SPS 167: Selling 40,000+ Books In Two Years As An “Unknown” Fiction Author…How I Did It with Barbara Hartzler

Posted on Dec 9, 2022

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Are you ready to take your fiction career to the next level? Are you just thinking about publishing fiction? Either way, this episode is for you. Barbara Hartzler has sold over 40,000 books in two years, and she is here to share her journey with us. She’s the author of The Montrose Paranormal Academy Series and a new series called Shadowstone Academy. These books are young adult Christian paranormal books. Barbara shares her journey of how she made several mistakes in her first five years with her first two books. 

She also shares how she found Self Publishing School and how it benefited her. She shares tips on cover selection, finding the right target audience, and relaunching the right way. She’s now published 11 books and has gone from SPS student to SPS coach. She’s coached over 400 authors and has completed over 1,400 one-on-one coaching calls. She not only has a wildly successful fiction career, but she is in the trenches every day helping other fiction authors get the most out of self-publishing fiction. 

Show Highlights

  • [02:02] Barbara started out on her own, and she had two fiction books published before finding Self Publishing School. She tried everything before finding what works.
  • [03:05] When it was time to publish book three, she was looking for all of the information she could find to do it right. She wanted step-by-step strategies. SPS walked her through everything. 
  • [03:50] She ended up getting new covers, relaunching everything and focusing on her target market. 
  • [04:58] Her relaunch targeted the right market. She did market research and found the academy genre. She also studied books in her market that were selling well.
  • [06:34] Readers like consistency, so they’ll give an unknown author in a genre they love a chance. 
  • [07:54] Barbara breaks down tropes and talks about making them different and special with a unique twist. 
  • [09:30] Having a great cover and getting categories and keywords right will help sell your books. 
  • [10:59] Review strategies include incorporating readers into a launch team and keeping reviews top of mind with contests etc. 
  • [12:45] Look at your genre when creating box sets and bundling books together. A 99 cent price point creates visibility. 
  • [18:54] Cover change tips include making your cover work in your genre with the current life cycle. Trends change over time.
  • [20:25] Barbara has over 40,000 books sold and 7.8 million page reads.
  • [20:59] The number one challenge students face is trying to think of themselves as a publisher and trying to do everything at once.
  • [24:30] Having an editor will only make you and your book better. 
  • [24:56] Successful students and authors have a persistent attitude and keep going even when issues come up. 
  • [26:03] To prepare for your first coaching call, know what your story is about and what your author goals are.
  • [29:02] If starting over again Barbara would have joined SPS sooner. It’s also important to be persistent and keep learning. 
  • [30:06] Author Advantage Live has great information for authors and fiction writers. It’s an amazing, mind-blowing conference. You can also make great connections. 

Links and Resources

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.
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Brittany

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