One of my current reads is Bo Sanchez' The Abundance Formula. I'm familiar with the concept since my dad faithfully follows it. Basically, your 100% income would be divided to 10/20/70. 10% is your tithe - something that goes directly back to God, the source of everything you have in this world, and that includes your life. 20% for investment, and 70% for your day-to-day stuff. That's the most simplified way of explaining it, by the way.
Anyway, let's get back to the topic. In one of the chapters, Mr. S teaches his readers how to come up with a "mega catch" sort of like what the apostles received when Jesus helped them fish (John 21). Apply this to our writing careers, and I interpret it as being able to write a book that sells.
To come up with this miraculous catch (read: bestseller or at least a book that you're proud of and at the same time earns you a stupendous amount of moolah), Mr. S outlines three core ingredients (I will not be sharing how he explained these core ingredients as I may end up giving away too much of the book. I suggest you guys buy it instead. It's a great and inspiring read. P.P.S. I am not earning anything from recommending his book.):
If your first book is a flop, so be it. Just keep writing. If writing is your passion, don't give up on it. Even if it means sacrificing a full-time job that already and actually pays, if you feel that you need to take a certain risk in order for your writing to work, so be it. Keep writing.
I think it was last August or September that I quit writing articles and decided to go all-in with self-publishing. It was a terrifying decision to make, but I was thankful that I had my partner's support. He basically footed all the bills while I gave everything I got to writing and marketing a book that would eventually be a part of a multi-author boxed set that would stay at the USA Today's bestselling list for 3 weeks and the New York Times bestselling list for 2 weeks (and even one week on the combined list for print and ebooks!).
I totally had NO idea that would happen though. All I had going for me was my gut instinct that it was now or never. I prayed to God constantly for guidance. And you know what? The rewards were more than I could ever imagine.
According to this report, there had been 3,500 books pubbed EACH DAY in the US. That number does not include the thousands of titles self-pubbed as ebooks without ISBNs. So basically, each day, a reader is faced with thousands of NEW books to read. Why should and would they pick YOURS?
That's when differentiation kicks in. From an author's perspective, I define this core ingredient in two ways.
Thankfully I gradually found myself back to writing romance. The eye-opener and life-defining moment for me was when I started reading reviews and everyone kept saying that my books were a public hazard because it got them to laugh out loud. Also, when I checked the most highlighted passages in The Werewolf Prince and I, I was so stunned when they turned out to be a fairly popular local joke that I translated in English. That's when I knew I was meant to write rom-coms. Once you've found your niche, differentiating your books from other people's works won't be a chore. It will come to you naturally and it won't be something you even have to consciously think of doing. It will be a result of everything that you are as a person and a writer.
- I really, really wanted to write a book with Asian characters. So I wrote DRAWN, which has a Japanese-Russian hero. That spelled HOT to me. Unfortunately, it did not spell hot to most of my readers. It was one of my poorest-selling books. That was a painful setback, but I didn't let it get me down. I rewrote my other book, Park and Violet. Originally, Park (my hero) was 100% Korean. What I did was make Park look like a European hottie BUT adopted by Korean parents. I also decided not to change the setting, which was in Japan. The result: PNV shot up to Amazon's Top 500 in its first month of release. At that time, it was one of my highest-ranking books and I was really, really surprised at how well it did. The lesson: sometimes, you just need the right strategy to make things happen.
- I have NEVER written a steamy book before I started having my books out on Amazon. But my publisher requested it of me and though I felt really conscious about it, I decided to do it even though I felt like I wasn't really good at it since I'm Filipino and you know how conservative we are, etc, etc. But anyway, long story short, it ended up becoming one of the main selling points of my books. This is not to say that I write porn. =/ I hope you don't think that. I know my readers don't think that. Most of the time, my steamy scenes are also LOL moments. For me, this part of a couple's relationship is fascinating because it's when barriers are broken down and a person's real self is allowed to come out. I always see it as an act of love between couples, which is why my girls only have such experiences with the men they're meant to marry and live happily ever after. Anyway, the lesson: don't tell yourself you "can't" do something without trying.
This is also something I constantly talk about because I'm a big believer of it, and I was really happy when I read about it as being a core ingredient of success in Bo Sanchez' book. There will come a point in time when you have to delegate and not to do so will only end up preventing you from your full potential.
Delegation means two things for me, too.
- Outsource what others can do better for you. For me, this means cover design, editing and proofreading, and certain types of marketing.
- Mr. S emphasizes the need to delegate both work and wealth. I believe in this wholeheartedly, too, which is why I pay more than fair rates for the people who help me with my work. I've also no problems referring other clients to them because I'm genuinely happy if they're able to grow in their chosen fields. Also, I get to reap the benefits every time the people around me grow. The more experience they have in their line of work, the better the results of their work would be, which is good news for me, too.
So basically that's it for now. :) Until the next time!