You’ve just published your book. You feel a sense of accomplishment and a relief that the work is over. Friends and family congratulate you and are happy to have you back in their social circles.
Soon you realize that writing a book is not the end-all, but the first step in your career as a writer. Now that the book is out, you need to attend to the publishing, marketing, and business sides of writing. To build an interest in your book and get your name out, you develop a marketing plan that includes radio, TV, and podcast interviews. You write guest posts for influential bloggers. You use social media to connect with readers. You collect email addresses and send informative missives to those on the list. All of this promoting takes time―time you might rather use writing your next book. Somehow, you need to balance the business side of being an author with the creative side.
Body of work
You’ve open the door to your career with the first book. Unless you write a whoppingly successful first book as did EL James with Fifty Shades of Grey, you need to write more books. You don’t need to be as proliferate as Stephen King (54 books) or James Patterson (95 novels), but you do have to build a body of work. With each additional book (as long as it is well-written), you increase the odds of attracting readers and building your reputation as an author.
Make a long-term plan
Most writer’s careers are not launched with a blockbuster, but grown over time. Don’t look for instant success. If writing is your passion more than a way of making a living, it will be easier to put in the time and hard work. To stay in for the long game, make a plan.
- Write consistently. Writing takes commitment. Pledge to write so many words or pages each day. Do a bang-up job with the writing. You can’t build a good reputation with one-star reviews.
- Write what you like. Build your reputation around a genre. Build a series around a character ( à la James Bond) or a theme (Star Wars).
- Use the calendar. Set deadlines, and finish your work on schedule. Break your plan into small chunks. Completing these short-term objectives adds to a sense of moving forward and accomplishment. Don’t forget to include marketing the existing books into the calendar.
- Read good writers―for the love of it, for the learning, to see what others in your genre are doing, to keep current with your topic.
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ~ Stephen King
- Don’t give up. Commit to the long-run. Make your dream come true.
Do you have a long-range plan for your writing career? What do you do different? Please tell us about it in the comments.