Being an independent author has so many benefits. Not only do you have complete control over your book, but you have free rein to build a tribe with your fans. With persistence and hard work, you can achieve your self-publishing goals.
However, life as an independent author isn’t perfect. It can be a grind. The past year presented its own share of challenges, as Covid-19 has made life more challenging for authors and non-authors alike.
At Self-Publishing with Dale, I take pride in offering advice and insights on how authors and would-be authors can self-publish their work. But along with this mission, I wanted to directly help the people putting in the hours during these hard times.
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Enter Thomas Bradley
Thomas Bradley is a lifelong writer. He is the author of many horror books, including The Covenant of Wickersham Hollow and Relic of the Damned.
Thomas traces his writing experience to when he was 14-years-old. At the time, he was using a typewriter and carbon paper to draft his stories. Even though he would need to start a brand-new draft if he made a mistake, that didn’t stop him from improving his craft.
Ultimately, life went on. In 1974, Thomas entered the Army Medical Corps. Upon finishing his service in the Vietnam War, he went to college and became a successful virologist. In 2008, however, challenges emerged. Thomas ended up getting a pacemaker and his employer dissolved its virology department. He was out of a job and the future was uncertain.
At 53-years-old, Thomas made the most out of a stressful situation. He tapped into his creativity and entered a short story contest for Horror in Words magazine. The magazine published the story, signaling the start of Thomas’s career as a full-time independent author.
The Beginning of Thomas’ Challenges
Unfortunately, Thomas’s health problems continued. In 2013, doctors diagnosed him with spinal stenosis in his neck and myotonic muscular dystrophy. The health issues lead to many physical issues and limitations.
Despite those physical limitations, he continued to power through and produce excellent work. In his words:
Success is knowing I have an audience eagerly anticipating my next book.
Yet, Thomas felt his physical challenges weren’t his biggest struggles as an independent author. His biggest struggle was marketing.
Think about it: Thomas has experienced wartime and has dealt with severe medical conditions. He has powered through these challenges, yet promoting and marketing remained his biggest weakness.
As an independent author yourself, you may feel the same way. After all, marketing is tough. It is an acquired skill that takes time to master.
Giving Thomas an Author Overhaul
Hearing Thomas’s story, I wanted to lend a hand. In coordination with Fiverr, I wanted to give Thomas an author overhaul.
As part of this overhaul, I wanted to provide Thomas with some brand-new book covers. The goal was to get his covers not only showroom-ready but to be some of the best covers in fiction writing.
That wasn’t it. I wanted to help Thomas improve his book descriptions and improve his backend keywords, helping him become more discoverable. Lastly, I wanted to work with Thomas to develop a marketing strategy that is both effective and affordable.
It’s safe to say that Thomas was ready to get started.
To be clear, I couldn’t make any promises. There’s no way I could guarantee Thomas would become an overnight sensation. Rather, I wanted to help him course correct, so he headed to more prosperous waters. That way he could focus on what he does best—writing.
I closely worked with Thomas for over four weeks. Among our tasks was submitting orders for over 10 original cover designs to Fiverr freelancers. We also hired consultant Brian Meeks to edit one of Thomas’s book descriptions and then create a template that Thomas could use for future book descriptions. From there, we looked at Thomas’s backend keywords and determined how he could become more discoverable. To wrap things up, we developed a marketing and promotional strategy that would keep his work visible while not draining his bank account.
After finishing our work, I sat down with Thomas to show him the results. To say I was excited is certainly an understatement.
To kick it off, I showed Thomas the redesigned covers for ten of his works. From a few simple mockups, we created stunning covers that better represented Thomas’s stories. To see the full transformations, I encourage you to check out the video below. You’ll see the incredible redesigned covers to books like Relic of the Damned: Carpe Noctem and The Shadow Demon. Thomas even shared how the new covers looked like covers that Stephen King’s publisher would use.
After revealing the covers, we had more in store for Thomas and a surprise that left him speechless. I felt like Thomas’s story wasn’t complete without equipping him with the right essentials to get his business going. I reached out to a few friends who jumped in to help Thomas.
To start, I reached out to ProWritingAid. As you may already know, ProWritingAid is a great tool to help you improve your writing. ProWritingAid gave Thomas lifetime access to their platform ($399 value). That means Thomas could now complete his editing in ProWritingAid for life.
Next, I reached out to the team at Book Brush, a great tool that helps authors create ads and social media images for their books. For instance, if you want 3D cover iterations for your book, you can do so at Book Brush. Thomas received one full year of Book Brush’s gold plan for free ($146 value).
After Book Brush, Thomas received one free month of the Book Award Pro Pro Plan ($189 value). This means Thomas can submit a book into one competition for FREE! Better yet, Book Award Pro does the submission process for Thomas, allowing him to focus on creating more content.
I then reached out to the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). Since ALLi doesn’t give away memberships, I decided to cover one year of Thomas’s membership on the Author Plan ($120 value). Thomas could then access an array of perks, including free uploads to IngramSpark, member discounts, and an entire library devoted to self-publishing information. Through his membership, Thomas could even increase his chances of gaining great publicity or interview opportunities.
Finally, to help Thomas navigate miscellaneous business expenses or even personal needs, I gave him a $100 gift card. He could use that gift card for literally anything he wanted.
Taking Advantage of These Marketing Tools
Working with Thomas has been so rewarding. Since the reveal, his book sales have increased 200%. His novel The Covenant of Wickersham Hollow became an award-nominated book. He is now preparing his next major release. It was an outstanding experience, and I cannot wait to see what Thomas accomplishes next.
Ultimately, I couldn’t have helped Thomas without our sponsor Fiverr. Working with OliviaProDesign, we were able to create some outstanding covers for Thomas’s work. If you would like to check out Fiverr for your own marketing needs, feel free to click on our sponsored link.
Check out Thomas A. Bradley’s books at https://geni.us/YnZ0 (Amazon).
Writing credit: Apascar on Fiverr