Two years ago, I quit my job and became a full-time author. With no other income than my books, I’ve been working crazy hours ever since to realise my dreams. I make a good living and have built enough savings to get me through emergencies or bad months, but there’s always the worry that it’s not enough. And so I work. A lot. Every day, all day. Even when I still had my job, I’d use every lunch break, evening and of course the weekend to write and work on my author career.
Free time? What’s that?
Holidays? Only with my laptop by my side.
Then, last winter, I came close to burnout. I could barely write. Getting out of bed felt as exhausting as running a marathon (not that I’ve ever done one of those). My emotions were all over the place. I found it hard to gather the creativity I need to write my books.
That was a wake-up call. I decided I needed to calm down, reduce my output, focus more on my backlist and repurpose my existing books through audiobooks and translations.
Then came the coronavirus and erased all my plans. The pandemic plus some events in my personal life meant I didn’t write much. This wasn’t the time to change my way of working; my routine was all that kept it together.
Now though, I finally decided to make a change. After reading an excellent report by Skye Warren (subscribe to her author newsletter, she's full of amazing advice) about how working only four hours a day can be just as effective as working long hours, I set myself that very challenge: a week of four hours a day or less. Not a minute more.
I split my four hours in half: two hours for writing, two hours for admin, marketing and whatever else needed doing. I printed off a time sheet to keep track of what I was doing in that limited time to hopefully learn if I did things that were unnecessary or repetitive.
I used a stopwatch to track the total time I spent working, pausing the timer whenever I got distracted or took a break.
Authors are always on the hunt to find more readers, but to do so, we sometimes have to look beyond the end of our own nose and expand our horizon. While there are many ways to discover those elusive readers who've just been waiting to read your book, one of the most important aspects of being an indie author is to think global. Ebooks enable us to reach people from all over the world, so we need to make sure that we're ready for those international readers.
First of all, “international” is relative. For me as a Scottish author, it means every country besides the UK. For an author in Australia, it will be every country and continent except for Australia.
Your aim as an author should be to target all readers, no matter where they are. It may seem harder to reach audiences who aren’t in your own country, but with a few simple methods, you’ll be able to increase your international readership.
1. Use universal links
Universal links, you say, aren’t they just for people who’re wide? I only sell on Amazon, I don’t need them.
As someone living in the UK, this attitude is a particular pet peeve of mine. Many authors only post Amazon.com links when they recommend their books. When I follow that link, I can’t just click the ‘buy’ button to get the book. When I’m at my laptop, it’s fairly easy, there’s a redirect option and the the Amazon UK page is just one more click away. If I’m using my phone, however, it’s an entirely different matter. The only way I can then get your book is change the URL from amazon.com/yourbook to amazon.co.uk/yourbook or open the Amazon app (or open Amazon.co.uk in a new tab) to search for your book. Both of that uses time. If I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d like your book or not, I might not go through all that effort and forget about it.
Scottish storyteller. Tea drinker. Cat tamer. Highland walker. Believes in unicorns and happily ever afters.