Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

Dedication to Authorship

4 min read

Where it takes time and dedication to pave yourself a path to a career as an author

The first book in an author’s career is a terrific milestone.

Something that should be celebrated. And even though it is, after the excitement wanes, the reviews slowly trickle in one by one, and the first day of sales subsides, these authors often wonder; what now?

It has been seven years now since I published my first book, Kale Stone: An Outliers Tale.

Even though I spent three thousand dollars through a service called Create Space to make my dream come to life, I still consider it an accomplishment to have taken the plunge that I did to publish in the first place. To place my story in the hands of readers and hope that they loved it as much as I did. Because that is what it’s all about.

And I could have never dreamed that I would someday grow my brand to have thirteen books under my name.

However, none of it would be possible without my taking the first step to publish the first book.

After my first book was published, I’d found that I’d sold 250 copies but only had 12 reviews to show for it.

Being new to the writing world I felt defeated when no more reviews came in and no more copies sold. But the truth was, my mistake was not taking the time to research the business because I was so excited to get my book out there. So after my method of word-of-mouth ended, I didn’t have any other marketing tricks to help me continue my progress.

So, I didn’t release another book for three years.

I wasn’t sure that I could afford to self-publish another book like I had the first time. And if I were to try the traditional publishing route, I feared that with the already slim chance of being chosen, I’d never be chosen to be represented. So instead, I took this time to focus on social media.

What I didn’t know was that after working on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for some time, I would eventually meet other Indie Authors on Twitter that would change my perspective on self-publishing completely.

They taught me how to self-publish my books at little to no cost and my mind was blown.

I had never known about:

  • Using Canva.com for just $9 a month to create book covers for e-books and paperbacks as well as for marketing tools.

  • Using Reedsy.com to format my book for free.

  • And that it was easier than I thought to upload my books to platforms like KDP and Draft2Digitial.

What new authors need to realize is that the first book is a stepping stone to success.

To truly have a successful author’s career, you need to:

  • Continually learn about the publishing world

  • Continually learn about their target audience

  • Continually learn about how to improve your writing and process

  • To continually publish books

In doing so, you continue to provide readers with quality content that keeps expanding with the more work you put out.

If you are embarking on the journey to becoming an Indie Author, you will continuously be trying new things that feel impossible to have your work seen.

Things like:

  • Organizing blog tours

  • Reaching out to review bloggers

  • Finding ARC readers

  • Hiring affordable editors

  • Creating your covers

  • Marketing your work

  • Growing your audience on social media

  • Building a brand

But once you have put in the work, it’s worth it.

Even though it took me four years to write my first book, losing three grand to publish it, and another three years afterward to start my path toward a true writing career, I’ve managed to find my path.

I dug in and…

  • Expanded my newsletter to 140 subscribers by creating free content to pull them in.

  • Grew my social media to be: Twitter 29.9k followers, Instagram 599 followers, Facebook 313 followers, Threads 349 followers.

  • Grew my collection of work to 13 plus being part of anthologies

  • Continued to grow my audience despite being a multi-genre author

  • Began to have events and appearances offered to me instead of seeking them out

It’s all possible, but it takes time.