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How I Went From Clueless to Best Seller, Using These 12 Simple Steps

Introduction

When I say ‘clueless’, I mean really, really clueless. In November 2017 I decided to write a book, publish it within twelve months, and achieve Best Seller status. At that time, I had never heard of the word Indie, I didn’t know what Point of View meant, and I thought KDP sounded like a radio station from the nineties. Like I said – clueless!

Less than twelve months later, on October 15th, 2018 to be exact, I released my paperback version of Dying for Justice on Amazon. The ebook was released on December 26th that same year (the important reason why the ebook was released after the paperback version is explained in Chapter Nine).

On the first day of sale, the book reached the Best Seller lists for both paperback and ebook. I know because I stayed awake until three in the morning, refreshing the pages every few minutes until I hit my goal. Then I went to bed. A few days later the book reached Best Seller in four categories and soared to number one in Hot New Releases for Mystery Series. I was over the moon.

I am confident in saying that if you follow the same twelve steps I used, you can attain the same result. I really believe that. The steps are simple, not necessarily easy. There is work involved, but the steps act like a blueprint, a paint by numbers if you will, to get you to where you want to go.

I’m not trying to invent the wheel here, and to go more in-depth on certain steps I will recommend a website, book, or video where you can learn more. Most of these are free. If you are reading this as an ebook, click on the hyperlinks underlined in blue to take you to the page on the Internet. If you are reading the paperback, go to my website. www.pauline-isaksen.com, where you will find all the recommended programs, discounts and books.

I readily admit there must be other wonderful websites, books or videos where you can get just as good information. Most of the ones I recommend however, are the ones I personally used to achieve my goal of becoming a best seller.

If you’re like me, you want to jump to step one and get going with the journey. But stay with me and finish this introduction. I believe it will have enormous bearing on your success and will only take a few more minutes to read. Plus, it’s a very cute story.

In his book, The Parable of the Pipeline, Burke Hedges tells a fictitious story about two cousins living in a small village. They are given the opportunity to be paid for fetching water in buckets from a lake a mile away from the village. They love their jobs and are making more money than they ever dreamed possible. One day, one of the men considers building a pipeline from the lake to the village. While his cousin continues to carry water buckets, this young man begins investing his time and money in building a pipeline. His cousin and the villagers laugh at the young man for wasting his time and money, and for working at weekends while they are relaxing and having fun. But after many months the young man finishes the pipeline and can relax while the money ‘flows’ into his pockets. The moral of the story is you must invest time and money if you want a long-term successful business.

This story was important to me because I started writing a book with a business mindset. Not as a hobby or pastime, but something I would be in for the long run. That’s when I began investigating the business of writing.

The following twelve steps are the result of that investigation. There are most certainly other ways and means to achieve the same result. But these worked for me and I know they can work for you.

If you’re new to the craft of writing and even a tad as clueless as I was, you’ll soon discover that writers have their very own terminology which they sling around at the drop of a hat. It’s no surprise of course, because where you and I work we do the same thing, but it was confusing for me at the beginning. With that in mind, I’ve made a glossary of acronyms and explanations at the back of this book, page 38. If you come across a term that is new or foreign to you, check in the Acronyms and Explanations section to see if it is explained there.

At the end of each of the twelve steps, I give extra TIPS plus a FREE method and an INVESTMENT method of achieving that step. I use the word investment rather than cost because I believe the money used is an investment in you and your future, and not a cost that comes with no return. I will show you that you can achieve your goals with little investment; but just as a farmer would rather plow his fields with a tractor than a horse and plow, some things are worth investing in.

I’ve tried to use the latest up-to-date information with regard to free and investment information, as well as addresses and links to websites, etc. However, I take no responsibility for changes in these details, nor in how well or otherwise they may benefit you. Just know, I’ve tried to do my very best.

I’ve negotiated a discount for you with some of the program-owners that I recommend and have personally used. Some of these will pay me a small commission for doing so, but that is not why I’ve arranged the discounts. It’s so you can find good programs and save money on some of the programs you consider worth investing in – something I would have loved when I first began my journey to authorship.

Tip: If you want to find more information about any of these steps, type the title of the step (e.g. write to market) into Google. By the way, a search for ‘write to market’ delivers 974,000,000 results in 0.46 seconds. What a wonderful age of information we live in!

Step One: Write to Market

Before you write a single word, sit down and consider the outcome.

In his amazing book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey talks about the importance of beginning with the end in mind. He warns that we may work harder and harder to climb the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.

Why do you want to write? It’s a very personal question isn’t it? Like when someone asks, “What’s your dream?” But YOU must answer that question for yourself, so you know where to place your ladder. If you want to become a best seller then don’t write a book about the importance of tiddlywinks (although it’s amazing to me that if you enter the word tiddlywinks into Google, you’ll find over 370,000 pages dedicated to it). But to become a best seller there is just not enough interest in tiddlywinks to achieve your goal. Now, obviously, I’m exaggerating here (and my profound apologies to any of you who are tiddlywink buffs) but you get the point, right?

When I decided I wanted to write a best seller I just asked myself what people were interested in. I thought about popular television shows and came up with three things – crime/police, hospitals and legal. I also knew instinctively that the biggest market would be the U.S.A., and I know how much they love the British. So, I wrote a murder mystery about a lawyer living in London.

That wasn’t very sophisticated was it? And yet, at the time, I didn’t know I was doing something authors will tell you to do, called, ‘write to market’.

I didn’t know I would make more money by writing a series rather than a standalone. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write more books. I had dreams of my first book selling hundreds of thousands of copies and being made into a film. But when I learned the importance of writing a series, I was glad I’d chosen a genre I could continue with.

Tip: Be careful to choose a genre you can write a few books in to begin with, you can always change the genre later if you want to.

Tip: See Chapter Eight for more information about genres and sub-genres.

Free: Discovering what you can write to market won’t cost a cent. One way is as simple as going to www.amazon.com and looking at the best seller lists. What’s selling? What genres and sub-genres are most popular? What interests you and others?

Investment: Your only investment will be one of time. Your book will be easier to write if you find a genre that you are interested in and that you know something about, or that you can research. I’ve always been interested in crime and legal shows, but I didn’t know much about either of them. So, I spent a lot of time watching these types of shows and reading these types of books. I was born in England but left there when I was twenty-six and have lived in Norway pretty much since then. So, although I have a knowledge of England, I had a lot of catching up to do. But here’s the pay-off – you learn so much, and it’s absolutely fascinating. 

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