You probably haven’t heard of Girl Online, but it was the fastest selling book of 2014. It beat all previous records of any author’s first week sales, but was this really the best book of all time? Probably not.

Frustratingly, many authors today are already well-known figures, published for their face rather than their talent. YouTuber and internet celebrity, Zoe Sugg, released her debut novel Girl Online last year. Admittedly, it sold well. But I’d say that most of the people who bought Zoe’s book did so because they like Zoe, not her writing.

By releasing Girl Online, Zoe gave her fans the impression that writing a book is easy. It’s not. So when Penguin stated: “Sugg did not write Girl Online on her own” readers were devastated.

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First Week Sales:

  • Girl Online – 78,109
  • Fifty Shades Of Grey – 14,814
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 1,000
  • Twilight – 53

To become an author you first need to write an interesting book that people other than your mum and best friend are going to read.

Then, if you make it that far, you have to get your work noticed by one of those huge, scary publishing companies that throw out rejection letters like confetti.

As an aspiring author myself, many wiser adults have advised me that there’s more money in ghost-writing. It’s astonishing that it’s become normal to employ talented writers who will work for the benefit of famous faces. Really, writers should be taking pride in their work – attaching their name to the front cover is the most basic level of doing that.

With that being said, there is a different route to becoming published that is proving highly successful. The words “self publishing” are relatively new but through the likes of Lulu and Amazon, it’s actually more likely to become a published and successful author by just doing it yourself.

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Amazon offers a self-publishing service for eBooks called Kindle Direct Publishing, offering up to 70% royalties and global availability of the text, including language translations.

Alternatively, through Amazon’s CreateSpace you can sell your work through print-on-demand, the fastest and most profitable way to become an independent published author. Print-on-demand means that when someone wants a physical copy of your book Amazon will print and distribute it. Okay, so there’s no marketing resources that a publishing company would provide but with the power of social media these days, that isn’t much of a problem.

Crucially, understand the realities of the job. Not everyone can be J K Rowling. Times are changing and while I wish publishing companies would invest in the excellent writers of the future, they aren’t. So don’t be afraid to publish your work under your own name and receive the credit you deserve.

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