This post is inspired by this post by Joanna Penn, my on line mentor.
I haven’t been to ITF myself, but I followed along on Twitter as some of the most successful writers are there and it’s a knowledge pot of info and advice.
You can still learn a lot even if you are not there in person.
One of the main things that stood out for me on Joanna’s post was about how to balance ambition and contentment.
And this got me thinking about my own goals and why I’m doing what I’m doing.
I am almost close to releasing my book now. I just have formatting and the last bits and pieces to do. As publication date nears, I felt I would be ecstatic and excited.
Instead, I am filled with terror thinking about how many books I will sell. If I don’t sell any books or become a number one hit sensation, does this mean I am a failure?
Does it even matter if I don’t hit the number one spot on launch day?
Does it matter if this is a huge success because I intend to keep writing forever?
Will a huge success mean I won’t write again?
Balancing ambition and contentment truly is a never-ending task
There is a part of me that does want to hit the number one bestseller charts. But what does this mean? All this will do is flatter my ego.
But what do I really want from my writing business? Why am I writing? Why am I writing this book specifically?
I’ve always wanted to write and publish my book. It’s been a personal life long dream, and I’m passionate about creating a business around the whole process of writing.
Perhaps we don’t always need to know all the answers. Perhaps we just need to focus on doing the best we can today and worry about tomorrow when it comes.
So here are a few things that I picked from Joanna’s post which you should check out here.
Self-doubt never goes away so embrace it
Most successful writers who have published and sold millions of books still suffer from chronic anxiety and self-doubt.
This made me feel relieved knowing that self-doubt is always going to be a part of the process; it comes hand-in-hand with creativity.
The goal is not to rid yourself of self-doubt and fear but to learn how to live with it and how to mitigate against it so that it doesn’t cripple your creativity and output.
What is success to you?
It is even more important to define your own definition of success. Do I want a number one best seller?
Do I really want to be interviewed by Press and TV?
Do I want attention from the outside world?
Do I need validation from anyone outside of me? If so, why?
Or am I very happy and content with living a quiet life where I can do as I please (be an indie-author) and I don’t have to change what and how I write according to what other people expect (traditional publishing)?
Focus on your values
Your values are your guiding compass. If you know what you value, then it is easy to make decisions. I talk about this in my upcoming book Escape The Cubicle.
Freedom for me is the number one value. Freedom for me means earning a good enough living where I work for myself, and I never have to work in an office block again.
Where I choose who to work with and what work I do. Where my work fuels me rather than drains me.
Be a Professional
Every professional, successful writer at the conference treats writing as a job in that they have structure and routines around it.
None of them believes in writer’s block. I loved what Lee Child said:
‘You don’t hear truck drivers saying they have trucker’s block!’
Every writer committed to a daily writing practice, whether that be writing for a certain amount of hours per day or committing to writing a certain number of pages.
I have been slacking lately with keeping a daily writing routine, so I am committing to writing a minimum of 500 words a day every day. The more I exercise the writing muscle, the greater the level of mastery I will attain.
Co-writing is growing
Writers are more eager to work together and collaborate. This isn’t something I have considered before but it’s now on my radar as a potential way to write more.
Audio will continue to grow
With faster internet access and streaming, podcasts and audio have never been easier to consume. I’m a big podcast consumer as I listen on my phone while at the gym or doing errands. It’s an easy way to learn. It’s therefore a no-brainer that it’s a good idea to create an audio book.
Today has never been a better time to be a writer and author
Don’t compare yourself to other writers who made it years ago. The environment and technology options were completely different back then. All you can do is take advantage of what you have today.
There are many authors who are unheard-of yet make an entirely fantastic career and life with writing
This gave me a lot of hope because I value my privacy and love the quiet life.
Even if I became an international bestseller, I would still probably be a hermit!
You don’t have to follow the path everyone else has taken. You don’t have to be on social media relentlessly to sell books. Figure out what works for you.
Why do you write?
Is it the fame, praise or the pure joy of being able to wake up every day and do work you love?
Have more product
Most successful authors needed at least five or six books to break out before they became successful – so keep writing and producing books!
There are no rules – you can write cross genre
Heather Graham writes across different genres and makes a good living (she has over 200 books!).
Lee Child writes in one genre and is equally successful. There are many routes to success. You just need to pick the one that suits you.
Write what you love and keep building an audience slowly year by year.
The Unpredictable Nature of Success
You cannot possibly control or predict your success. All you can do is show up every day and do the work.
Getting sidetracked will cost you your success. Like anything worth pursuing it will take time and effort. There is no such thing as an overnight success, but there is a thing as a 10-year overnight success.
You just never know what will become big
I remember when Joanna Penn finished writing her ninth book Destroyer of Worlds.
She said on her podcast that she immediately set about writing the next book in the series. There was no big launch. She could never have guessed this book would land her a nomination for a prestigious award!
We cannot predict what book will be successful.
How to sell more books?
Get your book basics right. Readers gravitate to books with a great cover, description and authors who have traction in the market (social proof, reviews, etc.)
More books are being purchased online than instore. Embrace this and make sure your books are available and discoverable online.
Readers tend to make impulse buys on books under $2. But I would suggest you also take a look at the price of books in your genre.
The key is to convert readers into true fans
The book is the ultimate product and anything else is secondary.
This point really stood out for me because I think I was slightly obsessed with turning my books into courses and podcasts but right now I will let the book be exactly what it is- a book.
How do you balance ambition and contentment? Please join in the conversation by posting a comment below or like and share.
Related & Recommended Posts