How to become a successful author:
I know it’s a bit concise, but that’s pretty much it.
Ask any best selling author the key to their success. They’ll tell you, “I sold a lot of books.”
Need a little more detail?
No problem. Here it is.
The top-secret 8 step formula for becoming a successful author:
- Write something people want to read.
- Share it with others.
- Some people become fans.
- Sell books to your fans.
- Your fans tell their friends.
- Some of those friends become fans.
- Sell more books to new fans.
- Write something else your fans want to read.
Surprised I didn’t mention bookstores, Amazon, cover designs, pricing formulas or distribution?
- Seeing your book in a bookstore doesn’t equal selling it.
- Listing your book on Amazon doesn’t equal selling it.
- The fact that your book is printed, has a cool looking cover and a price tag on the back doesn’t equal selling it.
- A stack of cartons in your garage filled with your books doesn’t equal selling them.
Selling your book equals selling your book. And selling a lot of books equals becoming a successful author.
Don’t get me wrong, bookstores and Amazon are fine places to buy books … if your book is selling. The fact that your book is printed, has a price and is in stock is also great … if your book is selling.
Here’s another highly prized secret to becoming a successful author:
You can only sell a book if someone else buys it.
And here’s yet another even more highly prized, even more secret secret to success:
Only people buy books.
Bookstores don’t buy books (shocking but true!), Amazon doesn’t buy books, distributors don’t buy books, not even TV talk shows hosts buy books. People buy books.
So how do we get people to buy your book?
Here’s what we know from decades of extremely sophisticated research: People buy books from authors they know, like or trust, or because someone they know, like or trust recommends the book. (I can’t believe I’m giving you all of these industry secrets).
Your message must be communicated to your prospective reader before there’s any real chance of that reader buying your book. You can do it yourself or others can do it for you. It works best, though, if you are doing it yourself and others are doing it for you.
These “others” we call your “fans.” They know, like or trust you and your message and they spread the word of that message to others who know like or trust them.
In the beginning, your fan base may consist of your mom, sister, neighbor, and sixth-grade teacher. But as your message gains traction (follow success rule #1: “Write something people want to read”) and you follow success rule #2 (“Share it with others”), more people will become fans (success rule #3).
Here’s where success rule #4 comes in (very important!): “sell books to your fans.”
Now we come to crucial success rule #5: “Your fans tell their friends.”
But isn’t that out of your hands as an author? How can you possibly control whether or not your fans share your message with their friends?
Another industry secret.
Ready for it? Here it comes: ask them. I know it sounds risky. They may say no, or they may ignore you altogether. How embarrassing!
They may be happy to share. They’re your fans, remember? Drunk with the success of your fans actually wanting to share your message with their friends, you may want to do something radical, like give them a website link with a free sample chapter to share with their friends. Free samples are a pretty radical idea, like little carts in wholesale clubs with aproned seniors passing out free BBQ drumettes to bored bulk consumers.
But it seems to work.
Here’s where the formula gains momentum!
Some of those friends-of-fans become fans themselves (success rule #6)! And you, being the clever author you are, you sell books to those new fans (success rule #7).
After that, just start the formula over again, but this time with more fans. Success rule #8: Write something else your fans want to read.
You know, in the end, it doesn’t seem all that top-secret, does it?
P.S. I know, this success formula isn’t all nutsy and boltsy about how exactly to go about executing on the 8 steps, but you can always fill up on nuts and bolts here: https://www.truepotentialmedia.com/blog/.