In the past I’ve been enthusiastically behind all writers becoming authors – not anymore!
When every word carries weight the foregoing sentence was written with a lot of forethought. I’ve been thinking about the point and purpose of the blog you’re about to read for several weeks. Here goes:
In ‘I believe’ terms, I believe that every person who wants to write. . . should! Writer’s circles, writing contests, letters to the editor, letters home, journal writing, and every single other form of ‘writing’ should go forward and thrive. Writers should write! However, not all writers should become authors.
As a PubCoach, I see countless writers who do not understand the depths to which their books can sink should they make the all-too-easy decision to upload their writing to Amazon.com (insert the name of any upload vendor of ePub content) in the hopes of becoming an author, without first building the necessary support-system for their title(s).
FACT: According to Mark Coker, fifty-per cent (50%) of the titles uploaded to Smashwords.com never sell one copy! Similarily, any books and eBooks with an Amazon ranking of 4,000,000 and higher have not sold more than five copies! No income in those numbers!
Let’s stop for a moment while I provide my distinction between ‘writer’ and ‘author’.
Writer: someone who writes
Author: someone who is published AND derives an income from their writing
Nowadays every manuscript has a fighting chance to become an income-producing vehicle for every smart writer who understands certain truths:
A manuscript that is not wrapped in a sizzling hot book cover will not sell well – and sometimes will not sell at all;
A book without a creative, snappy, attention grabbing ‘Product Description’ will not sell well;
A book that is not constantly and aggressively marketed will not rise in the Amazon.com ranking system
Some of my own books meet the test – and some do not. It’s a given in any race that not every entrant crosses the finish line in First Place. Some of my own books are, or have been in the Kindle Top Ten of their category/genre – and some have not. But they have ALL generated a respectable income.
Here is a checklist that I am going to start requiring each of my prospective clients (who want to become authors) complete. You might want to take note. This checklist has taken me two years of sleepless nights to derive.
CHECKLIST: So You Want to Become an Author
Do you know the profile of the readers who will purchase your book?
Are you a member of the same on-line ‘clubs’ as those readers?
Are you active in those clubs?
Do you truly like the members of those on-line ‘clubs’?
Do you know what a platform is as it pertains to publishing?
Do you have a platform?
Do you have a mechanism for collecting and maintaining the names and eMail addresses of potential readers?
Do you have a ‘hero author’ whose business model you want to emulate?
Do you follow publishing industry news?
Never mind the readers you want to make friends with (because you have so much in common). . . do you have colleagues within the community of authors?
Do you read ‘Publisher’s Weekly’, or ‘Publisher’s Lunch’ or ‘Self-Publishing Review’?
Which Book Marketers do you follow?
Which Publishing Coaches do you follow?
Are your skills with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, iMovie – or their comparable applications – at an ‘advanced’ level?
Do you have at least 90 minutes a day to devote to social networking?
Do you understand ‘The Global Market’ and how to enter it?
Do you know what social networking is – and what it entails?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to the foregoing question which social networking management tools do you use? Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite? SocialOomph? JustUnfollow? TweetReach?
Do you have an email list of two hundred names you are willing to use to send semi-monthly updates of how your books are doing, and why your books should be purchased?
Do you have an Author’s Page – even if it’s ‘only’ on Facebook – or on a stand-alone platform?
Do you Tweet? Do you have a Tweet Reach of at least 50,000?
In the olden days of finding an agent via the query process if a writer, seeking to become an author, didn’t have a platform of five hundred members, then that writer could expect serial agent turndowns. Nowadays if an author cannot muster the Scenario above they are not going to be able to derive an income from their writing.
IDENTITY: Plug your name into Google. See results? See any URLs that point to YOU, as an emerging author? If not, get busy! Write a blog, comment on the blogs of other’s; publish news releases about your upcoming book. I, or Lynnette Phillips, could go on. Don’t know who Lynnette Phillips is? Hmmmm…
THERE IT IS. . . the ‘Nowadays’ RECIPE for SMART COOKIES who want to become an author.
If you can’t go the distance. . .don’t enter the race. . .YET! We’ll be waiting for you at the Finish Line so get started as soon as you can!