11 STEPS TO BECOMING A SUCCESSFULLY PUBLISHED AUTHOR IN 2021
So you’re a writer or you have a book or books you want to write. To be a successful published author, here are steps that can help you achieve it.
NEVER STOP WRITING
This ought to have been somewhere down the list but definitely not number one. Yet, I have decided to take a different approach that would help you on how to make a success of the writing journey.
After you’ve had your book published, it is typical to have a celebration. But the key to remaining a successful published author is to always remember that the day-to-day job of an author is to “write” at least a thousand words every day. Remembering that there are no authors without books, and there are no books without words. So in becoming a successful published author, remember to never stop writing.
CULTIVATE WRITING HABITS
As a beginner writer, it is of vital importance to begin out with good writing habits. The first is that you have to make a habit of writing at least a thousand words every day. So, you have got to set apart a particular time of the day to write and stick with it. In setting aside time to write, you have to know what time of the day you are more relaxed, energized, and can write unhindered, free from distractions. Once you have figured out a good time, make a routine of it and guard it.
Another habit is to pick a spot for writing; this spot should be from distraction. What if an idea comes to me you say, make jottings of the idea and keep this writing spot for writing only. It gives you the sense of I have an appointment to keep. Think of it this way, artists can have ideas but the real drawing or painting takes place in a spot (their studio). The same is true of musicians.
MANAGE YOUR TIME PROPERLY
After you have set out some time to write, some things would, want to rob you of that time, and sometimes would if you are not able to manage your time. So you have got to know how to manage your time and go on to manage it.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
There is no good writing without proper research so long as the success of your writing depends on the number of readers that get to read it. So, you have got to know what genre of books people are reading and find out what category yours will fall into. Also, you have got to find out what titles are out there. Reading reviews of best sellers as well as non-best sellers to make your findings. That way you are likely to know what part of the bookshelf or bookstores your book is likely going to be sitting on.
BE FULLY INVOLVED IN PLATFORM BUILDING
Platform building is very important. Think of it this way, when investors are looking to invest in a startup or a product, what would they like to know? They would like to know if there is a market for it, and if there isn’t they many times do not invest. The same can is true of publishers and editors. They have got to get their commission, and thus would like to know that if your book is worth it.
So what does having a platform have to do with it? Having a platform gives agents and editors the idea that
a) You are a rising star and
b) That you already have an established audience that will buy your book on its release.
How do you go on then to build a platform (of course you have got to be active on social media)? Find out how and where your audience prefers receiving their information and updates. And get on with using that method. On social media, you have to find out which platform your audience prefers interacting with the on. Having figured these out, work hard at building and engaging them.
Most Important: You should constantly be working on your platform. This you should keep doing throughout the entire process.
FALL IN LOVE WITH EDITING
To become a successful published author, a writer should fall in love with editing. The number one reason being that this is what makes your writing from good great. Another reason is that though it is the job of editors in publishing houses to editing, they have lots of projects they are working on at once. And do not have time to sit down and make tweaks to your manuscript from square one, they also have a limited amount of time they can spend on each work or with each client. These are the reasons why before you start pitching your projects to agents and editors, you need to make sure your book is as close to perfect as it’s likely to get. Doing this gets you in their picture of someone to take seriously.
You should also join a writers group, or forum, etc. is a good idea. They can look into your work and give proper feedback (free of sentiments) on what they think about your book.
BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH AN EDITOR
Relationships are priceless, and editors play a great role in your publishing process. A good editor will make you a better writer. So, what you should do is to look up your prospective editor’s profile (books they have edited in the past). If the editor has a good track record, go on to have conversations with him or her about your expectations. And be on the lookout for a personal connection. A proper connection between an author and editor makes a big difference. Need tips on how to hire an editor? Look here.
CONSIDER TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING
Traditional publishing is a way to publish involves one landing a deal with a traditional publisher. Most books out there read by the larger audience are products of traditional publishing. As such new authors should consider landing a deal with a traditional publisher.
There are many hurdles faced within traditional publishing circles. As a result, most newbie authors have to prove themself in the world of self-publishing. Self-published authors end up publishing their books on their own. And the way they do this is to make their books available for print-on-demand. They do this in formats such as eBooks, audiobooks, printing, and selling them on their own. A writer may have written something traditional publishers consider “less marketable”. So, get the work out there the writer has no choice but to self-publish. The work could even be a short story, prose, etc. at such times the author has no choice but to self-publish.
NETWORKING WITH OTHER WRITERS
Networking with other writers, publishers and agents is important. Conferences provide the best avenue to meet with them. There’s so much that goes on in such meetings and so much that you can learn from these conferences. You get the opportunity of meeting with individuals that before the conference would have been difficult to meet with. From such conferences would be near impossible too.
LEARN THE PROCESS (of pitching your project to literary agents)
The process comes down to what to do next after writing your book, had it edited, and had your platform up and working. What you do next is to pitch your project to literary agents, if you are not taking the self-publishing route. Agents serve as your introduction to publishing houses, as your coaches and advocates.
The Process: You have first got to know how you are going to reach out to them. In reaching out to them, you have to reach out to those interested in book genres like yours. Else you might be reaching out to the wrong persons.
Having figured out the right agents you should visit their websites to find out how best they want writers to reach them. Go ahead to reach them by their prescribed guidelines. There are ways these agents like receiving manuscripts and it is your duty to find out how and respond. For example, some agents like writers to fill out an online form, or send a query letter together with the first few chapters of your book. Others may want to see your whole manuscript; so the requirements go on and vary. Failure to do as they want would get your manuscript hitting a brick wall. You should also consider the agent’s success in pitching projects like yours. This helps you know if that agent will do well with your project.
After you have handed your manuscript to an agent, you would begin to get feedback. Now if the project is awesome, they would immediately jump on it. Otherwise, they might suggest the areas in which your work is lacking and what better things you could do to improve on it. And if you do not get any response at all (try not to take it personally). But in cases where you do not get a response, I would suggest that you reach out to them to sort of find out what is going on. The reason is some might have forgotten to look up your work and this may serve as a reminder for them. But if you get no response from the agent after this, it is likely that something is wrong with your work. You should do your best to find out what.
Once you hit the note with an agent, the agent then proceeds to get your work through to editors and is likely to get one based on their years of experience and contacts of editors they have worked with. After which, you would then be hooked up with publishing houses, which would then give you offers that you would need to review with your agent so as the get the best deal. Once everything has been done you would sign your contract with the publishing company.
You then get to do more writing and some more editing to have the book finally ready for publishing. This process can take up to 18 months or more. Speaking of publishing, check out this ultimate guide to book publishing.
The truth is making money as a writer isn’t easy. The first writing might be top-notch and still not get you the best seller status, or it might. But whatever the case you ought to keep writing and following these steps so that you’d remain a successful published author. I wish you well and the world awaits you and your books.