Success Story #1

Faleena Hopkins post from 20Booksto50K

Okay, success story comin’ atcha. And I’m terrified to share BUT BUT BUT I know this is not Kboards where trolls live to write 1-stars on your books after you share a story in order to inspire other authors and are making a good living. This healthy group has helped me so I want to help you. This photo is from an hour ago, Jan. 5th.

2015 I switched from contemporary romance to paranormal because I love supernatural stuff. Went well for a while, but sales dropped from 8K with C.R. down eventually to less than 1k with P.N.R. in both Jan. & Feb. 2016. Just last year, you understand, making not enough to pay rent, eat, nothing. I was sweating, in fear, in debt, chucking money at promos, and borrowing against credit cards. I grabbed a couple books from my pen name, revamped with my real name and republished from scratch. I’d learned this strategy from a blog on Hugh Howey’s site. Sales went up, back to 3K and then 5K with some promotions. Turns out I need to stay out of Paranormal. Lesson Learned.

But I needed something new because I need to write or my demons get very, very loud. And I write fast. I’m a pantser (god I hate that term but that’s what they call a person who writes by the seat of the pants, doesn’t outline) so I sit down and go. But I needed to know which WAY to head long term so I didn’t flounder, lose momentum and fall into poverty again. NO f*ing thank you! I was determined – DRIVEN – to never go down that rabbit hole again.

I asked myself – what is it people like about my books? They’re steamy, yes, but they’re not just about the sex, that’s 1. They love that they’re like real life, that’s 2. They love the friendships, that’s 3. With the successful wolves story (WW of NY series) they loved the pack, the brotherly family feeling. I’m good at loyalty, writing about people with strong character and values, people you want to see happy. Sometimes they’re so good they fight crime. That’s 4, or maybe 3.5. They like my sense of humor, that’s a big fat 5. And they like my books to be longer, that’s 6.

What do I like? And yes I asked that question last because I don’t just want to write, I want people reading what I write. I want to entertain people. Make them laugh. Brighten up their days a little. It makes me happy.

The main thing I knew is that I like to write different stories, bouncing around sub-genres, almost. Some romance authors write the same story-ish with different names and places. My mother’s favorite author did that, even though she denied it vehemently when I pointed it out. I can’t do that, even if successful. I get bored. I want to write about all types of people with different sets of problems blocking them from finding love, like real life!

I had seen Michael Anderle ‘s post on Kboards where he said don’t stop at three books in a series. And I remembered Bella Forrest and how I’d noticed she certainly did NOT stop at three. Three hundred, maybe that’s where she’ll stop, God bless her inspiring a**

😉 So I knew I wanted more than three books. The Cocker Brothers was born. Six very different men.

I published Book One, Jake Cocker’s book, in June, and then a book a month until now. How’d it go? 10K, 14K, and now for the last two months I’ve been making over 20K each and this will be higher. That’s from around $600.00 in Feb. to over $20K in November.

YOU CAN HAVE SUCCESS IF YOU WANT TO. IT IS POSSIBLE. YOU MUST BELIEVE IT. That’s the first step, then do the work. And there’s a lot of work.

How did I do this? Besides readers liking the books, here’s my marketing, sharing because I want those struggling to keep typing away despite the Resistance:

* My stand-alone romance that is NOT in this series, but is fun, is set to permafree. It’s still being downloaded on Amazon at about 400-900 a day for the past three months. It is not at all related to this series, but it shows my writing, and the backmatter has links to all my Cocker Brothers books. Also for some reason unknown to me, iTunes featured it in Oct. and it was downloading at 3-4K a day there. The backmatter sent readers to my website which I made myself with after a ton of f*ing research, and they followed me to Amazon:

* I have had free promos for all the titles, not just book one. The promos draw readers to the others if they liked the one.

*** ADDED>>> PREORDERS: Forgot to say this valuable tool. I post a preorder for the next book when I launch the book before it. I started this at book three. I sell preorders for $0.99 as a thank you to readers for staying with me, and incentive for new readers to join the ride. Huge benefit for all because it keeps the readers engaged with a series they’re enjoying while you type away, and they’re off reading other books by other authors. It also sets a deadline I MUST meet or I lose my rights to have preorders for a year. Book 6 currently has 2500 preorders on it. When I did the first (book 3) it had about 750.

Even if it had 30 preorders it would be worth it. Those 30 people gave me a chance to entertain them, which is an honor I fight (my demons) to earn.

* I advertise on Amazon (AMS) with what I’ve learned here, using Also-Bought authors and titles as my keywords. I tinker with these daily and am currently spending about $100 a day, which went up when I was able to afford it because the series was doing well. Before Sep. it was about $50 a day.

* I advertise on FB with what I learned from this post on Kboards:,236725.0.html

That post changed my life. Thank you Michael John Grist if you are here. I have three ads, $5 a day, all for book one that cover AU, UK, and CA. Right now I’m not using FB for USA, but I was until FB went bonkers with high CPC in Dec.

* The books are about 55K-65K each, and they’re so very, very me.

I write what makes me laugh, what makes me cry, what makes me interested in writing more…and then as the saying goes: Your vibe attracts your tribe. Some people have lacerated me in reviews but so what? The majority are having a fun time, and readers from the craziest places around the world are emailing things like, “Life has been so hard, and then I got your book. You made my day. Please keep writing! Your friend in Romania.”

So yes, I’m very VERY happy I’m making money and will be debt free by Feb. But what I really love is what we’re doing here. We make up stories that entertain people. We don’t have to ask permission to do it. Thank you Amazon! Thank you iTunes! Thank you B&N! Thank you to all of you 20to50K authors who’ve shared your insight and helped me learn. I love you beyond words.

How cool is it that we never have to ask some big mucky muck, “Will you please publish my story?”

For those of you struggling, keep going. Read all the great insight shared in this healthy and supportive group. Everyone is sharing a wealth of knowledge. Learn from the most successful authors in your genre, study them on Amazon and then make it your own.

Be hungry enough to learn, drop what doesn’t work immediately, and leave egos in the corner where they belong. And write fast. Work hard. I work 10 hours a day most days and a lot of that is on studying, massaging ads, reading posts here, sharing what I know, learning more, repeating it all. And I voice my own audio books because I’m a trained actress and VO actress, have been for many years.

This is how I did it, everyone has their own path. I’m not saying this is the only way. It’s just my way and I hope this helps you. I have a date tonight. Wish me luck!

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