I want to be a successful author, how do I do that? We hear that question over and over again and while this is definitely a very difficult task to do, there are three easy steps to accomplishing that goal.
1. Write a Good Book
This is such a ridiculous suggestion it may even be over-looked but the key to this statement is “Good” and not just good in your head but good for your reader. Does it bring about emotion? Does it offer the reader enjoyment, an escape or adventure? Does it leave it open for more? Will it start people talking? I’ve read books that I walked away from asking under my breath how that got published, you don’t want that happening to you. Get it read by others (beta-readers) before you publish. Go to a critique group or writers group. Get some REAL feedback. Write something good, entertaining and educational and make sure it is good!
2. Edit, Edit, Edit
Another ridiculous suggestion, but a misspelled word in a book is like a fly in your soup, unacceptable. If your characters name changes half way through, or a grammatical mistake makes the readers hit the brakes – they may not press that gas pedal again. They may just put that book down and never pick it back up again. They may also tell their friends it’s not worth reading. Read, Edit, Put it aside – and not just for a day, put it away for a month. Then go back and read it with fresh eyes. Edit again. And when you are done editing and you think it’s perfect, hire an editor! Can’t afford a professional editor? Befriend a teacher. A friend is not likely to tell you the cold hard truth and you need to hear it BEFORE your manuscript gets its chance to be read by the public. Edit. Seriously.
3. Market, Market, Market
This is not a suggestion, this is a requirement! If you don’t market your book, no one will EVER know about it. This does not necessarily mean TV advertisements during prime time or a full page ad in the New York Times (however if you have that kind of money to spend more power to you but don’t bank on its success). Nor does it mean that a non-existent marketing budget should hold you back. There are many Free marketing solutions, many options for small budgets and a whole lot of opportunities for grander budgets. But never rely on someone else to market for you – only YOU know how good your book is! Publicists are great, they know WHERE to market but they don’t do it for you, you may for the ads to be created, you pay for them to be placed you pay for the publicist to tell you what to do (when you could have found out on your own). Be SMART with your marketing money but most importantly MARKET.
4. Don’t get fooled by the hype.
I know the title is 3 steps but in this day and age, there are so many scammers out there attempting to take advantage of eager authors, be wary of everything that costs you money. Yes, there are hundreds of free websites that you can take advantage of, add your author info and book details to, should you do them? Why not. Should you upload your book to them? NO! A link to your book on Amazon, Yes! The more websites your book is listed, the better. Small fee services, ask whether the fee will get you REAL exposure with REAL buyers. Larger fees, search for them in Google with the word fraud or scam after their name and find out if others have been conned by them. Same can be said with contests, big fees, how many authors are submitting? What kind of exposure will you get if you win, does everyone win? Be smart, don’t take everyone at face value (they are out there to make a buck and that is not contingent on your success, just your willingness to pay for it). Don’t let yourself get fooled by the promise of sales, NO ONE CAN GUARANTEE SALES, they can get you exposure (in front of people who may or may not be interested buyers) and the question you should ask is, can I do that myself and how?