First off, I am deeply honored and incredibly humbled by the opportunity to share my personal thoughts and perspectives here at eBooks India. To be perfectly honest and transparent, it was my outreach and offers to submit an article that originally opened the door to this incredible possibility. That brings into sharp focus my first piece of experienced advice for all you writers out there:
Be pro-active and assertive
With the global expansion of internet technology and a plethora of social media platforms, writing and self-publishing has become somewhat commonplace. Anyone and everyone can write a book and upload it onto the numerous publishing platforms like KDP, Create Space, or any number of “vanity press” outlets. However, this is a far cry from guaranteeing your work will garner a significant following, dedicated readership or even more importantly achieve recognition as a reputable piece of worthy literary accomplishment. Furthermore, if you are expecting immediate gratification as an acclaimed author or substantial financial prosperity…GET REAL…YOU NEED A STRONG DOSE OF REALITY! Competition and literally an endless swarm of excellent writers in this profession make notoriety a fleeting pursuit. You have to find your niche, diligently hammer home what makes you a standout and creatively promote with endless intestinal fortitude.
I do not speak so frankly to dissuade anyone from actively pursuing writing as a career or completely dismiss the possibility of enriching your income. Rather, my intent is simply to strike a chord of realistic perspective. In all honesty, writing was for me simply an accidental transition that happened to suit an itching need to share my story. We ALL have a story to tell and they’re ALL worth telling. However, as a matter of purely God given talent, some are more blessed with the required skills of being born artisans when it comes to writing. Others are just very lucky hacks who happen to have the financial means or right connections to squeak past the traditional critics and go steamrolling onto the book producing industry as marketable success stories. For the most part there are those of us, myself included, who struggle along trying to simultaneously enrich their fellow man and scratch a bare minimum living doing something that happens to bring us a modicum of pleasure. That is a noble and worthy pursuit but it requires endless work, maintenance of a driven will and a personal wherewithal that you serve a higher purpose rather than an exploding bank account.
Build a support network
After three plus years of writing as my full time career, I can testify that it has been both rewarding and educational but financially mediocre. Furthermore, it is definitely not something that regardless of the degree of your success can be embarked upon as a solitary endeavor. My accomplishments are living proof of the multitude of individuals that have supported, advised and directly influenced my becoming a best-selling author. Gather around you a core group of 4-5 talented individuals with a variety of skills that will make up your personal marketing team. My team is led by a professional public relations representative who is entrusted to coordinate all aspects of my marketing, media and promotional efforts. Supporting him are a professional proof reader/editor, a professional photographer/graphics designer/IT expert, a blog consultant and my personal manager. These individuals have been invaluable confidants, industry experts in their own rights and true friends making the difference between success and abject disaster. Your core group should be deeply invested in everything that you and your writing are all about. They must be trusted advisors, friends, and professionals who will tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.
Be prepared to market yourself and your work
Without a doubt, the most frequent question I am asked in blog tours, interviews and social media inquiries is…”What is the most important piece of advice you can give to aspiring authors?” Since the first time I was asked that question, after careful reflection, my answer has consistently been a stark response. If you think writing is tough, just wait, promoting makes creating a book look like child’s play. I can affirm without hesitation that marketing and promoting are far more tedious, grueling and time consuming than any literary endeavor I have ever undertaken. For most creative spirits, the task of pandering your work to eke out a profitable return is an almost seemingly seedy distraction from the noble practice of your God given talent. Unfortunately that is the nature of being a struggling artist.
Technological advances that have made the internet an integral part of our everyday lives make a vast and highly developed social media footprint essential to success. To assert that this endeavor is so time consuming and unending for one person to competently achieve is not an overstatement. I personally have three Facebook pages with memberships in over 300 groups, accounts on ACX, Audible, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Twitter, Goodreads, Book Daily, YouTube, WordPress, Google+, Eblog, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Shelfari, and Tumblr. In addition there is my own webpage with a regularly posted blog, a weekly ipod radio broadcast and three separate email accounts. It has taken three years to successfully build that platform and honestly I’ve barely scratched the surface! Through three successful top selling books and two separate publishers, not to mention several separately uploaded essays, multiple booklet sets and numerous video trailers I can barely claim to be a “successful” author.
Practice humbleness and care about your reputation
All of this intensive social media platform development is considered by most experts to be a bare minimum requirement for acceptance as a reputable writer. Now you can appreciate the unquestionable value of a marketing team. Anyone seeking instant success or immediate fame as an author should definitely re-think their choice of careers. Even after all of this extensive outreach and establishment of your name/logo one must never forget two vital facts. First, NEVER lose your humility and gratitude! Nothing worth having is ever easy and is certainly never achieved without the endless help of others. Second, understand and appreciate that consumers are fickle. Their interests and appetites are constantly changing and easily lost. From the moment your name is associated with a publicly issued literary work you become a “public figure.” Therefore, your reputation rests precariously on the perception of who you are, what you stand for and what you’re all about. Consistency and transparent integrity are your “bread and butter.” If you ever lose your public’s trust or their confidence in your professional credibility it will take a sheer miracle to get it back!
Therefore tread carefully. Protect your reputation and personal character with the utmost care. Reckless and rash decisions will cost everything you have worked tirelessly to achieve. Carefully thought out and researched responses will serve you far better than spontaneous or haphazard knee jerk reactions to “gotcha” questions from either your peers, the public or the media. Avoiding these tumultuous points in your career are generally best handled by sincerity, honesty and having a genuine grasp for who you are in body, heart and soul. Never make promises you’re not prepared to keep and be completely forthright about your frailties or imperfections. You’re human and like us all you make mistakes. Never be afraid to admit it and own up to those moments of imperfection. People will respect and admire you for it. False pride and contrived excuses will be your downfall.
Create transformational works
As writers we seek to uplift others through the written word by offering our unique perspective on the way we see people, life, events, and the world we live in. Take pride in what you write and never cross over into the dark abyss of haughtiness, amorality, insipidness, maliciousness or callousness. Write what you know and what you feel from a position of respect and understanding. Draw the reader in with creativity, eloquence and a higher purpose that will leave them with an intense sense of pride that transforms them for the rest of their lives. Write with a profound determination that your words will be regarded as one of the books they cherish to the day they die. Even if you never make a dime, you can smile with resolute satisfaction that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life and have succeeded in helping the human race come one small step closer to that glorious vision God first imagined when He breathed life into man.
Image credit: Ruth Hartnup on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Tom-Ufert.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Tom Ufert is a 48 year old best-selling author, former political insider & community affairs activist that has survived twenty-one years with three disabilities. His literary genres include memoir/biography, political non-fiction, & reference/quotations. Past accolades range from White House Fellow nominee & Rotary International graduate fellow to LBJ congressional intern & scholarship recipient. He has a double BA in history & political science with graduate studies in East Asian political affairs. Follow Tom at his website: https://www.tomufert.com. Readers can locate his works at: Amazon, Audible, and YouTube.[/author_info] [/author]