7 Things Every Writer Needs to Become an Author – Part 2

Author Learning Center

We’re back with Keith Ogorek of the Author Learning Center to complete his series of steps to taking your writing game up a notch and becoming an author! If you missed Part 1 of the series, check that out before diving into Part 2.

All caught up? Let’s get right into it then:

#4 Advice along the way.

The fourth thing you’re going to need as you work toward your goal of publishing is advice. As I suggested, a plan is like GPS, and if you think about it, GPS gives you instructions along the way to make sure you reach your goal.

Turn left.

Take this exit.

Recalculating.

The right information at the right time assures you will reach your destination. The same thing is true on your publishing journey. You will come to points where expert advice and encouragement will keep you on the right track and help you keep moving forward.

Writing and publishing and marketing are learned skills, so finding people and resources that can serve as the voice in your GPS is vital. Identify people and sources you can trust and listen to them. Seek out a small, trusted few rather than the opinion of the masses.

There are websites where you can seek out the opinion of the crowd, but I question how valuable that type of feedback can be. You could put your manuscript out there and have a hundred people comment. Fifty of them may think it’s great and fifty may think it’s terrible, but that doesn’t really help you. So find a small, trusted group rather than the unvetted crowd.

Now, you can accomplish this a number of different ways. Depending on what community you’re in, there might be local writing groups you can join. The Author Learning Center also gives you that opportunity to get feedback through your Author Circle if you have a book project. No matter how you do it, just don’t try to take this journey alone.

#5 Persistence

The fifth thing you need to become an author is persistence. As the saying goes, it takes years to become an overnight success so persistence is really, really important. You will meet challenges and even face discouragement and rejection along the way, but you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you have something important to share with others. In fact, throughout history there are numerous of examples of well-known and successful authors being rejected multiple times before they were published.

Take L. M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables for example. Her series of books has been a must read for young people for decades. It’s inspired by her own story growing up on Prince Edward Island. A number of years ago, I had a chance to visit the place where Anne of Green Gables was set.

In fact, Canada has turned the site into a national park. I was extremely impressed with how they created an experience for visitors, but one thing that really struck me was in her biography. She said she would have never been published had the post office not been in her uncle’s home where she lived.

The reason why is because back then you would send a manuscript to a publisher, and if the publisher declined, they would send it back wrapped up in brown paper and tied in string. So Montgomery said that if she would have had to go into town and walk down the street holding that package, she would have been very embarrassed. However because the package came back to her uncle’s house, it gave her the courage to continue to send it out. Eventually, a publisher picked up her books, and since then, they have gone on to sell millions of copies around the world.

She was persistent and it paid off.

More recent examples include Lisa Genova, Louise Hay, and James Patterson. Lisa wrote a book called Still Alice but could not find a publisher who was interested so she self-published with iUniverse. It was subsequently discovered by Simon and Schuster, who picked it up and it became a best seller and eventually a movie for which Julianne Moore won an Oscar. Lisa’s persistence was demonstrated in that she self-published even when no publisher wanted it.

Louise Hay is another example. Louise founded the publisher Hay House when she was sixty years old. Sadly, Louise passed away in late 2017, but she has left a significant legacy in the life of people. She decided she had something to share that could really help people and largely helped create the category of Self Help. No publisher at the time would produce her books, so she first self-published and then started the company that continues on to this day.

Finally another great example of persistence is James Patterson. He’s arguably one of the more famous authors we have today, but many people don’t know he was actually rejected by thirty-one publishers.

He shared the details in an interview. “I worked my way through college. I had lots of night shifts, so I started reading like crazy. Then I started writing, and I found that I loved it. When I was twenty-six I wrote my first mystery, The Thomas Berryman Number, and it was turned down by, I don’t know, thirty-one publishers. Then it won the Edgar for the best first novel. Go figure.”

In each of these examples the authors believed in their work, and they were persistent. Now I don’t know if you are the next Lisa Genova or James Patterson; however, if you are not persistent and you don’t believe in your work, it will be tough for you to reach your goals.

#6 Accountability

A sixth thing every writer needs to become an author is accountability. This is an important one because without accountability most things don’t get done. John Di Lemme suggests, “Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action-takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions.”

In fact, the likelihood that you will transform your desires into reality increases tremendously if you share your written goals with a friend who believes in your ability to succeed. One author calls it having “a partner in believing.” I think that is such a great phrase because that’s what you need—someone who believes in your idea as much as you do.

Someone who believes you have something to say or share that is worth preserving and telling.

That’s why, along with persistence, you need to be accountable and you need someone to keep you accountable. That way when you get discouraged or stuck, there is someone to help you stay focused on your milestones and goals.

#7 Encouragement

Writing a book takes time and can also include periods of self-doubt or discouragement. That’s why you need someone to help you stay motivated when you may be ready to give up.

Even prolific authors like Stan Lee needed encouragement. Stan started Marvel Comics and has helped create some of the most well-known superheroes. At one point before he had made a name for himself, he was ready to give up. Like most salaried employees, he had bills and a mortgage, but at age forty writing action scenes became unfulfilling, and he wanted to quit. His wife told him to create a script that he found meaningful, and the rest is history.

So do not ever underestimate a well-timed word of encouragement. We all need them.

Information alone is not enough.

This truly is the best time to be an author because there is more opportunity to get published and more information for authors than ever before. But information alone is not enough to help you get to your goal. You need these seven things to transition from just writing to publishing:

  1. an idea
  2. a deadline
  3. a plan,
  4. timely, expert advice
  5. persistence,
  6. accountability
  7. encouragement
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A GPS for your publishing journey

If you are looking for an easy way to have these elements available at your fingertips, I invite you to visit the Author Learning Center. There you will find a unique combination of expert advice, author-inspired tools, and a community to help you reach your publishing goals. www.authorlearningcenter.com


Keith Ogorek

President

Author Learning Center

As an industry thought leader, Ogorek has helped drive a number of significant innovations in the self-publishing industry and is featured in the book, Innovation–How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World. He also has authored three books, A Clear View, Eli the Stable Boy and 7 Secrets of Successful Self-Published Authors and written a number of helpful white papers including the popular 4 Paths to Publishing and Three Phases of an Effective Book Marketing Campaign. You will also find him speaking at leading industry events such as the Indie and Digital Author conference, Textbook and Academic Authoring Conference, The Singapore Writer’s Festival, Havana Book Fair and the Florida Writers Conference. In addition, he is a regular webinar presenter for The Author Learning Center.
 

7 thoughts on “7 Things Every Writer Needs to Become an Author – Part 2”

  1. I have just submitted my book ‘Shut down kids’ to my publisher. It should be out in the market by June. I believe it is the first book to say why kids disengage from learning to read.
    How about writing a series on how to market a book?

  2. Casrule Oxford

    Hey there,
    I’m in the process of writing my first novel and because it’s for a Black urban audience I am not sure anyone who is not experienced in that genre or area of interest will be able to offer me useful information about how I can improve my work or critique the dialogue in a way that will be productive. I’d appreciate some input on how to address those concerns.
    Thanks a lot,
    Casrule Oxford

    1. Hi Casrule,
      If you are targeting a very specific audience like this, you will want to find readers and (ideally) authors who fit your niche. But you should not limit yourself to that audience. Any professional editor will take your input about the genre and read the story with that lens. If you use slang or dialect specific to a region or group of people, it is more important to get outsiders eyes on the piece! You want to know if some of that unique language isn’t working or if it can be made more accessible.
      Likewise, there are universal elements of a story that needs to be looked at closely. You might ask a reader or editor to focus on the plot or character development while putting less weight on the dialogue. You’ll also want to get input from people who do fit your target audience and emphasize their feedback on the areas most likely to resonate with them.
      A diversity of opinions isn’t a bad thing! You just have to open yourself up to criticism (so of which you might not like) and remember that no matter what, the story is YOURS and you’ll have the final say about how it is crafted.

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