(EDIT: As of June 6th, I’m over 15,000 copies sold!!!)
On Tuesday, I reached a milestone: 10,000 copies of my books sold! What started as a “love letter” to my kiddos became a series of children’s books celebrating new big siblings as superheroes. I’m beyond humbled that over 10,000 kids read, colored in, and (hopefully) loved my books.
As I soak it in, I’m reflecting on all I’ve learned as a self-published author. Here are three lessons through the lens of having a goal to create income-producing books.
Lesson 1: You may be a writer first, but you are a marketer and PR pro as a close second.
Writing is only half the job. The other half is marketing and self-promotion. Actually, maybe it’s 40/60. There are many strategies to test – social media, website building, ads, and reaching out to readers for reviews. You must be prepared to be your own PR agent because you are the only one responsible for getting your book noticed.
Lesson 2: Building a brand and reputation takes time
Making a name for yourself as an author is not a quick path to passive income. Have a plan for how you will promote your book, and stick to that plan even when things don’t seem to be going your way. You’ll likely need to experiment with different strategies to find what works for you.
My books saw minimal traction in the first few years. I used reviews and feedback to improve the quality of my books AND experimented with marketing strategies until I found momentum. It was just last year that I saw sales growing consistently.
Lesson 3: Be open to feedback
Use reviews and criticism/feedback to improve your writing AND guide your marketing and promotion efforts. There is some controversy around “writing to market,” but knowing your audience and meeting their needs is part of business 101.
Self-publishing is an adventure for those willing to wear many hats – and, as my fashionista daughter says, who doesn’t love a closet full of fabulous accessories?
My first job was at a startup called Music Match in the early days of music streaming. The fast pace, the chance to wear multiple hats and the challenge of doing as much as possible with a lean team and resources had me hooked. I’ve worked at many startups since then.
Most recently, I helped launch and run Money Minx, which started as a late-night kitchen table discussion with my husband. Hussein developed a personalized investment dashboard and net worth tracker, while I dreamed up the brand personality and content strategy to match. We turned it into a bootstrapped powerhouse that was even featured in TechCrunch – twice.
Just the two of us and a shoestring budget, we rolled up our sleeves and dove headfirst into the world of personal investing. Emphasizing content marketing and “scrappy” execution, we grew the software to track over $622 million and grew our user base by 40% month over month.
We were thrilled to see so many Money Minx members finally finding a way to track their diversified investments. I was particularly proud to see couples finally getting on the same “financial page,” using our software to keep track of their financial picture.
And guess what? Our work helped attract angel investors and ultimately led to our acquisition by Arta Finance in early 2022.
Fast-forward to now, I’m working as a content strategist at Arta Finance, helping to demystify finance and promoting digital family offices for wider accessibility.
Beyond Arta, I work with my husband, Hussein, on GPT Hacks, a biweekly newsletter designed to help founders and entrepreneurs launch and run companies with the help of AI tools. We’ve built successful companies, apps, and side hustles – all while juggling kids, PTA responsibilities, and more – thanks to the use of powerful tools. With GPT Hacks, we’re committed to helping others do the same.
If you want to launch your dream company or have a company that needs new ways to run leaner, come over to GPT Hacks and let us show you how you can make things happen better and faster with AI tools.