How I Went from Massive Credit Card Debt and No Income to a Half-Million Dollar Publishing Empire

Something you may not know about me is my battle with chronic illness. My entire life, doctors were baffled and diagnosed me with everything from Epstein Barr Syndrome to Vasodepressor Syncope. Back then all I had to do was walk next to someone who was sick and I’d end up with whatever they had by that night. I basically had no immune system.

But I wanted to travel. I wanted to explore, experience, and learn. I wanted to have the life I saw others living.

And some days it was all I could do to barely get myself out of bed. (Have you been there, too?)

I’ve also always known I’m an entrepreneur. And my passion drove me to press on, not only to find out what was causing my sickness, but to learn and grow my fledgling publishing business as well.

I did everything I could…

I bartered graphic design work for coaching. I made friends with influential people who could get me tickets to live events. And even though I wasn’t feeling good, I started to travel.

That’s me below in the blue shirt on the left back in 2009 dining with millionaires at an event I bartered my way into… and I remember crashing in my room after this meal, passing out from sheer exhaustion… I’d been awake for about 5 hours.

Besides the illness, the shirt I’m wearing in that photo was $4 on the clearance rack at Kohl’s. My mom made the skirt and I made the jewelry with beads that were given to me. The shoes were from a discount store.

I was broke, but I was THERE.

Can you relate?

But there’s more to the story…

Before I got to this event, before I even settled on coaching authors from idea to published, I had a fluke meeting with a “stalker!”

An aspiring author BEGGED me to teach him everything I knew about publishing and help him publish his book.

I was resistant because I didn’t want to share the publishing secrets I knew, but I was broke, hungry (literally) and desperate, so I agreed.

Right before I started coaching John (name changed to protect his identity), my health got worse and my bank account rapidly emptied, I knew I had to do something. So I sought help and discovered the source of ALL my diagnoses in my entire life was actually Celiac Disease. Basically, it means I can’t eat gluten.

As my body finally began to heal, I had the energy to throw more of myself into my business. I still bartered for everything from entry to events to computers. I dove more into my passion for books. I already had the knowledge… what I needed was to take ACTION.


Over the next few months I discovered my passion, my love, and my drive. I found my purpose… to train authors how to write, publish and successfully market their books!

And newfound energy started to drive me forward!

With my newfound passion for health and my willingness to do whatever it took to get better and grow my business, I steadily grew it to $90,000/year…

Then with re-investment in my own personal growth with a food coach, a life coach and a business coach, I doubled, tripled, then quadrupled that income in the next 3 years!

The moral of this story?

I began my publishing journey in 2003. And now, 13 years later, I’ve built my business from massive credit card debt to a multi-six-figure publishing empire.

In these over dozen years of experience, I’ve learned exactly what it takes for an aspiring author to go from published to profit. Knowing stuff is great. But ACTION is where the magic happens!

My book sales were trickling, but my ACTION TAKING is what made them pour. My additional products and trainings were innovative, but my ACTION in promoting them is what made them what they are today.

If I had not taken action, I’d still be:

  • SICK. Really, really, really sick.
  • Lacking any energy to write books.
  • Making even more mistakes in my publishing endeavors that would cost me more time, more money and more frustration.
  • A one-book-published author instead of having over 30 books published and a successful business.
  • Not doing what I’m CALLED to do to train authorpreneurs to take over the publishing world and build their own publishing empires!

Ask yourself… What is NOT taking action costing YOU?

You can continue to learn. You can sign up for all The Book Ninja courses and everything every other publishing “guru” creates. You can absorb the knowledge and wisdom of your teachers.

But until you take ACTION, ALL that you invest in is WORTHLESS.

If you never take action, six months, a year, even 5 years from now you’ll still be in the SAME PLACE you are right now. I know, because I’ve watched it happen time and time again. And it hurts.

Now, I know about that voice in your head constantly telling you that you’ll fail. I know the other voice that scares you with your potential success. And I know the frustration you feel when you don’t know what to do next, where to go, or how to get something done.

I know how you feel, because I’VE BEEN THERE! I climbed those ranks. I failed… a LOT! And I picked myself back up to discover a better way.

That’s why I know YOU CAN, TOO.

10479171_10152520661799399_6896522977258971985_nThere are a lot of things from mindset to knowing which steps to avoid and which steps to take that could be holding you back.

All you need is a system, a step-by-step formula from start to finish… and a shortcut to avoid all the mistakes I made.

That’s why I tackled ALL these issues in my recently-released (huge) course, Instant Self-Publishing Ninja. From mindset to step-by-steps to full-on ninja butt-kicking, my goal is to get you to take ACTION on what you learn.

It’s also why I created more than just a course. I also built a COMMUNITY of fellow action-takers who will gently keep you pressing toward your goals.

Here’s the deal…

You can keep struggling on your own to try and figure this whole publishing thing out.

OR you can learn the steps you need to avoid major pitfalls other authors face AND take action on your dreams and actually get. Your. Books. DONE.

There’s honestly way too much packed into this course to put in a blog post, because I packed in as much as I possibly could of my 13+ years’ worth of real-world publishing industry experience into 4 days.

So click on over to the page to check out the 10 info-packed sessions and grab your spot in this training ==>

You can’t even take ONE college course for the investment in this course. (I know, because on top of my ongoing education I also paid over $40,000 for a college degree taught by people who didn’t have real-world experience that I don’t even use!)

Go read more of that story on that page, and see everything I’ve packed into these 10 training sessions.

Also comment below on what’s been holding you back as well as any breakthroughs you’ve gotten in your own publishing career. I’d love to hear them and celebrate with you!

~Kristen Joy, The Book Ninja

Leave a Comment

  • Laurie A Radford
    August 21, 2016

    Your story has been so inspiring.Strangely it appears, as if we have lived parallel lives.ha ha. My first attempts as entrepreneur were at the age of 10, and has continued throughout my life.
    I was forced into early retirement in 2011 due to my health and chronic conditions, from a career in nursing, lasting 30 years.
    Finally I published my first children’s book last fall entitled
    So now I’m working on a shoestring, trying to promote it.
    After attending your webinar a few days ago I have become your #1 fan. Thank you so much for sharing your valuable and informative knowledge in your simple understanding style.

  • Jennifer Kelly
    August 4, 2016

    This was so inspiring. I have these wonderful book ideas, but I’m so afraid to fail I fail to try. And then I’m afraid that if I do finish I’ll have no idea how to do a book cover, or the steps to take after. I’m a fighter with everything else in my life but this area.

  • Morgan
    July 29, 2016

    Awesome! Your story is seriously inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your journey to financial victory, and congratulations on your success!

  • Bea Smith
    July 28, 2016

    Thanks for sharing Kristen and being so transparent. I first started following you last year through a Journal Design class I took. You have always delivered more than expected. For that, I also thank you. I survived and have been recovering from a stroke April 9, 2014. I was in the hospital for about a month, had to move to Illinois from Ohio with my daughter and her family while further recovering and had to revert to receiving Social Security. I had to leave my job and my house, which I subsequently could not afford and ended up losing this year.

    I’m happy to say that I’m about 75% recovered and I’m Alive.
    Up to this point, I’ve been a sponge , but I need to “stop” and “begin” to take action. I finally have “room in my head”. That’s the best way I can describe it.

    Thanks Kristen and blessings to your marriage.

    Bea Smith