It’s such an exciting time to be an author!
Being a savvy author is about understanding the opportunities available to you as a writer and how to turn your writing into an entrepreneurial business.
Writing a book is something a lot of people add to their ‘list of things to do’ but not many people accomplish it.
Human beings, by our very nature are storytellers. Stories are the primary way we connect with one another and learn.
This is why fairy tales have stood the test of time; they are entertaining stories with a moral backbone. The same applies to fables and legends.
Self publishing has opened up the arena for pretty much anyone with a desire to write, the courage to press ‘publish’ and of course, a wi-fi connection.
So if you are thinking of writing a book, it means you SHOULD be writing that book!
Do not be put off by the enormity of the task (writing a book is a labour of love and it is hard) but don’t let yourself become overwhelmed with the how, what and where questions that will inevitably arise.
The mistake I made when I decided to write was that I spent way too much time trying to find out everything about self-publishing and not enough time doing the actual writing.
So this blog was born out of those issues I was facing and a place where I could document my learnings and share my journey with other author entrepreneurs.
Be a ‘Leading Learner’
I see myself as a ‘leading learner’, by which I mean I share what I have learnt with people a few steps behind me, whilst I continue to learn from those authors a few steps (and in some cases a few miles) ahead of me.
No matter where you are on your author journey, trust me when I say, you will still know more than someone else. And that already makes you a leading learner.
In this two-part post I want to share with you a few things I have learnt on my author journey so far:
#1. Writing Books are not a Get Rich Quick Scheme.
If the only reason you are writing books is to make millions of dollars online then you are in the wrong business. There are far more easier, quicker and less painful ways to make money online rather than writing books.
Writing is hard! You pour your soul onto the pages only for others to potentially give you one star ratings.
You must first and foremost write because you love to write.
And for those who are committed to the process and are in this for the long haul, then making a very good living is more than achievable. Writing is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’ So called ‘overnight successes’ took more than one night to reach success:
- E L James (50 Shades of Grey) was writing Twilight fan fiction on Wattpad before her work was picked up by a publisher.
- Amanda Hocking, the first Kindle millionaire was writing stories for over 10 years before she made a million dollars on Amazon.
- Hugh Howey had written several other books before his book, Wool, took the charts by storm.
Call To Action: Write because you love to write. Write for the love of writing first. You must enjoy the process and not just the outcome.
#2. Your book is a Platform for You and Your Work
People will associate you with your books. When you think of Stephen King, you think horror books. When you think of Roald Dahl, you think children’s books.
Building your author brand starts way before you actually start to write it.
It starts from the moment you think about writing a book. What type of book do you feel compelled to write? What topic(s) does it relate to? Fiction or non-fiction? Romance or thriller?
I am a huge fan of self- help / self- enlightenment books. Hence why the book I am currently working on is a non fiction book on how to find your passion and purpose in life.
I am also a fan of drinking tea and have a love for quaint odd coffee shops. So I have an idea of a fiction series based in a cute coffee shop where I can indulge my fantasies of drinking tea and eating cake all day (without putting on any calories a win-win situation, no?).
Call To Action: Take a sheet of paper and for 30 minutes brainstorm all potential ideas for your book. Then take a look to see if there are any themes or categories that keep coming up. Notice if what you write down is in line with what you typically talk about the most?
#3. Embrace Marketing
This may be a skill which many authors (myself included) are not so comfortable with. We writers really should be writing first and foremost.
However if we want to make a living from our words then we need to sell those books! To help you do this, think of what marketing actually is.
It is not force-feeding your book to people who do not want it.
Rather it is sharing your books with the people who would also be interested in the same topics.
My upcoming book is about my journey of escaping from the corporate world to do work that is meaningful to me. Therefore my book can help others who also want to escape a similar situation.
But those who are happy climbing the corporate ladder would probably not find my book relevant to them. They probably would not understand why I would leave a six figure income to pursue my passion in writing (but I’m happier than I have ever been, may I just add!).
Call to Action: Marketing is about sharing what you love with people who also have the same interest. Take a moment to think about what type of person would read your book. Business books would typically be read by students or those in business whereas romance books are typically read by women (or so the general consensus says!).
#4. Your Voice in the Niche Market
A book can probably be written is less than five pages. So why do we not have five-page summary books?
It’s because readers not only read the book for the content or knowledge, but for your voice.
Your voice is your personal viewpoint on a topic.
I have read many books on how to meditate but the books written by Deepak Chopra are still different from the books written by the Dalai Lamai. Why?
Because they each bring their own personal take on the topic. If you were to read my books on corporate escape you would definitely hear my distinct voice as I talk about how badly run offices usually are and how nightmare bosses are probably the bane of human existence.
But if you read ‘Escape the City’ they focus more on how to leave corporate life whilst still using your corporate skills but in a different settings.
For example, rather than being an accountant in the city, why not work as a part-time accountant on a tropical island for a wildlife conservatory charity?
In a crowded market place find a niche and then own it by adding your unique perspective on it. We may all write in the same genres but no one else can write in your unique voice.
Call to Action: We all have a unique voice. Think of two friends and think about their voice. What is their general viewpoint on a particular topic? This is their voice.
#5. Ok, So how do I find MY Voice?
Great question, since I have also been struggling with this for a while. And the only solution I have come to is this: you need to first write. Then write some more. Then after that, you write even more.
Then take a look back at your writing where you will see a pattern emerge. You will see the style in which you write (is it robotic or conversationalist?). Do you make jokes or are you quite serious?
Call to Action: in most cases it’s not about finding your voice but discovering your voice because we already have a voice. You just need to own it.
Take a look at your previous five blog posts you have written (or a few chapters from your book). What style do you detect? How do you come across?
This may take a while to figure out so do not fret. Some writers say it takes you at least 4-5 books to figure out what your voice and brand is. It’s an evolving process.
What do you struggle with as an author entrepreneur? Please join in the discussion below.