Sam’s Town, Las Vegas
November 10-12, 2020
What’s this all about? No better intro than the opening remarks from Vegas 2019, from our own Craig Martelle.
I’m Craig Martelle. Michael and I welcome you to 20Books Vegas.
20Booksto50k® started as the premise of an adequate retirement, enough to live comfortably in a low-cost place. A rising tide lifts all boats, an attitude that we are better together. Combine these philosophies and you get the evolution of the group that is 20Booksto50k®.
Michael Anderle and I are driven to give back to the community that has been both supportive and hostile. Yes, hostile, because if it weren’t for that, Michael would have never started the group. There was no need to get in arguments and fire back. We care about looking forward, through the windshield and not the rearview mirror. There’s nothing back there except for the people who said it couldn’t be done.
Here we are today standing in a room of giants. A thousand fellow authors with a massive gathering of industry providers, here solely for you, the indies. Nearly two hundred of you are making full-time money and there are a couple hundred who have yet to publish a book. With all manner of authors in between, but there’s a single thread that ties us all together. Success. It’s a word that we define each in our own way. Our destinations are as different as the paths we take to get there. 20Booksto50k® is the smorgasbord from which you pick and choose to build your way forward.
If you’re here because you want to be successful, raise your hand.
Ethically and reasonably within our own capacity to perform. You don’t have to like all the things you need to do as an indie, but you have to do them. They can be insurmountable obstacles if you don’t know what to do. It’s yet another reason why we’re here. To fill in the gaps in our stepping stones up the mountain of success. It’s a beautiful view during the climb. It’s also great to look back every now and then to see how far you’ve come, see how many people are down the hill, struggling to take their next step. We challenge everyone to reach a hand back and help the next author take just one more step.
Michael and I never set out to change the world, but when it looked like we could, we changed our goals. With every author who does better today than yesterday, we win. We, as in all of us. You’re here because you want to change for the better. Improve your own life. Improve the lives of your families. Change the lives of those sitting around you.
All it takes to change the world is to change one other person’s life for the better. One today, then another one tomorrow. How does it make you feel when you’ve helped out? Don’t give them a fish, teach them to fish. 20Booksto50k®. That’s why we do what we do, but it starts with you. Embrace the attitude that helping others is a way to help yourself. Look for opportunities to learn and opportunities to share. Take care of yourself first, and then reach a hand back.
How far up your mountain of success will you go before that happens? Take a good look at yourself and make sure you’re on solid footing. You’ll find that you may have already come farther than you realize. Maybe it’s time to reach back and give a hand to the next person struggling up the mountain. You’ll find that you don’t have to go very far before you’ve come a long way. And then you keep going, forward, looking through the windshield.
As I head up the mountain, all I see are hands reaching back to pull me forward, just one more step. I also feel the hands of those behind me, pushing and cheering for my success. Reaching back. It’s the least I can do. I take the time to congratulate Michael Anderle on a book that jumps up and stays up, on a story well told. Everyone needs support. Just because you’re in a different place on the climb doesn’t mean that you don’t need a few kind words of support.
20Booksto50k® exists because of Michael Anderle. Cabo san Lucas where $35k/year is all you need to live comfortably. But when he reached that goal, he set a new goal, and another new goal, and all of a sudden, he’s responsible for all of this – 35,000 like-minded souls, earning the title of indie, every single day, every time you tap that button that says “Publish.”
This job isn’t easy, but it is the most rewarding I’ve ever had. I would much rather work for me and be awarded what I myself have earned for me and my family. That is the control you have as an indie. It can be a heavy burden at times, but it’s also an awesome responsibility.
We have people in here who have tried to take their own lives. I am happy that you’re here with us today. There are authors in here who have been homeless. Others who have been incarcerated or spent long stretches in the hospital. There are those who have opened their homes to others, even if those other have four legs or feathers. And there are those who have never experienced any of that. Your life experiences, your research, your imagination have given you the fertile material to write compelling stories. That brings us here today, united in the singular purpose of writing and selling books.
As authors, we can always escape into the unlimited confines of our minds. Even when sales are down, there’s always another story that must be written. And we need to be the ones to write it because no one knows the story like we do. You are critical to a story’s success. It can’t live without you.
And then you put your baby up for sale! We have to do that. We don’t have patrons like the Medici family, so we have to take care of it ourselves. And we do, all by ourselves because we work alone but know that we are not alone.
There are over a thousand of us in Sam’s Town, Las Vegas, working independently to climb the mountain of success, a mountain that is infinite in size with room for all.
We can climb it together. No one has to be left behind, no one who’s willing to work hard at the right things. Presenters, panelists, and your fellow authors are hoping to fill gaps in knowledge so you can pick and choose what is best for you and your journey.
That’s the power of being an indie. We take responsibility. We have the freedom to decide what we want to do, and we get the rewards for our efforts. Besides writing a great story, that means learning a little marketing, writing some ads, bidding on keywords, paying your taxes, and all those cool adult things. No one is going to carry you in this business. But look how many people are sharing, offering a hand to help you help yourself.
You wouldn’t be listening if you weren’t willing to learn. This is a huge step in the journey to a higher level of professionalism. This is your profession. Your investment to come here, your investment in time if you’re watching from home show your commitment to taking this seriously. Don’t half-ass what could be the best career of your life. You wouldn’t be writing if you didn’t love it. Now’s the time to make those words work for you.
I believe that nothing worth having is easily gotten. Your first book probably won’t be your magnum opus. Accept that it takes practice and a continuous improvement mentality to get better. My personal goal is a single book that sells one hundred thousand copies. I have a ways to go because I don’t think I’ve written that book yet. I make a little across a lot of books with newest releases earning good money right away and adding later to the revenue streams. I call it the blue-collar approach to white collar money.
There would be no glitter on that gold if we didn’t help other people. Philanthropy is a part of our souls and judging by the people who are here today, we are not alone. Feel the hope. It’s not sink or swim. Be energized by the positivity. Stand tall and be proud to be a member of this tribe.
Peers not prey. Compatriots not competitors. A rising tide, lifted by thousands of voices, celebrating success, and riding the tide higher and higher. Together.
Werewolves in love, spaceship ass, horse-drawn carriages, fecking clowns, a murder unsolved, talking cats, an endless parade of adventures. Stories and real life. Fiction and non-fiction. More than a job, it’s a calling, a love for the written word. Your stories could provide an escape from the real world, or open the universe for a future engineer, or help a reader learn something new. So much opportunity, and all you have to do is put those words into the hands of the right readers.
What the books look like, to how they read, to finding buyers who will love your work. That’s what 20Books Vegas hopes to accomplish, and we want you to take advantage of the opportunities. There is no place like this and no other group like 20Booksto50k®.
This conference is a place to feel safe and focused on your way ahead. We’ve worked hard to keep 20Books drama free, so much so, that we’re where drama comes to die. It has zero business value, so don’t waste your time. Invest your time instead in the endeavors that will deliver for your business.
We believe that the 20Books conferences are as inclusive as humanly possible. I care that you are trying to write better words with each new sentence, sell one more book today than you did yesterday, manage your author business just a little bit better year over year. Write the best book you can as quickly as you’re capable of. That is your commitment to the opportunity that is self-publishing. That is your commitment to yourself.
A rising tide lifts all boats.
My name is Craig Martelle and this is 20Books Vegas.