How many times in your life have you had a dream you wanted to pursue, but for one reason or another you never achieved your goal? You go through life with a constant reminder of what life could’ve been like had you committed yourself to your pursuit years earlier. It could be a TV commercial, a story from a colleague or maybe an article like this one, which reminds you that great things are only accomplished when you move forward and commit. This is the story of Barbara Freethy.
Barbara Freethy is a best-selling author with 18 of her books having become New York Times best-sellers including Summer Secrets, Don’t Say a Word, and On a Night Like This just to name a few. With over 4.5 million units sold, she is also the bestselling Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Author of all time. Beyond her tremendous accolades is an incredible story of hard work, dedication and determination that we could all become inspired by.
Barbara began her writing career while also working full-time and raising two kids, proving that success comes to those who are willing to work hard despite their circumstances. After receiving a publishing deal with Harlequin/Silhouette, she went on to write for Harper Collins, Penguin and Simon and Schuster and later entered the realm of self-publishing in 2011, releasing backlisted titles on Amazon’s Kindle eBook platform.
Within 6 months she was selling thousands of copies of her backlisted books as well as new titles. In order to build upon the momentum, Barbara began building a brand. She fine-tuned the look and feel for her book covers to ensure consistency. She began establishing an email list and a social media following, and she reached out to book stores to carry her books.
In an age in which tools like social media, email lists and e-commerce platforms allow you to connect directly with your audience and sell products direct to consumers, what reason do you have for not pursuing your passion? Is there any reason why your story can’t resemble Barbara’s?
Thanks to the evolution of commerce and connection provided by the Internet, Barbara’s story is becoming more and more common as thousands of individuals are flocking to the Internet to share their expertise’, products and services with the masses. The best part is these people are actually making a living doing it. Bringing stories like Barbara’s to the mainstream is the mission of I Can Be Society.
Icanbesociety.com chronicles the stories of Internet elite’s like Barbara Freethy, who have turned their passion into an enterprise. I had the opportunity to interview Barbara, where she shared her story and encouraging words of inspiration for aspiring authors.
In 2011, you began self-publishing your backlisted titles. Many of them became instant hits hitting Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The New York Times and USA Today‘s best seller’s lists. What do you attribute this success to?
When I first started self-publishing in 2011, I had no idea the exciting adventure and exhausting journey I was about to begin. I had no expectations. The eBook industry was very, very new. Within six months I was selling thousands of my self-published titles and now three short years later, I’ve had 18 of my books appear on the New York Times Bestsellers list, including one in the #1 spot, and I have sold over 4.5 million units across all retailers. I also just found out that I am currently the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Bestselling Author of All Time! So that’s pretty exciting!
To what do I attribute my success? Lots of things. When I started putting out my backlist, I worked really hard to create a Barbara Freethy brand. I made sure that all my covers really fit the tone of my books and were professional in appearance. I tried various covers in the beginning before I settled on a look that fit my particular blend of romance, mystery, and adventure. I knew I had the right look when sales took off. I was also able to release several books within one year, both backlist and new original work, which helped build my momentum. Once a reader found one book they liked, they had another one to buy. I also continue to build a mailing list that is filled with subscribers who are genuinely interested in my work, so that I’m not spamming anyone with emails they don’t want to read. I also contacted the retailers, who have been very supportive in merchandising books by Indie authors. Success is never the result of one thing, at least not in my experience. It’s putting together a lot of great content and then working hard to get that content discovered.”