Well, I finally did it, I took another leap toward my self-publishing dreams in August by purchasing Sarra Cannon’s course, Publish and Thrive. I’ve been a fan of hers for some time now, enjoying her YouTube videos, being a member of her Heart Breathings Facebook group, and often watching her Friday Coffee Chats on her Sarra Canon channel.
Of course, this decision came with some major hesitation.
As much as I hate admitting this, I’ve already paid a pretty penny for Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing 101 way back in 2020 … a course that I haven’t yet taken. Why? Procrastination, intimidation, and the sheer fact that the notion of self-publishing SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME.
Why in the world did I want to register for yet another course? Wouldn’t it have made better sense to just take Self Publishing 101 since it’s already bought and paid for rather than shelling out another $400.00 for Publish and Thrive? What if it was just another epic waste of money?
So. Much. Hesitation.
But, nothing against Mark Dawson … I adore his podcast, I better connect with Sarra, someone who is wildly successful but doesn’t seem as intimidating to me. And seeing as how I’m an eternal optimist, (despite my hefty amount of self-loathing,) I had a feeling that her course was exactly what I need to finally break through my mental barriers. I even upgraded to the bundle that includes her HB90 Planning System Bootcamp.
When I jump, I jump big.
I will write a full review after completing the course, but for now, I’m going to chat about my experience with each of the five modules because … it’s a lot to take in. Oh my GOSH, it’s a lot! So here we go with …
This seemed like a great place for Sarra to start, because I have a TON of doubts about me possibly being successful as an indie author, plus I have no clue which of my novel manuscripts to start with and what direction to take.
Here are the lesson topics in Module One:
- Your publishing strategy
- Understanding the importance of genre
- Writing your best book
- Editing your book
- Cover art – an essential tool
- Series and book titles
- Your book description
- Author mailing list
- Your author website
- Social media for authors
- Where can you publish
- Q&A replays from August 2021 and February 2022
- and a Live Q&A on August 6th
Since I’m on a mission to earn a 20k minutes Peloton badge, I multi-tasked by doing a couple of 60-minute scenic rides while watching the videos. [Note to Self: wear padded bike shorts next time.] About fifteen minutes into the first lesson about publishing strategies and how important sticking to a specific genre rather than selling books that attract different readers, I came to this sudden realization:
Shit. I should have taken this class YEARS ago.
See, here’s the thing.
For the past eight years, I’ve been writing as a way to heal, jumping from genre to genre … starting, stopping, re-starting, hopping to whatever story is speaking to me at the time. Women’s fiction. Mid-grade. Contemporary young adult. Magical realism chic-lit. Light comedic romance. All different, all standalone with no series potential. Which, yes, was beneficial. These stories fed my creative, artistic soul. They were what I needed at the time, and since there are no official rules to self-publishing, I could ignore Sarra’s this good advice and publish whatever my little heart desires.
But I want to be successful, especially after investing money into courses, editorial services, book covers, ISBN numbers, etc. And in order to do that, I just can’t think like an artist.
I need to think like a businesswoman.
So, yeah. The first module left me feeling incredibly frustrated with myself. I should have completed the Self Publishing 101 course way back in 2020 since it, too, would have taught me this valuable lesson and pointed me down a better path. I could have saved myself a TON of time by creating a publishing strategy for book series rather than bouncing from genre to genre with individual standalones. I would have been feeling a lot more confident about my career potential instead of intimidated.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
After finishing the module, I wandered aimlessly for a couple of days, having no clue how to start or what direction to take. Watching Sarra’s live Q&A on that following Saturday, however, did help because I wasn’t the only one, there were many other writers with the same worries as me.
Then on Monday, seeing as how all the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s were just a continued waste of time, I pulled myself together and got to work utilizing tips presented in Module One for how to narrow down a strategy. I studied other authors. I studied book covers, blurbs, and genre keywords. I compared everything to my manuscripts and grouped which ones could be published under my real name, and which would be published in the future using a pen name. And I thought of ways where I could possibly link my standalone novels with strong friendship themes into a series.
I’m not there yet. My path is still fuzzy and lined with indecision, but for now, I know where I’m going. And because of this, I am SO BEYOND GRATEFUL that I not only registered for this course, but I’m also DOING the work!
Oh, and p.s. once I’ve completed the Publish and Thrive course, I’m totally going to complete Self Publishing 101. Be sure to subscribe for full reviews on each!