I've got lots of paper towel, so feel free to jump around and get excited. :happy:

You, my dear, are an inspiration.

And, I hope you don't mind me saying this, Ruth, but she did this all while having a tiny one at home. YES!! This girl is dedicated.

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#4 RuthCardello

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:44 AM

Jean,

I don't mind you saying it. It's why you will constantly hear me say that promotion has to FIT into your life. It can't be your life. I'm not sure more is necessarily better. You burn out and so does your audience.

Writing is the same way. I'll be giving my request for a year off from my job at the end of this year and I intend to write from 8-3 M-F after that. Not on the weekends. Not in the evenings. That time is family time for me.

I've been writing early mornings and on Sundays for a long time and I'm looking forward to reclaiming that time for ME.

What is the point of reaching any goal if you don't let yourself have a life to enjoy it in?
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#5 RuthCardello

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:47 AM

Oh, and Cat, thanks for sharing this with me and all the kind words. This is also a community I'm so happy to have found.
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#6 Jean Oram

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:10 AM

Ruth, you're like my sister from another mother. I completely agree.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

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#7 Joey

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

Wonderful news for a wonderfully published author!!! Congratulations Ruth! You are an inspiration to many here at aqc!

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#8 Lanette Kauten

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:08 AM

That's fantastic! You're a successful, professional writer. It doesn't matter how you got published.

#9 jwmstudio

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:33 AM

FANTASTIC! Thank you for being so generous sharing your journey with us.
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#10 Robin Breyer

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:44 AM

That is wonderful news. You are an inspiration. I would be happy with a fraction of your success. I was happy with my first sale for money (my share being $0.79). And there is not doubt about it, no matter what road you took, you are a published author. While a few of us are a bit green at your wonderful success, that in no way diminishes how happy we are for you. I, for one, have a lot to learn from you and I'm hoping you stay around for a long long time. I'm sending a few virtual hugs your way for your success.

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#11 TBruce

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:17 PM

It's so sad, but true - we often let others define us. Those venturing into self-publishing AFTER we've been rejected by traditional publishing (that would very likely be me) feel like we've somehow failed or that we're "settling" for second best or the booby prize. And it's not true. But somehow we let other people set the agenda, let other people define success, let other people decide if we're "worthy" or "good" or "successful." Why is that??? I know I'm in that same boat with you - struggling to convince myself that I AM a REAL writer (whatever that means). ::smacks self:: stop letting others define you! Bad self! Bad!

:biggrin: Ruth, your success is fabulous and wonderful and amazing and don't let anyone take it from you or diminish it or measure it in terms you don't like/agree with. Screw your group (lovely though they may be). Traditional versus self-published is just snotty people's way of making others feel inferior - obviously READERS don't care. They just want a good story well told - they don't care who produces it. So go outside, roll in a pile of mud, and then come back inside to shake it all off. Happy birthday to you - you have given yourself an amazing present: you have proven to yourself that you can do ANYTHING!

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#12 Joey

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:47 PM

Amen Terri! Readers want a good story, and sometimes you must simply believe in and have enough faith in yourself and in your manuscript to know that it's good..and that readers will want to read it!

Ruth's bringing it to em' and they're loving it! So are many of our AQC'ers here, whether it be self-pub or the traditional route.

In the end it's all about the story and doing wha works for you and your manuscript. Today I think the climate is a tad different. there are those who choose to self-pub rather than going the trad route, and it's all good.

It is whatever works best for you and..the story.

Go Ruth Go!

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#13 RuthCardello

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:57 PM

Thanks for sharing in my excitement.

Robin, everyone has a turn in the dance circle -- at least if we do this right they do. Isn't that what this community is about? Helping us all get there? That's my hope, anyway. You'll get there. Just stay focused.

TBruce -- I don't see them as snotty....I think they feel threatened. If they acknowledge me, they feel that it will somehow diminish the dues they feel they paid to get where they are. I mean, if I can do it...anyone can do it...and then where are they?

But what they fail to see is that there is room for all of us in this process. Traditional, self-published, novice, polished,...all Amazon did was level the playing field and give more of us a chance to reach readers. It didn't affect the fact that readers are savvy and will continue to have favorite authors. It doesn't mean that their own journey was any less wonderful because we are joining their ranks by another path.

I'm not lowering their property values by building on their block -- even if it may feel that way to them.

And Amazon is not evil. It's a company simply doing what companies do -- making money. I don't see how that is any different than any publishing house out there...except that instead of deciding who sells, they let the readers decide.

I understand that some fear change, but nothing ever stays the same. This, too, will pass. We can live in a constant state of lamenting the loss of what was....or we can embrace new opportunites. And that adventurer spirit is what makes the Indie community so exciting to be a part of. We charge forward. We question the rules. We reinvent the process as we go. And we share what we know in hopes that the ones who follow behind will also find success....while avoiding the wrong turns we've taken.

Hopefully, purely traditionally published authors will come to the realization that it's not a contest -- it's a community -- maybe not the gated one they are used to, but a wonderful one nonetheless.
Ruth Cardello
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#14 Jennie

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:17 PM

Congratulations Ruth!

Traditionally published or self-published, I think the important thing is that you're now a professional novelist. You're writing your stories and getting them into the hands of your readers in such a way that you get to spend MORE time writing stories. Isn't that what we all really want?

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#15 JayMG

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:19 PM

Wow, that is seriously impressive! Not only are you a published author, you're a very successful one. AND an extremely good businesswoman! It's possibly more of an achievement to accomplish that without the help of a publishing house. So be proud of yourself!

#16 Paul Dillon

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:44 PM

Ruth,

I don't even know what to say. I'm speechless with admiration. You pretty much did this on your own - wrote the damn thing, published, marketed. And $100k for a new indie author has to be up there with the most successful. Totally cool.

#17 Caterina

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:18 PM

Wow, that is so damn inspiring! I hope to reach your potential one day. I am so damn happy for you, you deserve this! And of course you are considered published! Once we set our items out for the public to read, we are published. I don't care what anyone else says.

GREAT JOB!

btw, one quick question - Was this your first book?

#18 Lori Sjoberg

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:09 PM

Ruth, you truly are an inspiration. I consider myself lucky to have watched your steady climb to success.

#19 C. Taylor

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:09 PM

GO, RUTH, GO!!! That is so AWESOME!!!! You've worked your butt off and it's paid off. No one can take that from you. You had the balls to make the jump and go out on your own when they said your writing wasn't what they were looking for and didn't have a market. And you showed them wrong. There IS room out there for more than one type of story. You've proven that!! And there is more than one way to be published, whether some acknowledge that or not.

A huge congrats!! And thanks for sharing and helping others along the way!

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#20 DarkLight

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:17 PM

Ruth, that is so amazing and congratulations just doesn't seem to convey how incredible an achievement that truly is!

The biggest problem I think most traditionally published authors face is their inability to face the 'paradigm shift without a clutch' as it were and realize that it being a "Real Author" and being "Published" isn't a zero-sum game. Your publishing success, and that's what it is regardless of their validation, takes nothing from them. You haven't taken money from their bank account, food from their table or clothing off of their backs. You didn't steal any ideas from their heads or prevent them from publishing any of their books but I think you hit the nail on the head. They DO feel threatened by anyone who achieves ANY measure of success outside of their established rules of play.

Good on ya girl! YOU GO!

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