The definition of success varies from author to author. While sales and notoriety may motivate one author, another finds success by just completing a manuscript. The range is vast and personal. As time goes on and your writing evolves, your goals might change. Experience and time will decide your path as a writer. After all, if you don’t have a vision, how will you know when you’ve arrived? So what does it take to be become a successful author in 2020?
In this changing and crowded book industry, it is critical to be noticed and get your book out to your target audience. There are more ‘award-winning authors’ publishing books and more tools available to promote these books than ever before. There are also more vendors and service providers offering ‘expertise’ in publishing, marketing, and public relations.
To become a successful author, you will need to be prolific in your writing with a desire to hone your skills at every opportunity. You will also need to take steps to polish your work with professional editing, critiquing, and beta readers. If you want to attract an agent who will promote your work to traditional publishers, you need to be an accomplished writer who is committed to improving your skills. But it doesn’t stop there. Successful authors wear many hats, one of which needs to be the conductor to their marketing and promotional strategy. Whether you hire someone to help or attempt to do the work yourself, you will need to know what strategies are necessary to sell your book. Seasoned authors know the strategies that work and when to implement them. A word of caution: It’s challenging to write and be effective in marketing your book. There is just too much that goes in to successfully promoting your book, message and self.
Written Word Media compared authors making over $100,000 in a single year with authors who earn less than $500 from book sales. The results might surprise you. This article is worth the read.
Create a plan- It all starts with a vision and a plan. You have to know what you’re in it for, or at least what you would like to achieve along the way. Once you know what you are striving for, create a roadmap to get you there. Take small steps to feel successful along the way and understand that this process is a journey that can take years to achieve.
Set a budget- Be prepared to spend money on creative services, writing workshops, editors, marketing, and promotional strategies. It is almost impossible to be a successful author without spending money. Your time is valuable, so don’t try and do it all yourself, Find the right people and resources to guarantee the success of your projects.
Focus on quality- Well-written and professionally edited books that are correctly formatted and wrapped with a captivating cover is the ticket to a long and prosperous career as an author. If you skimp on any of these aspects, you are reducing the chances of being successful.
Get endorsements- Having online reviews, preferably across multiple resellers, will encourage readers to take a hard look at your book. The same goes for getting editorial reviews from reputable companies. Customers want to know that the book they are looking at was enjoyed and endorsed by other people. Taking it one step further and finding Influential endorsements will open the doors even wider.
Build a robust author platform- Writing and publishing a book is one part of the journey. To become a successful author, you should have a professional-looking, branded website that is rich with content supporting your work. Your website will be a central place that you send visitors to, and from there, they can reach your other platforms. Blogging from your website will give readers a peek at your writing. If you are an avid writer, your URL should ‘www.yourname.com’ or a writing platform name. Stay away from naming the website www.your book title.com.’
The author’s platform also consists of having a social media presence. Although it is not a bad strategy to create accounts for all social platforms, we suggest that you only work a couple. It’s challenging to develop well-thought-out content to post daily while engaging appropriately with followers. Pick the platforms that speak to your target audience. Consider hiring an intern or service provider that understands social media for authors. There are plenty of great examples of author accounts on these platforms.
Create content, and lots of it- Content is king and a necessity for authors to create and promote consistently. Videos, blog articles, media attention, radio or podcast interviews, submitting to magazines, or newspaper articles are ways to get seen and heard.
Network within the industry- As with other jobs, networking within the book industry will give you insight and ideas on navigating your way to success. To become a successful author, you should attend writing conferences and industry-related events that will enhance your craft and knowledge. Having an actual well-organized ground-game consisting of author events, book signings, and book fairs will provide opportunities to advance your visibility.
Be open to any opportunity- There is no shortage of strategies available to authors to promote their books. Most of these cost money; however, you should never say no just for that reason. If done correctly and at the right time, advertising on Amazon, social media platforms, and industry trade periodicals or websites are proven ways to reach your target audience. But it does not have to stop there. You can approach your local bookstore and or email your ‘one-page’ to a list of indie bookstores. You can also post your book on a ‘book rights website’ where you can attract international publishers who will purchase the rights to translate your book into other languages.
Like most things that are worth pursuing in life, becoming a successful author starts with knowing what your goals are and being recently in their pursuit. If you treat your craft with care and respect, you will end up exceeding your expectations. With one eye on writing and the other on marketing, you need to tirelessly work on promoting your book every single day and at every opportunity. This process represents you and the pursuit of your dreams. Don’t let anything or anyone take that away from you.
Rick Lite of Stress Free Book Marketing, stands at the forefront of the ever-changing book industry. He is a seasoned book marketing professional with over 16 years of experience in the industry. Rick’s expertise comes from tirelessly working on new and innovative ways to market his own books and CDs with his company and parent company, Stress Free Kids. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Rick works closely with authors to create custom, robust book marketing programs. His easy-going manner provides “stress-free” support and comfort to authors going through the book marketing process for the first time. Rick is quick to share his knowledge and “insider tips” for a successful marketing campaign that will lead to increased exposure, awareness and most importantly, sales.