This is the third post in a three-part series “The ABCs of A Successful Author: Attitude, Business Approach, and Confidence.”
As a modern-day author, you need to wear many hats. While writing can be as comfortable as wearing a favorite fedora or bonnet, attending to the publishing, marketing, and business sides of writing may make you feel as awkward or silly as wearing a dunce cap, a beanie, or coonskin. This discomfort—or fear of embarrassment—can eat away at your ability to complete the tasks required. Developing confidence in your being able to complete or manage these newly imposed tasks is important to your success as a writer.
Build confidence by trying
Oftentimes, the author is ill-prepared for the business side of writing. I know I was.
After having my book professionally edited (a requirement in my opinion), I indie published it through Createspace. Converting the manuscript into the necessary format required downloading and following the Createspace guidelines. The conversion process was time-consuming and, at times, frustrating, but manageable.
I think, if you are adept at using a word processor, you can format your book for Createspace or other indie publishers. Give it a whirl. If you are successful, put a feather in your cap—you moved away from your discomfort zone, learned a new skill, and boosted your self-confidence, making it easier to try something new the next time. If it proves too difficult, you are still a winner for having tried, and you gained valuable insights into the reformatting process. Understanding the work involved can help you hire the right person for the job.“Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.” – Napoleon Hill
Don’t to be victimized. Before paying someone to do the reformatting (or any work), learn the terminology, pay your due diligence, and hire someone prudently. Not doing so may be more damaging to your self-confidence than not succeeding in doing it yourself.
For example, an acquaintance paid to have her book formatted for epublishing. She is not only technophobic but reticent by nature. In her dealings with this company, she failed to specify who owned the edited version. Now she needs to pay this company to do additional changes, including spelling or grammar corrections. This may have been simply naiveté or lack of business acumen, but it would never have happened had she felt confident to ask questions and make demands in her negotiations. Though this was not a major setback, it did take her self-esteem down a notch.
Build confidence by learning from your mistakes
Another friend who has indie published several non-fiction books has paid thousands of dollars for web-page designs, book layouts, covers, and ebook formatting, not because he fears technology but because he lacks the confidence to attempt doing these tasks. He declines people’s offer to teach him the use of the various tools because he “can’t do it.” Instead, he pays people. I can understand that, but he routinely hires people who do inferior work, thereby diminishing not only his self-assurance, but also, and possibly more detrimentally, his public image. A little self-confidence, or lack of it, can make a huge difference.“Success does not consist of never making blunders, but in never making the same one a second time. – John Billings
Build confidence one step at a time
Whether indie or traditionally published, today’s writers need to promote their books.
Two years ago, having to create a writer’s platform (the tools used to promote a book) was a daunting task for me. I didn’t know how to go about it, but a Goggle search provided a lot of advice and step-by-step instructions. Over time, I tried several various ways to connect with my readers. With use, I found tools I liked and gained confidence in using them. Now I use Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and blog on a regular basis. Recently, I added Google+ to my arsenal. What was an intimidating chore became an enjoyable part of my daily routine.
Until recently, an accomplished speaker and writer friend was only using traditional ways to promote her book and speaking engagements: press releases, posters, and radio. Wanting to expand to using social media, she started off with one tool, Twitter. When she mastered that, she tackled another. As she gained confidence in her skills, she used the tools more frequently, building her following and getting her message out.“To climb a steep hill, requires a slow pace.” – William Shakespeare
Build confidence by changing your attitude
For many writers in my author’s club, using the social media is frightening, but so are the traditional ways for promotion. They are paralyzed to inaction at the idea of learning new software or, God forbid, public speaking. Their lack of confidence is sabotaging their success.
What I find amazing is that they don’t even try to learn the technology or overcome their fears. It’s as if they are waiting for a deux ex machina, a solution to simply fall into their laps.
I believe that so many writers who give carte blanche to agencies and other questionable providers of services do so because they do not see themselves as capable. They throw their hands in the air and look for someone else to do the work, often for the least expensive price.
I understand looking for a bargain, but making a decision on cost alone is not always the best deal. To have a successful book, why scrimp on the publishing and marketing?
I think the scrimping results when authors don’t believe in the value of their work, not because of the lack of funds. It’s sort of the chicken and egg, isn’t it? If you don’t believe your book is worth it, why spend the money? Conversely, if you value your time, effort, and content, spending money to tell the world about it is worth every penny.
To be a successful author, you have to believe your book is worthy of that success. The difference between a successful author and others depends greatly on attitude.“If you say you can or you can’t you are right either way” ― Henry Ford
I encourage writers to develop technical and business savvy and a confidence in their abilities and see yourself as the success you want to be. It’s all a matter of attitude.
Has you attitude affected your success. Please comment.