5 Steps To Success As An Author
After researching many articles written by publishers and literary
agents I have found 5 steps that seem to be commonly preached as
the critical steps to success as an author.
1. Develop The Book Concept
Understand the Market - it may be the greatest
looking, most perfectly written book on Amazon.com, but if there
is no market, there are no sales. You MUST fully understand the
needs of your future readers.
Identify book opportunities - News has a lifecycle.
It appears in press, the public considers it for a while then if
it considered of value it appears in higher media such as Time,
Newsweek, and Television with comments from analysts, consultants
and other experts. Eventually it appears in book format. Understand
this cycle and learn to identify it, and you will identify book
opportunities. This whole cycle can take 2 years, and considering
that most books take 6-12 months to write you need to spot new cycles
Market Research - Once you identify a potential
good seller - research it thoroughly. Read similar books to identify
what has already been written. During each book, ideas will form
as to how your book will be different and better - Jot these down
at the time, it is amazing how quickly one can forget when you are
on to the next book.
Field Test - Compile a set of statements and questions
on the subject and discuss them with your friends and associates.
Find out their opinions on both the subject and your views on the
subject. Keep an open mind - you learn more from listening to their
voices than your own.
Take a Break - let the idea percolate and evolve
into its own persona. If there is a real inspiration there, it will
become evident on its own. If there is not - your interest is as
about as high as that of the market.
2 Write the First Draft
Write passionately, clearly, and concisely. Write in an appropriate
tone for the audience. The writing style and format has a big impact
on the words, just as body language has on the spoken word. Attend
a writing seminar - especially if you are writing nonfiction. Your
goal is to get your message across as clearly as possible to the
greatest number of people.
3. Commit Whatever it Takes to Get It Finished
Finishing a book takes enormous discipline - especially if you
are writing a complex non-fiction. Getting ideas organized in a
logical flow takes time and many hours of edits. I found that 30
percent of the time was on the first collation of ideas etc and
the rest was on structuring the flow, editing for grammar, then
editing for format.
4. Set Realistic Expectations on Getting Published
The Publishing industry is a personality of its own. Make the choice
as to whether:
- You use an agent to find you a publisher
- Find a publisher yourself
- Self Publish
With a publisher publishing tens of thousands of books a year -
ending up ont the NY Times best seller list or on Oprah is a big
ask. Be positive, but realistic.
Remember - the publishers get your books into the stores, but you
must market your book to the buyers, get interviews and reviews.
Publishers only print and distribute books - they very, very rarely
5. Find a Good Agent
Why try to do everyones job. Find a highly qualified literary agent
who has sold and is currently selling books like yours. There is
generally enough profit for everyone - and if this is your first
book, you can learn and earn a lot more under a trusted guide.
An agent generally gets 15% of royalties earned.
The publishers commission varies - so the better the agent, the
better the deal you are likely to get.
Written by Gail La Grouw: Corporate
consultant, speaker and author of "The Logical Organization:
A Strategic Guide to Driving Corporate Performance Using Business
Intelligence. Find out more about decision
making in The Logical Organization.
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