This weekend marks the second anniversary of the publication of my self-help guide, Solo Success! You CAN do things on your own. Where did those two years go? More importantly, where am I now at the end of them? What have been the highs, what have I learned, and what will be my next step – or book?
I’ve written extensively about my journey from writer to author in a series of 10 blogs. But I’ll try to summarise all of the above in just the one, as one of the things I’ve learned is to edit myself!
1. Seeing the first printed copy of my book – with my name on the cover. Plus the feel and the smell of a newly printed, unopened book are much sweeter when you’ve written it.
2. Royalties cheques – however small – are the evidence that people bought my book on Amazon and in bookshops. I hadn’t wasted my time. Thank you all.
3. Personal sales over a chat about solo lifestyle and personal issues at a conference or other event, in a library, a bookshop…. I love being able to write a personal message to someone inside the cover. I hope my book helped them in some way.
4. Being asked to write a regular blog for Psychologies Magazine’s online Life Labs support section. It’s a privilege to have done that for over a year and to get feedback from readers.
5. The thrill of seeing and meeting people who have turned up to meet me and hear me speak about my message, and how my book might help them to live their best life.
6. Receiving an award for my efforts: a GOLD award in the JANEY LOVES 2019 PLATINUM AWARDS for Natural Products and Services. Thanks to the judges and for my tribe who voted for me.
7. Becoming, and being recognised a, an expert on solo lifestyle issues by speakers and coaches and, for example, by BBC Coventry and Warwickshire who ask me to comment on relevant topics.
8. Thanks to a friend Sue Williams asking me to contribute a piece to her new compilation, Believe you can live the life you love at 50+, which achieved Amazon No 1 status in two categories last week, I am now a bestselling author!
What have I learned?
9. That millions of books are published every year and they can’t all be bestsellers and earn the author a fortune. I’ve written a book on a topic that will only become more relevant, and I reckon it’s a slow burner.
10. That it’s good to have professional help with promotion and publicity. I appreciate the value of my Social Media Manager and Planner who has helped me to become more experienced and comfortable with social media, and to develop a presence and an expert voice across a number of platforms. But I still need to improve.
11. To be a better writer by writing every day (even if notes on a post-it) and producing regular, weekly output for my website blog about my solo life, and general solo lifestyle issues and concerns. Like I said, I’ve learnt to edit myself! And my prodigious output is something I’m proud of, and that can be put to future use.
12. Never to give up on success or lose faith in my book. Only a few weeks ago I told a friend that I would be cutting back on promoting Solo Success as. After two years, it’s own success had been, let us say, modest. Then days later I was told that I, and it, had won an award (see 6 above.)
I have never got further than a plan and an agent pitch for my second Solo book: Solo Holidays – 10 rules to ensure a great time on your own. I could revisit and re-imagine that. But I feel like I need a change of genre, and I’ve already got fiction and a poetry anthology part drafted, plus a draft idea for a play that came to me in the shower! What I’m absolutely sure about is that I’m going to embark on a new writing project – whatever it turns to out to be.
25 September 2019