When you decided to write your first book, I have no doubt you thought the same as myself. You would become an author. A writer of stories! An entertainer of sorts! And that would be your goal. The work that would earn you a living (hopefully) and gain you some small acclaim with the readers.
What you didn’t realize was that today, to become successful in this career, you must take on many other roles. If you learn nothing else from me and my posts, please do understand this. Writing a good book will not get you your dream. Not unless you can find a traditional publisher who believes in you to the extent that he/she is willing to spend a whole lot of time and money publicising your work. And even then there’re no guarantees.
Today, to be a prosperous, victorious author you must also become:
1. Writer – a prolific story-teller who’s really good at the craft.
2. Promoter – as soon as you get the book ready, this is the most important next step you can take. It’s the hardest of all the other occupations you will have to assume. But it is the most vital.
3. Computer geek – who is comfortable around the computer’s many efforts to sabotage your work.
4. Editor – this you can and should hire someone to do for you but if you write badly, it will cost you wayyy too much. Therefore, you must learn to edit yourself first.
5. Formatter – again you can hire someone. At the beginning I did so and it jumped up and bit me in the ass. It’s much better to learn how and keep control of all your work.
6. Cover designer – now here, I truly believe you should hire a professional because their creativeness of color, style, understanding what works goes in a whole other direction than ours with words. I know many of you slap a cover together, and do it well. I guess, for me, it’s like going out in public with my hair kinda fixed, my makeup kinda okay and dressed kinda nice. But I could look a whole lot better – eye-catching, stunning…. Ahhh you know what I mean.
7. Blogger – not every one of you wants to blog and that’s just fine. For me, although it’s time-consuming, it’s helped tremendously with my writing. Because of the blogging, I can write faster, smoother, my mind wraps itself around issues I want to talk about a lot quicker than it used to because of the practise. And… I reach a lot of people/readers with my blogs. Many have become friends who support me. I love them and I love my blog.
8. Website Manager – we were all told that having a website was one of the most important choices we could make when starting out. I believe it’s true. But someone has to manage it. I do my own blog but I have a webmistress. Except… she only does what I ask her to do. It’s still up to me what material shows up there and how it’s placed. Another chore to deal with!
9. Accountant – because this is a business, someone needs to keep track of your income and expenses. Who else but you can know what those are? I’m lucky that in my working life, I was a pay-mistress with a goodly amount of bookkeeping experience. But that doesn’t help the rest of you.
10. Reader – reading is really important to you now. Much more so than when you did it to be entertained. Oh those good old days!!! Now, your reading must include other’s blogs about the business, books on craft, editorials about the future we face, hundreds of e-mils to sort through which ones you must deal with in a day/week and as everyone tells you – a good book by someone in the same genre who is already reached the golden heights of the New York Time’s Best-seller and the USA Today’s land of success.
If I’ve forgotten anything in this list, please leave a comment and I will be happy to add it to my already daunting number!!
We’ll deal with these one at a time so next blog will be on - #1 Prolific Writer