Change is the only constant in life
Everyone loves to talk about change, but when change happens unexpectedly, it usually means starting over and leaving one of our comfort zones behind us.
It doesn’t matter what the cause is; a relationship, a job or where you live.
When your stability and routine is upset, it can be difficult to know how to start over and find a fresh start.
But when we look back on the changes that have happened in our lives, such as an old job, a previous relationship or where we lived ten years ago, today is better.
It can take time to adapt, but in the end, we generally feel good about the choices and decisions we made.
Change in life is not always easy.
But when it comes to publishing today, making changes is the only way to move ahead.
When you work online, nothing stays the same
If you are an author, blogger, content writer, book cover designer or freelance writer, the way you work is changing virtually every day.
Almost without fail, you have updates to the online tools you use or changes to your promotional and sales platforms every week.
Your new book was selling well for a few months, but suddenly sales have dropped off a cliff.
If you are a blogger, regular core and plugin updates can cause problems. Or worse, you realise that your site security is not as good as you thought it was, because you discover that a hacker has accessed your site.
Perhaps you find out that a Google algorithm update has negatively affected your organic traffic.
There are so many ways that your routines of working online change. These usually mean stepping out of your comfort to either adapt to them or in most cases, fix them.
If your relationship to work is that you are a dedicated creature of habit, then working online is not going to sit well.
When you publish online in any form, you have to enjoy the challenges that come with it and be ready to change your habits and routines regularly.
But these are all changes that you can’t control. All you can do is react to them.
The best changes are the ones that you make happen.
Start with a clean slate
I am sure you have heard the expression, fail again, fail better.
In my case, it describes my years of publishing adventures exceedingly well as I have tried and discovered so many ways to fail. But I have to add that some of my efforts have failed less spectacularly than others.
From time to time though, there has been a rare success.
When I look back now, I know how these few triumphs happened–I decided to break free from my ingrained habits, thinking and ideas and start fresh.
It didn’t work every time I must admit, and sometimes a little success came by accident or perhaps a fluke. But it was only by being proactive and making change happen that I managed to turn also-rans into a few winners.
Do you know the feeling? I don’t quite understand what I did, but it worked.
Making change instead of letting it happen
It’s okay; it just needs more time. I don’t feel like changing anything because it would be too difficult. I want to change, but I don’t know how to do it.
You know all the excuses you can make to avoid the obvious.
Making change involves the need to expand your comfort zone and learn how to do things differently. Often it means acquiring a lot of new skills and techniques.
Sometimes it even means admitting that your long-held assumptions were wrong.
Plan B or C or D are all there waiting for you, but you have to decide to take the plunge.
A few years ago, my blog was doing okay-ish. Three hundred visits per day and I spent hours replying to comments and writing piles of new content.
But no matter how hard I tried, it was stuck at three hundred visits per day on average, and the income from my blog was near zilch.
When I looked at more successful bloggers, they were getting thousands of visits per day. What was I doing wrong?
After a lot of research and reading, I discovered that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. It was really that I wasn’t doing a lot more things that were right.
My bucket list of changes I needed to make included a new domain name, a new and faster server, a cleaner theme and a coding upgrade. My search engine optimization (SEO) was very poor, so I had to consider investing in professional SEO software.
The 300 or so articles I had already published were mostly too short and were not keyword optimized. Each article also lacked a standardized featured image.
It took me two months to make my decision to make all the changes and invest in the tools I needed, on top of the cost of hiring a developer for a lot of coding. It then took six months to learn how to use all the new functionality and tools and to finish the upgrade of the site and all of the content.
Two years on now, my site averages over 3,000 visitors per day and continues to improve.
My site recouped my investment in less than three months and is now a regular income earner for me.
Making change happen, works.
My book isn’t selling
If you have self-published more than three or four books, you will know that not every title is a raging success.
There is always one that lags well behind on sales, or worse, doesn’t sell at all.
In this case, change and a lot of it is the best option to take. I have withdrawn three books from sale over the years because they were flops. It is always tough to admit that a book that you have slaved over for months to write is never going to work.
But it doesn’t mean that you have wasted all your work. It is an opportunity to learn from what went wrong and start over on turning it into a new book and giving it a fresh start.
Start with a complete re-write and much better editing, and then a new title and cover. Write a far better book description and plan a new book launch. Treat the process as a new project and give you book a second chance to attract readers.
Of the three times I have been through this process, it worked twice in attracting sales. There is no guarantee, but two out of three ain’t bad.
Leaving your comfort zone and making change happen is not always easy.
You can let things drift and hope that a slice of good fortune might eventuate. But in all types of pursuits, it rarely works like this.
Accepting changes that are thrust upon us is an ever-present reality. But pushing yourself to force things to change is not. It takes courage to do it, and there is no way to be sure that you will succeed.
However, fortune sometimes favours the brave.
Related reading: 15 Common Self-Publishing Problems And How You Can Avoid Them