We all know it’s tough to get visibility out there in author-land, not to mention how hard you need to work (at first) to get those early reviews and mailing list subscribers. After all, you just busted your butt to get your work out there – and now you’ve got to bust your butt all over again to get noticed?

Yeah… I’ve felt that particular sinking feeling myself many times in the past.

The good news? Trust me, it gets MUCH easier once you know what you’re doing (that’s what I’m here for). Which leads me onto my reason for today’s post…

As you can probably imagine, I get a lot of emails from authors looking for help building their careers. In addition to getting questions about how to boost visibility, get exposure, grow mailing lists, get reviews (and, yes, how to sell more books) – this is a very popular question:

Nick, I’ve seen some marketing and advertising services out there that look pretty good. But I don’t want to spend money if I don’t have to. Is the cost worth it?

And this got me thinking.

Advertising is a huge help. Even the smaller advertisers are priced to help you sell enough to make a profit – they want you to come back, after all. And there are other tangible benefits that investing in your business will bring.

But this is the key point: it’s not about COST. It’s about VALUE.

To help make sense of this, I wanted to outline a few of the investments I make in my business, and in myself, which have helped my career massively.

Here’s a breakdown of my last 12 months (figures in USD):

Email Advertising (sites like Bookbub): $5,740
Book Covers: $892
Editing, proof-reading, copy editing: $657 (1 novel + 2 short how-tos)
Accountants: $3,400
Legal Fees: $543
Education & Courses (I like to learn): $1997
Website Development & Optimization: $2,700
Mailing List Software (Mailchimp): $1,800
Video Hosting: $2,100

Total investment: $19,829

Sounds like a lot, right? But every single one of those investments allows me to either (a) make more money, or (b) save time (which helps me make more money, as well as giving me the freedom to spend time with my family and doing fun stuff – which is kinda the whole point for me).

To put it into perspective, my total ROI on the last twelve months was in the high triple digits. Or, in other words, for every $20 I spent, I made back over $150.

If someone asked whether you’d like to swap a twenty-dollar bill for a hundred and fifty bucks, what would you say?


You’d bite their hand off, right?

If anything, I want to spend MORE on investments that will grow my business. And that’s my goal for 2015 – find more ways to grow my business profitably. And I know I’ll need to pay to play. That’s the nature of any serious business.

But a lot of people balk at the idea of spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on their business and their career – and themselves. Why is this?

It’s because people confuse COST with VALUE.

Any good investment should give you a solid return – either in terms of money, or time (freedom). It should provide you with value. The cost isn’t the important factor here. What’s important is what your investment is going to do to help you reach your professional and personal goals.

  • Spend $100 to make $750? That doesn’t “cost” me $100. That EARNS me $650 profit.
  • Spend $3,400 to get my money and accounts managed? That doesn’t “cost” me $3,400, that earns me a year of never having to worry about my taxes or cashflow. And a good accountant often makes back their fees saving you money too – they have with me.

It’s easy to miss the value and focus on the cost. This is a mistake.

So, my question to you is this:

If you could get your author career to where it needs to be, how much would that be worth to you?

What would it mean to you and to your loved ones to get to do something you love each and every day? Never having to worry about someone else calling the shots? Having steady and sustained sales and income while you sleep?

You might not be able to put a dollar figure on it, and that’s fine. The important thing is that you can actually visualise this happening. Because figuring out what your dream career is worth to you is a major step towards making it happen. I learned this early on and it made a big difference.

So, tell me: What would it mean to you to get your author career where you want it to be?

Drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you and get a discussion going. In the meantime, I’ve been doing a bunch of podcasts in the last few weeks. In a recent episode with author Nick Loper I talk at length about my strategies to help authors build their platform.

Just click below for the podcast:

15,000 subscribers in 6 months – how to build your mailing list

I’ll see you in the comments section below! 


Your First 10k Readers