The fun thing about being an adult is through our journey of getting older we learn so much. The not so fun thing is paying bills. Though by then it’s often too late because we already made the mistakes. Then the hope is we can bestow our great wisdom on those around us.
I’d like to share my great life wisdom with my kids, but they’re at the age where they pretty much think I’m the stupidest person on the planet.
Ahhh, maybe one day.
But you, my smart authorpreneur, you’re ready NOT to make the same stupid mistakes I’ve made as I was growing my author business.
Because you’re smart!
This could be a list of 100 things I wish I’d known when I started, but who has time for that? I’ll keep it to 10.
1. Don’t rush. This is a personal struggle for me. When I start a project I want to get it done so I can feel accomplished. I’ve worked hard for years to enjoy the journey more, but it’s not easy. Writing a novel isn’t a fast process and if you try to rush you end up making mistakes and creating a product that isn’t your best effort.
2. Find your tribe. Writing is also a solitary job so you must find people who understand the life you’re leading and will support you. I have amazing friends, but not all understand what I need to do and when I need to do it. Other writers get it. They know your fears and struggles and how exciting it is when you get a positive review. Having people to go on this journey with you is paramount to all else.
3. Don’t be so afraid. You’ve all heard that saying, “you can’t please everyone all of the time.” It’s true. You can’t. Negative reviews will happen. It’s ok; it’s part of the process. You need to shift through the negativity, find the pieces that will help you grow and improve (and aren’t just nasty for no reason), and move on.
4. Make writing a priority and write consistently. We all have our own routine, but most authors I know will agree that when you miss a day, it can turn into 2 or 3. Missing one can throw off your routine. I’ve learned that even if I have stuff going on and can’t get my full writing time in (which with kids happens a lot) even taking 5 minutes to write a sentence is helpful to keep me on track.
If your goal is to make a living with your writing, then you have to treat it as your job. And that means you don’t have unlimited sick days and vacation.
5. Balanced my time better between marketing and writing. I still struggle with this, but after 10 years I’m better. Authors who master the ability to do both consistently are amazing in my book. You have to constantly be marketing to keep your books front and center in the reader’s view. But you also have to keep making the donuts, so people have something to buy.
6. It’s hard. I almost didn’t put this one in here because it sounds a lot like whining. But we all deserve a few minutes of whining every once in a while, don’t we?
A lot of things in life are hard all to different degrees. Creating an author career I would put more toward the top. You know with air traffic controller and oncologist.
Recognize your job is hard and create the mindset that you don’t care if it’s hard you’re going to do it anyway. No matter what it takes. That’s the only way you’ll overcome all the many obstacles that will stand in your way. And know it’s ok to have a meltdown and pout because it’s hard. Give yourself that pity party and then get over it. Move on and chase the dream!
7. Don’t get too involved in analytics. I love data. You can learn so much from analyzing what you do and the ROI (return on investment). But you can also get so wrapped up in the data that you let it paralyze you. The ebook industry is still so new. Trends change quickly. What worked yesterday won’t work today or tomorrow. While I am a firm believer in taking the time to work on your author business and examining data is part of that, you also need to go with your gut at times.
8. Market before your book is finished. Marketing can’t start too soon. Time invested in developing your author platform and attracting readers equates sales. Building up a reader list takes a lot of time so even if your book is 2 years from completion start marketing now. Get 1 reader a day to subscribe to your mailing list. In 2 years that would be 730 readers who are ready to buy your book. So what are you waiting for?
9. Perfection is hard to achieve. Yes, you want your book to be as perfect as possible, but if you wait until you think it’s perfect, it may never get published. My personal stance on perfection is it’s not attainable. Because once you reach that predetermined level of perfection, you’re going to raise the bar. That will mean your product won’t be perfect anymore.
Most authors I work with use striving for perfection as an excuse because they’re scared. I can promise you that no matter how perfect you think your book is someone will find an error or not like the book altogether. So at some point, you need to draw your line in the sand and just get your work out there.
10. It’s always worth it in the end. Never in the 10+ years, I’ve been doing this have I ever said, this isn’t worth it. NEVER.
I’ve said this sucks; I don’t want to do this, why is it so hard, I’m never going to make it, but at the end of the day I’ve never said all this hard worth isn’t worth it. No one said following your dream would be easy. If it was it probably wouldn’t be our dream now right?
Creating an author career is hard but satisfying. Holding that book in your hand (viewing it on your screen) is rewarding and worth all the hard work.
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Be on your way to making a living at your writing!