“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.”
– Maya Angelou
True, also for a writer.
It is also true that a writer looks for a world where he will be a bird whose songs are remembered and recalled.
Becoming an author is not the most challenging part. In fact, with advances in technology and an increasing number of publishing houses, getting published is easier than ever before. But what remains harder, perhaps the most challenging part of this journey is the path to success. Turning your writing into celebrated work so that generations later you’re remembered, maybe even studied in lecture halls and cited in research works, is a stepping-stone that many only dream of.
This article isn’t a guide to win as much as it is a peek into the ways through which many successful authors have established themselves. We have identified a few patterns/habits that most successful authors focus upon, those we share with you here.
How to become a successful author?
1. Successful Authors: They Never Stop Writing
This isn’t a reiteration. It’s a fact. You are only a writer as long as you write. Honing your writing skills is the best way to climb that ladder to success. Developing such a habit may seem difficult for someone who is just entering the field of writing, so it’s better to start slow. Instead of writing for four hours straight in a single day, dividing that work and writing for 30 minutes each day is better.
The habit can help you become more organized and even sharpen your existing skills. For beginners, it can serve as a means to experiment with your writing process, the genres you like to write, what kind of stories you can tell and where you need improvement. Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses is essential to fill in the gaps and improve your skills.
- Earmark a certain number of hours only for writing.
- Try to have a fixed time of the day for writing, and follow with discipline.
- Do not stop after the first book. Only by persisting with your writing can you make a successful career as an author. With each successive book, you will improve your credentials and become stronger in the community of authors.
- Reflect on the quality of your writing and how well you communicate with your target readers. Recognition follows naturally since the work speaks for itself.
- Hone the art of storytelling. The better an author is at weaving a tale which catches the reader’s attention and strings him along with the narrative, the greater the chance of becoming a successful author. This is as true for fiction as it is for non-fiction.
How well the words conjure up life-like images in the reader’s mind. The better the storytelling!
2. Successful Authors: They build a Writing Community
How to become a successful author? You need an audience. Preferably a community of like-minded people who enjoy what you do. You can always start small. Try joining Facebook groups for writers and meet new people, discuss ideas and promote your work. While this might seem like a soft marketing tactic, it is beneficial. You will discover various writing communities on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Reddit, Medium, Quora and others.
To become a successful writer, a writing community is not just essential to spread the word but also receiving constructive feedback. Surrounding yourself with a group of writers can help you sustain your daily writing habit. Most important, however, having a writing community can provide you with much-needed motivation, the absence of which can often make writers feel alienated and uninspired.
3. Successful Authors: They are continuously Evolving and Growing
For every writer, it is most important to keep an open mind. Be open to changes, and take criticism like a sportsman. For success, it is a prerequisite that a creator ensures their content is never stagnant and that what they create speaks to people.
Evolution doesn’t necessarily have to be in the way you write. It can also be about what you write. Somewhere along the way, you may realize that the ideas and problems you addressed a few years back are no longer relevant to the readers. There are newer issues and contemporary observations you may now wish to focus upon, e.g., sustainability and environmental degradation were never as hot a topic as it is today. Don’t be afraid to take that leap. While initially, it might be intimidating, always remember that works come from a place of utmost care and delicacy that eventually win over people.
Something else to keep in mind is that sometimes, we need to be critical of ourselves too. Sometimes, as a writer, you may find yourself at the receiving end of harsh feedback, be it regarding your writing or your approach towards a sensitive subject. In such circumstances, it is always better to look inward and address biases you may harbour.
Additionally, if you’ve already released a book or a series, try to write a sequel or a spin-off. Enhance the world which already exists in your books and introduce new characters. But, never stop writing.
4. Successful Authors: They go out and Market, and Market their books
how to become a famous authorOne pillar of success is consistent, flexible marketing. Readers should know that your book exists for them to read, which is where marketing comes into play. To market, don’t stop at posters and release dates. Instead, use the power of social media and various communication tools such as What’s App to talk about your book. It may take a little while to get used to the interface if you’re new to it, but you’ll get the hang of it quite easily.
Successful authors have immense faith in their first book, leaving no stone unturned to market it. They create awareness amongst their target readers and gain a foothold in the world of books. Creating awareness for the first book pays dividends since it helps them market each of their following books. There are no shortcuts to getting books noticed – a well-structured marketing plan using social media, online marketing and launch activities is a must. Even if the first book has not made waves, they use the experience to draw suitable lessons and build their skills to make the launch of their next book more compelling.
The rewards of being an author can be huge but will come through passion and dedication. There are many examples of successful authors, in India and abroad. One shining example is Chetan Bhagat. He has movies made on his books, has become a newspaper and magazine columnist, appears on TV and rubs shoulders with celebrities. When he began his journey as an author with his first book, he would not have imagined the heights he would command! He had passion, commitment and self-belief and was willing to give his first book his best shot at marketing. These are the most important steps an author needs to take to become successful.
For more information check out our blogs related to marketing and social media.
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