When I was young, I held a special reverence for writers. Their words were important and being published was a sign of success. That mystique is now gone. With the boom in indie publishing, there is a plethora of new scribblers. It seems that almost everyone I know has published or is writing a book. Why do some succeed while others remain unknown even after publishing several books?
Attitude, the game changer
Today’s writers succeed when they step down from the pedestal of the almighty writer and step up to the challenges of the modern-day author. Thinking of yourself as an author instead of a writer is more than semantics: being an author encompasses all the entrepreneurial activities associated with book making: writing, publishing, and marketing. This is a very different mindset from the past when an author wrote books and someone else published and publicized them. Today’s accomplished authors, whether traditionally or indie published, integrate writing with publishing and marketing.
Purists may complain that these tasks should not be part of a writer’s responsibility. Among these diehards are many starving hopefuls just waiting to be found. I see them all the time. In my writer’s club are people who have been sending their manuscript to agents and publishers for years. With each rejection, they lose self-esteem and confidence.
Just a change in attitude could make a big difference to them. Instead of looking to an agent or publishing house for affirmation that their book is worthy of publication, believing in the value of their book and taking on the responsibilities of an indie author could start them on the road to success. At least, their book would be published, read, and reviewed. Having a history may even further their chances of being picked up by a publisher for their next book, if that remains their desire.
To be successful as an author, break away from the old ways of thinking as a writer and embrace authorprenuersip—a business approach to writing. (See part two of this series for a better understanding.)
Authorpreneurs are analytical, have the courage to ask for help and the confidence in their abilities to learn what they need to succeed. They accept full responsibility for becoming a successful author. They do not necessarily do all the work themselves.
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson
What this change in attitude entails
Are you ready to make the paradigm shift from being a writer to being an authorpreneur? If so, are you prepared to do what is needed to become the successful author you envision being? No matter what your concept of success is, achieving it takes work, lots of it.
First, write a great book. As arduous as the writing process may be, for most authors this is the fun part. Then, get the book published. The third step—marketing–is often seen as the not-so-fun part, but it need not be.
Marketing is time-consuming, but it is not a waste of time.
Initially, I found it daunting to create my author’s platform (the tools used to market my books.) As I became more comfortable with the tools, the marketing became easier. One day, I realized I was not just marketing, but engaging in conversations with followers and potential readers. Tweeting, blogging, and posting became interesting, and the drudgery vanished. Book signings, presentations, and one-on-one conversations are now part of what I do and who I am. Accepting what it means be a modern-day author and immersing myself into that role has made such a difference.
If you cannot make it part of who you are as a writer and if you believe it is better to spend precious hours writing the next book than promoting the current one, hire a publicist. Spend time with this person to ensure that they “get” you and understand your message. If you are not satisfied with the results, hire someone else. Just don’t hand over the responsibility for your success to someone else.
“To reach a port, we must sail—Sail, not tie at anchor—Sail, not drift.” – Franklin Roosevelt
Has your attitude about your role as a writer changed? How has it made a difference for you? Please comment.