How One Self Published Author Earned $20,000 in 3 Months

04 November 2019 • Filed under Book Marketing

earn-money-self-published author


Do you dream of making money as a self-published author? Do you dream of making a 5 or 6 figure income as a self-published author? Would you love to be able to quit your job and write full time? I know that’s a goal for many of you who follow this blog. I’m going to tell you now that your dream is achievable. I see people hitting these figures every other day. Now I want to help these self-published authors to share their wisdom with you.


Today I have author Belladona Cunning talking about how she made 5 figures in only 3 months!


First of all, I want to say congratulations on your success. How does it feel?

Honestly? It’s all surreal to me. For years it’s been nothing, except for having the pleasure of producing stories readers can get lost in. Now, I’ve cut down my expenditures, upped my work ethic, and stuck to a consistent schedule that produces amazing results. When the shock of it goes away, then I may have a straight answer for you. As of now, all I can say is, I’m positively floored.


As a book editor, I was delighted to see you mention the importance of reading books in your genre. How do you feel it helped you?

You have to know your craft before you can write. It’s one of the most important aspects of becoming an author. Of course, you can come into the game and mish-mash things together: throw a bit of angst here, love there, and hopefully craft a book that will sell. However, there is a difference in becoming an author or becoming the author. You want to become an author that readers flock to organically. In order to do that, you must first know your craft. Reading helps with that.


You write to market. For anyone who doesn’t know what this means, can you explain what it is and what it involves? 

Write-to-Market can be a confusing term, however, it is not. You can make anything a Write-to-Market book. In Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary–it doesn’t matter. Those are genres, and Write-to-Market focuses on the subgenres. Yes, as weird as it sounds, a Write-to-Market book is not the genre itself. Let’s take Contemporary for example. That is a main genre. So, what are you going to use as your sub-genre? That is where Write-to-Market comes into play. You need to research to find the trends, read within those trends, and then write. For example, Bully is a huge thing right now (a.k.a enemies to lovers). If you put Bully and Contemporary together, that is what you call a ‘Write-to-Market’ book. Whereas if you were to just write contemporary small town, dark, or something of that nature.


What did your daily writing schedule look like? 

Just depends. I do not go by hours as much as I do word count. Instead, I write until I’m finished with my word count goal, then stop. If you push yourself to fit more words into your day, then before long you will suffer from ‘writer’s block’. Some say it is not a thing, but I can assure you it is. It’s not so much to do with the story, but your mind. You must allow it rest, and if you push yourself, then your brain will fry.

I get up between 5:30 and 7:30 am Monday through Friday. I begin work around 8 am after I get my gets off to school. If I wake up at 5:30, I take that time to do edits on previous chapters or admin work. If I am on a deadline, that is much different. My deadlines consist of 16-18 hours days until the book is complete and ready for upload. Drastic, yes, but I work extremely well under pressure.


How did you stay motivated?

Motivation is, in essence, a trick your mind plays on itself. You may say you have a lack of motivation, but in reality, it’s a lack of fulfillment. So, to stay motivated, do what you love, what lights that fire inside of you. Writing is that for me. It gives me a chance to escape my reality and live in a fantasy world of my creation. This year, I need that more than ever. I’ve suffered two huge loses within the span of May-August, and writing has been my only motivator, because I enjoy the possibilities it gives me.


You’ve published 4 books in order to reach your current level of income. What did your publishing schedule look like?

There has been a lot of trial and error. I published in July, August, skipped September and published 2 in October. I did that because I wanted to see my roll-off rate. However, to answer your question, I publish 1 book a month to be at the level of success I am now.


I was shocked to learn that you only spent $55 dollars on ads. What marketing techniques would you recommend to my readers who don’t have large advertising budgets? How did you sell so many copies with so little advertising?

Organic is best. The more people you reach organically, the better off you are. This means word of mouth. Get others to talk about your book, recommend your book. Do Newsletter swaps with other authors in your genre, where you can gain access to their readers. Honestly, I didn’t even need to spend the $55 on ads. I did it because I was testing. Again.


Can you explain what fall-off is and what that meant for you as a writer? 

Fall off is a term used in calculating how long your book stays trending. You set a certain goal in your mind, and when that book no longer reaches that goal on a daily basis, then you need to pin-point through strategic mapping when it fell off. Your fall-off rate is the rate in between publishing books. Where mine is 4-5, sometimes 6 weeks. Others may find that theirs is 1-2-3 weeks.


What’s next for you? What are your goals and plans for 2020?

My goals are pretty simple. My husband was almost taken away from me in 2018 by a car accident. He has major back issues and the doctors are concerned. If my husband gets one more hit, he can become paralyzed from the waist down. My goal is to put enough away in savings, purchase a house, and make enough viable income to sustain us monthly so he no longer has to work anymore. He’s such a hard worker, and with the scare we got in 2018, I would prefer him to be at home where I can keep a close eye on him.


Thank you so much to Lucy for taking the time to answer these questions. I believe the answers will be invaluable to other authors.


About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author Belladona Cunning enjoys long walks on the beach … Ha, yeah, right! While she does love the beach, she loves smutty, steam worthy romance even more. When she’s not in the writing cave, you can find her running around with her two hellions and Mr. Cunning enjoying everything life has to offer.








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