Stemming from childhood diary entries, I have always wanted to be a writer. As I got older, writing became more guarded. It’s not as cute and inspiring, and everything is heavily scrutinized. So, I wrote in private and toyed with ideas. I became an elementary school teacher where I could teach children my love for writing and bring stories to life. During this time, I began to tell my stories. I could see their excitement and decided, if I can’t write to appease the grownups, I’ll write for the people who want to hear it, kids.
This is when I wrote my first children’s book, The Prince and the Pupper. I was proud of my diligence to get this done, but then came the tricky part. Publishing. I didn’t care to get my book into the hands of thousands of people. I didn’t want anyone’s approval. I already had my bunch of kids, but I needed a way to turn this story into a physical book.
This is when I started digging online for a way to get my book published and let me tell you, there are many ways. Of course, I wasn’t going to be picked up by a big publisher. That’s basically like telling myself I could be the next American Idol. I did discover that I could publish my book through different printing presses. However, most of these publishing pathways have one thing in common: the price tag. $2,000 to publish a book that probably 20 people will read? Not on a teacher’s salary! After much time feeling like Indiana Jones looking for the mystical book answers, I finally found it. I self-published my book spending a total of.... get ready for it... $0. Not only that, I made a lot of money! Maybe nothing close to retiring and buying myself the Tesla I’ve always wanted, but enough to keep me writing. I published two more books and each book with more ease and profits being made.
After publishing my books, I began to hear from other authors who had spent an immense amount of money and were making very small profits. Although it did take me a while to figure out how to publish a book, this was not my experience at all. Why wasn’t this the case for everyone?
I found that self-publishing a book and making a profit while doing so, was something people either needed to learn how to do or needed someone to do for them. Although there a numerous amount of companies that were already trying to make a profit on this, I found that they were all too expensive for what they were promising. I wasn't the first person to come up with the idea, but I knew I could do it better and could help people.
So, I went for. After basically two full days, I set up my website, created an online course, figured out how to create a paywall so I could charge people for my course, created service packages and created business social media accounts. Two days doesn't sound like much time, but it was two grueling days of work and multiple days of research before that. I also quickly discovered starting a business costs money. You can't just host a website for free. I needed a monthly subscription, plus I had to purchase a domain name, plus other subscriptions to help me run my course.
Once I saw exactly how much I spent and how much money I was going to continue to spend, I started to become a little nervous. What if this isn't something people want? What if I did all this work for nothing? What if I end up losing money instead of making money? My doubts started to take over.
Luckily, after only a day or two I got my first client and I started selling my course! My fears started to drift away but not for long. Every day that I don't make a course sale, or I am not in contact with a potential client, I start to get nervous. What if this was just a little buzz from starting out? Then once I start to work on a project all day, I get nervous all over again because what if I start running out of time to do this and get overwhelmed?
There are rare moments of clarity where I realize, "Wow this is doing pretty well for how short of time I've been doing this!" Or times when I calm myself down and think, "If this ends up not working out, at least I tried!" This experience of starting an online business has made me realize that it's scary to put your neck out and try to pursue an idea. You don't want to seem annoying or unrealistic to your friends and family. But, at the end of the day everyone has something their afraid to pursue or something they're already pursuing, so whatever you venture idea may be, go for it. Who knows, maybe it just might work out.
Article and images by Melody Pendlebury.
Melody Pendlebury is a children’s book author, business owner and elementary school teacher. She lives in Jacksonville Florida with her husband Dylan, and corgi Gatsby. She has written three children
books, The Prince and the Pupper, Short and Stubby Wins the Race, and Robin Hound. Her inspiration for her books not only came from her dog, but from the children she teaches. Her goal is to show her children that anyone can become an author and to always follow their dreams. She has recently started her business
The Publishing Room, to help authors publish their own books.
To view more content by Melody, you can visit her social accounts. Facebook: thepublishingroom