From a self published author to a best selling author…

So here is my story, the story I get asked so many times – how did I do it? How did I go from a self published author to working with a publishing house in London to being a best selling author on Amazon. People often tell me I’m lucky which yes I am, I’m lucky to have a book our there with publishers and feel truly blessed and overwhelmed with everything that has happened in the past year or so…

But everything that has happened to me has all come from a few years of hard work, dedication and motivation.

At 17 years old I became an author, a self published author, I knew nothing about the ‘book world’ and admit to this day still don’t have much of an idea about how the industry works! But as I go along I learn new things and by learning you grow and sometimes you make mistakes along the way but this is all part of life and moulding our way in to the world.

One night back in 2014, I had just finished writing up my first manuscript and sat on my PC wondering what to do next and whether I actually wanted a book published or how I got started. It was all so exciting and a little bit nerve wracking to.

I knew an author who lived just up the road from my home and asked for some much needed advice. He very kindly pointed me in the right direction and of I went on a mission to get my book in a paper back version. Which I did within a month, having my book in front of me as a paperback copy gave me so much motivation, I was so proud at what I had created and it felt right, I knew I wanted to be an author at that exact moment going forward. I’d had a good year of not really knowing what to do with myself after leaving college and for the first time in a long time I felt I’d found my place and was ready to begin carving my career.

Once my first book was out there in the world, I started my next book straight away and began to build up a blog, along side all of this I began to do research a lot of research in to social media, marketing a book, what a literacy agency was and how the book world worked. None of it made sense to me, so I focused on my book rather than the book world as such.
I read a lot of ‘Joanne Penn’s‘ books, blog posts and tips she was an author I could and still can really connect with, her writing is amazing and she is admired all over the word.

It wasn’t long before I started to build up a small blog following and press agency’s where getting in touch, they where interested in the ‘young girl writing about a pony’ as I remember one journalist saying to me, which felt a little odd at the time but looking back they all played a huge roll in where I am today.

If I’ve learnt one thing about books and publishing its very important to ‘Build your platform’ create a website, social media, begin to blog, if people like your writing style they will follow you! (I’ll be doing a post on social media pretty soon) And it’s not just about your following liking your writing style it’s about being passionate about you writing, don’t write about something your not interested in. For example I would never write about ‘Basketball’ I know nothing about it.

After my following began to grow and my second book was just published – self published, I was contacted by a press agency who wanted to run a story on me, Little Alf and my books! I agreed and they interviewed me over the phone, the following week the article was featured in ‘The Times’ paper and then contacted by a literacy agency in London, from there I was signed up which was so exciting.

But things don’t just happen over night, a literacy agency is someone who represents your work, your story, your manuscript and pitches it to the publishers! This is what happened to me and how my memoir was published with Little Alf!

Now when I put it all like this it all sounds pretty simple right? When actually no it’s not easy! But the end result is so rewarding. There is so much to think about when writing a book but here is my top 3 tips on getting started –

  1. Build your platform up – I know I mentioned this earlier but it really is key. If your wanting to go down the literacy agency route/ publishing route as appose to being self published than you need to start building up your blog/ website. You’ll be much more desirable to an agency!
  2. Know the basics & set a budget – This is more for all you self published author who wish to self publish your own book! Do as much research as you can in to the industry, I learn the hard way! I good website I can recommend is ‘LULU Publishing’ they not only offer your book publishing services they have a whole list of tips online.
  3. Believe in yourself – This is one for you. There is good days there is bad days, stick with it. Focus on the end result and your already half way there.

I hope this helps! Over the next few months I will be writing blog posts on life as an author, marketing your book and knowing the basics. If you have any questions just pop me a message or tweet to me @hannahrussell26

To read my full story on being an author and life with Little Alf you can read our full story here – 

Bye for now X