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How to Become a Successful Author

So you want to know how to become a successful author… welcome to the world of writing. In the authorship industry, success is more about a personal definition than one that publishers or agents are able to dictate. Your readers will also dictate whether or not you will become successful. By combing their wants with your definitions, you’ll being to unlock your journey to success.

There are some general steps that every author can take to begin reaching their personal definition of success. Those steps are included below.

#1. Write something fantastic.
You won’t become a successful author unless you’ve written something that is interesting and engaging. Just about anyone can write a blog post, short story, poem, or other literary work. It’s up to you to make sure that your writing stands out from the rest of this white noise. Put your heart and soul into every word and you’ll write something fantastic that many people are going to want to read.

#2. Begin marketing before you start thinking about publishing.
Because self-publishing and online publishing is so common today, you’ve got to get a head-start when it comes to your work. That means creating a blog for yourself, starting a website, and identifying reader demographics early-on in the writing process so you can engage people with the subject matter of your writing. If you wait to engage until after you publish, then it becomes difficult to grow your audience.

#3. Think about finding a literary agent.
If your definition of success includes being published in the traditional way, then you’ll likely need to find a literary agent. Non-agented authors can still submit their manuscripts to publishers, but those works tend to wind up in a “slush pile” and may not ever see the light of day. Like most industries, publishing is about the relationships you’re able to build. Begin by building a relationship with an agent and you’ll take one step closer to success.

#4. Edit your book and then edit it again. And then again.
Many authors tend to finish a first draft, then do a complete edit as a second draft. There are two more drafts which must be completed before submitting the work to an agent or publisher for review. Your edits should include a consistency edit (your character has the same color of hair throughout), a line-by-line edit (this removes writing errors), and then a read-out-loud edit (this removes typos). Until this process is completed, your work has a high risk of appearing unprofessional to a reviewer and that naturally limits the amount of success that can be achieved.

#5. Be prepared to invest time.
Writers sell books because of a good story for sure. They also sell books because they make themselves available to the general public. Be prepared to set aside time to have interviews, perform book readings, and host book signing events.

#6. Know what your financial goals happen to be.
Most writers are not going to become rich. If you look up the average income for writers an authors, it comes to about $55,000 per year in the United States. Even in the top 10% of earning authors and writers have salaries that barely top $100,000. If you’re expecting millions of dollars, it may be time to take another look at your financial goals After all, the lowest 10% of authors and writers earn $28,000 or less every year.

#7. Keep writing.
It is possible for a writer to be a one-hit wonder and create something successful right away, but that is more the exception than the rule. Many writers have 3-4 books written before they start finding some level of success. It can take 12-24 months to become established as a copywriter, blogger, or other writing professional. This means it is essential to keep writing if you want to become a successful author. If rejection letters start to come and you give up, that success is going to be elusive.

#8. Be yourself.
Readers today are looking for authors who are authentic. Although the “write what you know” rule doesn’t always need to apply, personal experiences within a subject matter make for a better reading experience. If all you’re doing is “faking it to make it,” then you’re lowering your chances of finding success.

Knowing how to become a successful author means knowing who you are as a person at a core level. Find what you are passionate about. Then write about that passion in your next book. This, along with these 8 methods, can help you find your own brand of writing success.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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