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Do you want to be a bestselling author? (Probably not…)

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer!

I’ve been at this publishing thing ‘01. For over 15 years, I’ve sung the song, trying to help freelancers earn a living wage. Thing is, the longer I’m in the biz, the more I notice cycles.

The latest?

It’s all about fiction. Facebook ads. Amazon ads. Instafreebie. Building HUGE email lists of not only freebie seekers, but of people who may not realize they’re actually on your list (more on that later).

So many implied promises. So much dream selling. So much moola to be made (by the sellers promising best sellers).

So, watch this space. If you want to be a best selling author, beware. Seriously. Beware.

I’ll explain some of this in today’s feature article. I’ll also expand on this topic next time.

It should be interesting…

Onward and upward!

Beth 🙂

P.S. If you have any author friends pondering getting into some of these programs promising acquiring huge crowds of readers fairly fast, please pass on this information. I rarely send out warnings like this, but wowzers… my heart breaks when I see newbie writers forking over hundreds of dollars based on promises that are somewhat outside the realm of reality. Thanks. 🙂


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Should You Shoot to Become a Bestseller? (Probably Not.)

What’s better. Getting that temporary gold “Amazon Bestseller” banner above your book or creating a nice, yet inelegant workhouse that pays the bills month after month?
It’s a bummer to not have bragging rights to a “best seller.” Or is it?

Here’s the deal:

I hang out on a ton of Facebook author pages. These are breathless zones of excitement, each person frantically pursuing the lure of the bestseller zone.

One fellow is currently spending $200 per day on Amazon ads. He said, “I’m running this at a loss to get my book into Zon’s radar.”

Run at that much of a loss to get into Amazon’s radar? Seriously? His entire reasoning made no sense to the business owner in me.

Another person writes: “I was up all night pounding out words. I wrote over 20k yesterday!” (Note: these messages tend to contain copious exclamation points.)

My mouth dropped. I know fast writers. None have pounded out that much quality prose in a 24 hour period. While I don’t know that writer, I’d venture to guess those final pages were likely a mite rough…

Another romance writer I know bursts into tears when talking about her craft. “I can’t keep up with demand. I have to pour out an entire novel each month or my readers get cranky.”

Huh. At that point, I was incredibly thankful for my readers, many of whom waited patiently (and were quite supportive) during my cancer drama.

These are just a few of the nightmare scenarios I’ve encountered during my recent foray into fiction (which I still enjoy, btw).

To make matters worse, I’ve witnessed dozens of authors make a run towards bestsellerhood only to watch their sales plummet back to nearly zero after their big push is complete. To their chagrin, the readers didn’t stick.


Here’s my reality:

I have a few workhouse books. They aren’t Amazon bestsellers. They never will be. They just keep chugging away, creating a fairly predictable stream of income that keeps Filbert Publishing in the black. They were my salvation during my recent cancer diagnosis.

If you produce a few of these decidedly not glamorous workhorses, you’ve got a predictable life. You don’t have to obsess about KDP numbers. You don’t have to cut checks to companies that send tinier checks to you.

Which raises the question: What kinds of books are good workhorses? What about price points? So many questions.

We’ll talk about some of that next time.

‘Til then, keep writing. Remember why you write. Most importantly? Enjoy life.


You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.”



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