IN 2013 I PUBLISHED MY FIRST BOOK – a novel – and kicked off my Leopold Blake series. Within 2 years, I was selling enough copies to quit my full-time job and concentrate on my own business – which soon included helping other authors do the same.
In late 2015, I decided to focus on coaching, consulting, and courses – and, later, software development. Close to 100,000 authors have taken my video courses, and I had the pleasure of teaching 5,000+ students in my premium courses. I had – and am still having – an absolute blast, but something wasn’t quite right…
In short, I missed writing. Writing novels; creating compelling stories and seeing readers all around the world enjoy them.
So I knuckled down and started writing a brand-new series, and decided to document every step of the journey – so you can see how all the moving pieces fit together to create a successful (and sustainable) author career. So, throughout this series I’m going to show you exactly how to turn “ideas” into great books, how to launch, market, and scale up – and everything else you need to learn to turn your writing into a life-changing business for you and your family.
ALSO: I’d love to learn more about you and your journey – as you go through the videos, please make sure you leave a comment underneath and tell me: ‘What’s your #1 struggle building an author career?’. Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.
Do you perhaps have the wrong video showing here? It’s about email sequences, not your mission statement.
Good spot! That’ll come later – fixed!
Science fiction – Yes! That’s what I like and that’s what I’m working on. I haven’t read your entire Leopold Blake series, but I did read “Paydown”. I like the way you write and I’m looking forward to following your process on Write From Scratch and reading your new SF series. I prefer reading fast action military SF and “outcast” type SF (loved “Firefly”), but my writing tends to be a bit weighty and serious. I’m trying to find ways to lighten it up without being facetious. I don’t have the expertise to write military SF. Thanks, Nick!
Thanks Sherry! I found you almost always end up writing what’s “right” for you – so as it turns out my new work is very similar in tone and style to the previous ones (try as I might to change it, it just doesn’t feel right).
I really enjoyed the first video. I look forward to the process.
Hi Nick – I’m so excited to see you go through this process. It’s a genius idea to show how you take your book from start to a successful finish. I admire your confidence and willingness to be out front online. I’m watching 😁
Well, Science Fiction is one of my favourite genres to read so you’ve got me hooked straight away.
I’m fascinated with being able to watch this process as it unfolds for you. Thanks so much for sharing it. I know I’m going to learn heaps.
I’m late to the party I guess but I love that you are documenting this, particularly with the knowledge you have behind you. Also because the genre I write in is alined, Epic Fantasy with the second book in my very first series planned for a June release 🙂 Really looking forward to seeing your process play out from the ‘start’ as it were. (So closer to where I am although I don’t have your experience stuffed in my head. lol)
By the way, I liked the ‘tone’ of your video in this one, not sure if you did it on purpose but it had a little bit of that ‘vulnerable writer’ vibe to it as you were explaining how you were feeling and were jumping back into writing and why.
I also look forward to reading this new adventure you are working on!
Thanks for putting this together – definitely a great idea. The #1 thing I struggle with is time to write. Between career and family it’s beyond challenging. I know it comes down to prioritization – and yet there is something beyond that. There is something incredibly difficult to sit down to write, having made the time by getting up at 4am, to realize you only have an hour or 90 minutes before you have to leave your characters and head off somewhere far less interesting…
Yes, it sucks!!! I used to sneak off during work too, find a quiet room and get some done, a couple hundred words at a time 🙂
Have you tried staying up late vs getting up early? Then when you’re finished you still have a good night’s sleep to look forward to!
Oh, I’m really excited for this (and for you, Nick). I’m excited to follow along and eventually read the novels, because that sounds fun. Sci fi/fantasy is right in my wheelhouse.
I write good books dystopian books. When reviewed, they get four and five stars. But I just can’t figure out how to sell what I’m doing. Right now I’m writing a prequel to my first series that I intend to give away. I can’t NOT write.
Coupled with that is that I have practically no money. I am also a good editor, and can sell that skill, but right now I’m between gigs.
So I’ve put next to my desk this message to myself: “I’ll worry about survival LATER! Right now I’m building THIS!”
I really do need to get an editing gig so I can purchase a decent cover and pay my editor.
Hey Patricia! When I first got started, I did “service swaps” with other authors to get editing / proof-reading, which is a great way to save money. And if you look out towards the Philippines and other big gig economies there are some fantastic cover designers that’ll only be about 50% the cost you’ll normally pay. Kboards has some great threads set up to help finding service people – but great mantra, love it!
Hi Nick – Are you really starting from scratch? People know you already as an author and may want to see whether they like your science fiction stuff. Also, by putting out this series of videos on ‘writing from scratch’, you are already creating a base. Doesn’t seem comparable to s.o. starting from zero. But, it useful to unknown authors & I’ll continue to follow ‘n’ watch. Thanks.
Get what you’re saying, Thomas – but people interested in this site aren’t really my target audience for sci-fi fiction, and there won’t be much cross-over from my other series (if any). As we move through the videos I’ll show you where I’m building up an audience for the books (it won’t be from this site) and I’ll let you know how many existing fans follow me over – so you can bear that in mind for your own plans 🙂
So glad you’re doing this in the open. I’m also starting a new sci-fi series where I don’t have a track record. My first book is an olive farming memoir, so it’s obvious to follow it up with a sci-fi thriller, right? 🙂 My current audience is very different than the audience I’m targeting for my sci-fi work, and I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to make the transition. Looking forward to watching. Thanks.
I’m very late to the party, I know. But just wanted to pop by to say thanks so much for doing this, Nick. Sci-Fi is my go-to genre to read, so I’m buzzing with excitement!
I struggle with writing series. I know thats where the money is but I think in single stories and then I want to move on. I have turned a #1 novella into a series but if it isn’t successful in that format I’d rather move on. I dont even like to read series . I have a charcter in my Poppy Farrell Mysteries that people really like and the first book was a breeze. They want a follow up but I am not thrilled with the ideas ive come up with because i have to use the same characters…….
I write Gothic Suspense and Mystery with a spice of Romance. Watching you plan a series will be interesting. Thank you for doing it for us.
Oh Man! You know how excited I am about this. 😀 Been following all the 10k readers stuff and carrying it out, but I’m still only a mailing list of 1200 and $10 sales a month. I’m clearly doing *something* wrong. Be good to follow your process and work out what it is!
Great idea, Nick. I’ll watch with interest since I’m going to be making the leap from historical crime to YA sci fi fantasy because I’m sick of being paid nearly nothing for a lot of work. Probably very little crossover, though there might be some – sf and historical both involve building a strange unfamiliar world for the reader, just one is in the past and known and the other is in the future and you make it up. I’m having a bit of difficulty with the sound but it’s probably my historic laptop.
Hi Nick. This is an exciting thing you are trying, and I am delighted to be able to follow you through the process. I am a sci-fi author, and published my first book in 2016. My books are well received by those who read them, but my reach is not great and I am struggling with the marketing part of things. I am very interested to see how you move from the finished book into getting an audience.
As far as the genre goes, I spent 35 years as a professional geophysicist, so I know a thing or two about science. What I have learned, however, is that readers really want realistic characters who change. In other words, story trumps most other things, as long as you don’t violate your tropes.
It might be presumptuous of me, but if you want to talk sci-fi or think I can offer any insight into your process, please feel free to contact me. (That sounds weird, having me say that to you, but I mean it.)
Looking forward to your next video.
I love the idea of this video series. You always seem to come up with something new and creative that keeps people interested in coming back for more! I’ll definitely be joining in the fun as you unfold this new series.
Great idea Nick! It will be fun to watch the process as you roll through it. Have just written my first fantasy novel and am now planning out the sequels and prequels, so great timing from my point of view. Go to it.
So cool you’re doing this, Nick! And super relevant for me as I’m launching into a new series this summer using a pen name. Thanks for letting us come along for the ride!
My #1 struggle is the people who love my writing don’t leave ratings/reviews, so even books that have been up for several months don’t even garner a dozen sales, which leaves me no funds for marketing.
That and I get so many concepts that I want to start, it’s like it creates static in the “muddy midsection” I’m staggering through.
What is your estimate of how many people have told you that eerily resemble Keir Dullea, especially in his role as David Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey? Well, enough of the chat. Writing is easy. Everything else that I’m learning in Author Cats and Your First 10K Readers are those at which I am failing and flailing. I’m learning a ton. Will I be able to apply it? Remains to be seen.
You would be the first! Though judging by how that movie ended, I might well be him in another timeline…
I agree with Mark on the David Bowman lookalike! Wow, I would have never spotted that.
In response to your video and this project, I believe this is huge, Nick. I think so many will benefit from going along for the behind the scenes ride. Joe N. mentioned it to me and I’m so glad he did! Plus, the public commitment element really keeps one’s feet to the fire for follow through.
Thanks to you and Joe, my public commitment a couple of years ago to run a sprinting group has paid off in spades. It’s blossomed into a community and part of a course I’m teaching on accountability and overcoming writing resistence. That commitment has certainly kept me accountable, and it created a slow burn learning curve with a big fat mindset shift I wasn’t expecting.
Thank you again for being the catalyst for making all that happen. And this project feels verdant and lush with possibilty for new things to learn. I’m grateful for all you give and offer our community, Nick. Amazing.
And SF?? YES!!
Thanks Fran! I always did enjoy your sprint sessions in the Facebook group – so glad they’ve turned into something amazing for you!
Great being able to watch and track your process! I am beginning a series myself, totally different genre, but I wager the formative elements of your process will give me creative ideas.
I guess my biggest challenge is trying to determine who my market is. I write in a genre that is fairly untapped. In fact, I can’t find anyone who writes in it at all.
I write LGBT magical realism. The closest I might find is LGBT urban fantasy or LGBT romance but they really aren’t the same. I’m unsure if I should look into other LGBT romance authors or LGBT urban fantasy or some other genre entirely to research who my market is.
My genre is really more like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Neil Gaiman but featuring strong lead LGBT characters and love stories. The problem is my work isn’t really like any of these other similar genres. How do you know when the genre you are pioneering will have a market or not?
I’ve been gleaning SO much from your 10k Readers course and I’m jumping into this new brand you are launching with great anticipation. I feel like I just need to keep plugging along and I’ll figure this out eventually.
The best thing to do is look at those similar books, take a look at the existing categories that might be a good fit, and try to determine the number of competing titles and what sort of sales ranking the top books have. That will give you an idea of the potential and the competition (eg – how hard it will be to rank). There is a bunch of this research already done for you over at the K-Lytics site, where you can purchase reports that will tell you what you need to know. In 99% of cases, a book will fit *somewhere* – even if it’s a mashup of different genres. One example is “The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet” which is marketed as Sci-Fi and also drama -> gay, action and adventure -> gay & lesbian, fiction -> gay and lesbian. Now, is that primarily a Gay and Lesbian story? No, not really. It’s mostly Sci-Fi, with those LGBT elements a rather small part of the plot. So there is room for manoeuvre there for sure!
ha – loosing connection to your creativity roots is something I “re-feel” exactly: when launching my 1st series and wondered about not selling I stopped writing, learned 2 years nonstop about everything I made wrong (everything other then content) and lost the connection to the creativity “gene” in the process.
Like you I’ll start from scratch again: new genre, no fans, no mailing list, no nothing – and since the 1st “writefromscratch- email” I ever received is #8, I KNOW you’ve rediscovered your creativity genes long ago – this is such an empowering thing to know, it means a lot to me, thank you Nick.
thanks Ariadne 🙂
Looking forward to this. I don’t write scifi (not sure exactly what I’m writing right now – classic 1st time novelist bumbling my way through), but I spent my childhood making friends with McCaffrey, Heinlein, Asimov and the like. I pre-ordered your charity water box set, so I’ll be interested in seeing how all this goes! Thanks for stepping up and giving us this insight.