Author Archive

Today, guest blogger Karen Rowe—author, editor and ghostwriter—shares 4 key differences between the top 1% of authors and those who struggle to complete their books or make a living at writing.


According to the book The Millionaire Next Door approximately 3 percent of households in the United States have a net worth in excess of $1,000,000. And that net worth is accompanied by a minimum annual income just over $135,000 per year, with an average income of $260,000. Their income alone would place them in the top 3 percent of all American households.

Similarly, authors like J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz and Stephen King represent less than 1% of the author population, and have book sales in excess of $300 Million.

So what’s the difference between top authors and those who struggle to make a living at it…or even to get their book completed?

DIFFERENCE #1: They set clear, definable goals

The big difference is that the 3 percent group prepared written goals with specific plans for reaching those goals. Not very many people are willing to do that.  

The best way to become a successful author is to start by creating some goals for your book. Ideally you want to create a list, five or ten goals at the very least, that you wish to achieve by publishing your book.

You also want to create goals surrounding your marketing: How many bloggers do you want to reach? How many events do you want to do? Who are you going to connect with to help you promote your book, etc.

A gentle reminder: Setting a goal for the number of books you want to sell should be at the bottom of your list, right before ‘Get Rich and Famous.’ See my earlier article, ‘7 Biggest Lies Writers Tell Themselves About Their Books’ for more on this.)

You won’t get sales without exposure.  The standard in marketing is that people need seven impressions of your book, message, or product before they will consider buying. Your goals should be aligned with that focus: getting as many impressions or pieces of exposure as you can. It’s not a matter of ‘What one thing will I do to get 100 people to buy my book’, but ‘What 100 things can I do to get one person to buy my book?’ Get enough exposure and book sales will follow.

DIFFERENCE #2: They stay focused

Focus is what separates the successful author from the one who flounders and does not complete or ever publish a book.

Authors are creative and as such, we have no shortage of ideas, we love to start new projects … Squirrel! … jot down ideas on scraps of paper … and then what? Move on to another bright, shiny object. I have dozens – if not hundreds—of half-started blog posts or book ideas which I’m only just now starting to do something with. But many authors suck at systems, schedules, time management, discipline, and most of us are lousy at self-promotion.  So we get distracted, and have a hard time with follow-through and completion. If you have to work with someone to stay focused it could be the best money you spend, ever.

Which brings me to the following point…

DIFFERENCE #3: They know what they’re good at, and what they’re not 

Successful authors build a strong team to help them with what’s not working.

This has been a tough one for me. I am a starter, a big picture thinker. What I’m NOT is a detail-oriented person or a “finisher.” This is not good or bad; it’s simply what is so. This means I’m a really great at conceptualizing. I can carry the vision for my clients’ books, help them get clear about what they want and create a plan. I’m also a strong substantive, or content, editor – the part where I get to sink my teeth into the ideas, the flow, the overall message and tone for the book and offer critical feedback.

Time and experience have taught me that I need a team of people around me who are detail-oriented finishers for the rest. You know these people: they are the organizers, it comes naturally to them, and they love it. These are my proofreaders and copyeditors, my executive assistants and my director of operations.  I surrounded myself with these people because I know the success of my project creative projects depends upon having them on my team.

You need people around you who are good at what they do and who know what they’re doing because they have value and expertise that you don’t. Respect their work and respect their time. Work to their strengths—and to yours.

DIFFERENCE #4: They welcome and encourage feedback

Authors who are willing to listen and learn and get valuable input to make their work better are often more successful than authors who refuse to listen to the advice of professionals who have been in the industry forever.

Authors can frequently become emotionally attached to their work, their cover art or an idea that may be standing in the way of their own success. Surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. They might tell you something you don’t want to hear, but this will help you more than any ego-stroking in the world. The market will tell you in no uncertain terms whether or not your work is good. You might as well hear it while there is still time to improve it.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Can these tips guarantee you’ll be the next Stephen King?

Of course not! But applying these tips will get you further ahead. Set goals, stay focused, work to your strengths, work with people who can do what you’re NOT good at and ditch the ego trip so you can get good, solid feedback about your work. These are BASIC principles of working within the book business.

And remember—writing and publishing books IS a business. Creating and using a solid business model for your writing profession will put you light years ahead of 99% of the authors of the estimated 300,000 books published every year. But that’s a subject for another article.

I hope you found these tips to be useful. I welcome your feedback below.

Note from Lynn Serafinn: Karen Rowe and I will be co-presenting a webinar called ‘9 Months to Birth Your Book’ on Thursday August 8th 2013. Be sure to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog to hear more about it in the coming weeks.

ABOUT KAREN ROWE
A two-time published author, Karen is the owner of Front Rowe Seat, a training company for writers and business owners. She is an expert in non-fiction and can help you position yourself as a Leading Authority in your niche. Karen develops professionally written and designed books, done-for-you in 90 days. She has ghostwritten books for some of the most fascinating people in the world but, as a ghostwriter, she can’t tell you who any of them are! The key to a successful ghostwriter is absolute discretion. What she CAN tell you is that her clients include an actor, and a gold-medal Olympian and some of the top self-help leaders in the industry. Read more of Karen’s content-rich blog posts at http://www.KarenRowe.com/category/blog

 


NOW You Can Get The Spirit Authors Blog
Delivered Directly to Your Kindle!

 

Now you can have access to the latest tips in writing, publishing and book marketing everywhere you go. Get our Spirit Authors articles delivered 1-2 times a week directly to your Kindle for only 99 cents a month (77pUK). Instead of reading someone else’s book on your way to work, get information on how to make your OWN book a success.

Take a 14-day free trial at:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/ZlW7HT
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/131495j

Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook
Connect with us on Twitter.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

LynnSerafinn SpiritAuthors 7GracesOfMarketing 7 Graces Global Garden (group)

 

http://bit.ly/Pf5mAU
Categories : News, Writing & Editing
Comments (1)

Today we’re delighted to invite guest blogger Karen Rowe to Spirit Authors. Karen is a ghostwriter and editor who works with non-fiction authors. Today she “tells it like it is” about the many ways authors deceive themselves. 


It takes an average of about 400 hours to write a book. That’s a lot of time and effort. I’ve had many authors approach me who have poured blood, sweat and tears into a manuscript without the first clue how to get their book edited and published properly and out to the masses. Others have published their book without one ounce of marketing. And it has flopped. When I asked them about this, I find that they’ve been making assumptions based on myths they believe about the publishing industry.

Here are a few of the biggest mistakes writers make before they publish, and the lies they tell themselves:

LIE #1: “I can write about whatever I want.”
I’m always interested to hear what people are writing about. I’m often surprised to discover, though, that a lot of authors haven’t done any research or taken the time to familiarize themselves with what’s selling in their industry. You need to know who else is writing about your topic. Have you bought or read their books? What’s hot in your market, what’s selling and what isn’t? Reading other people’s work is important because you really want to know what’s being said about your topic, and how it’s being addressed. Not only that, these people will become an important part of your network.

LIE #2: “If I write a great book, it will sell itself.”
I’ve had many clients who are unknowingly under the impression that if they write a really fabulous book, people will somehow intuitively and magically just “know” and their book will become a bestseller. Hey, you wrote the book and that should be enough, right? Quality isn’t a guarantee of success. Two things make a successful book: strong, solid content and a great platform. You need to be your own biggest advocate, and you are going to be the greatest asset to getting the word out about your work. And if you’re terrible at it, then hire a professional to do it for you. 

LIE #3: “I’m going to get famous.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but chances are you’re not going to get famous. What a lot of people don’t realize with best-selling authors such as Charmaine Hammond  — whose book is getting turned into a movie — and others, who have started with nothing and become success stories, is that fame is always preceded by hard work, and a lot of it.  It’s wonderful to have a goal of ‘making it big’, but it’s not always realistic. Most authors who have attained great success didn’t just show up at the fame-party ready to sign autographs. They spent months working tirelessly to get the word out about their book and building a strong and solid platform, both before the book was released and for many months after. Could fame happen? Anything is possible. But first focus on the work.

LIE #4: “I’m going to get rich.”
I’m always saying to keep the end in mind when writing, but trust me when I tell you that money is not the end game. You can’t guarantee book sales. Ever. You can build a strong campaign, and enroll many launch partners. What you can’t do is predict how many copies of a book will sell. Create other goals or other milestones. Yes, we all want to sell books and with a strong platform, you can, and as my previous point, this is always preceded by a lot of hard work.

LIE #5: “I can market my book after I’m done writing it.”
I often have clients approach me when they have completed their book and ask, ‘now what?’ They’re in trouble. Why? Because there were 300,000 books published in 2012, and the time to start marketing your book was about 3 months ago. If you want to break through you’ll need a minimum of 6 months to get a solid campaign up and running. And the time when traditional publishers did that for you is gone. Publishers are now looking to sign authors who make it easy for them. They want great reads from authors who already have a following and are willing to promote their own work.

LIE #6: “I don’t need a marketing plan.”
Since publishers are looking for authors who understand the game, you should have an idea of what you’re going to do to market your book. It doesn’t have to be formal, but some kind of guideline that gives a structure to your plans, your goals, and your marketing efforts is essential.

LIE #7: “My mom can edit my book.”
Oh, please don’t do this. Writing a book is the fun part; editing is where the real work takes place. You need to hire a professional. Authors often overlook this extremely important step. It’s easy to find someone to edit a book, right? My mom/sister/cousin’s dog is good at English. Wrong. Editing is a pretty specialized skill set; someone who can find “typos” isn’t a good editor. You want someone to help you raise the bar on your work and create a final product that is something you can really be proud of. An editor will give you critical feedback (especially if you’ve hired a content editor, which I highly recommend), and often improve your work beyond what you might have been able to do on your own.

It’s good to remember that publishing isn’t just about finding the right place to print and publish your book. It’s about a lot more than that: publishing is a business; if you treat it as a business model you will always succeed.

 

ABOUT KAREN ROWE
A two-time published author, Karen is the owner of Front Rowe Seat, a training company for writers and business owners. She is an expert in non-fiction and can help you position yourself as a Leading Authority in your niche. Karen develops professionally written and designed books, done-for-you in 90 days. She has ghostwritten books for some of the most fascinating people in the world but, as a ghostwriter, she can’t tell you who any of them are! The key to a successful ghostwriter is absolute discretion. What she CAN tell you is that her clients include an actor, and a gold-medal Olympian and some of the top self-help leaders in the industry. Read more of Karen’s content-rich blog posts at http://www.KarenRowe.com/category/blog

 

Later this week, we’ll return with Part 2 of our Tutorial on “How to Make a Video Book Trailer for $77 or Less”

AND FINALLY, DON’T FORGET to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog via the form at the top of this page for more tips on writing, publishing, book promotion and new mind-body-spirit book releases.

NOW You Can Get The Spirit Authors Blog
Delivered Directly to Your Kindle!

 

Now you can have access to the latest tips in writing, publishing and book marketing everywhere you go. Get our Spirit Authors articles delivered 1-2 times a week directly to your Kindle for only 99 cents a month (77pUK). Instead of reading someone else’s book on your way to work, get information on how to make your OWN book a success.

Take a 14-day free trial at:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/ZlW7HT
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/131495j

Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook
Connect with us on Twitter.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

LynnSerafinn SpiritAuthors 7GracesOfMarketing 7 Graces Global Garden (group)

 

http://bit.ly/Pf5mAU

Recommended:

HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard As Featured On EzineArticles
Blastation Interactive Goal Setting and Life Coaching Software to Organize and Activate Your Best Life Ever - START YOUR FREE TRIAL TODAY!
Free 30-day trial

Catch my radio show Wednesdays