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It’s just about every writer’s dream. Getting your name on a renowned best-seller list is the ultimate professional author’s achievement—and here you are, doing the research and laying down the groundwork. You’ve already taken the first step!
Unfortunately, nobody can tell you exactly how to flawlessly execute a plan of action for becoming a successful writer. But I’ll let you in on a secret. You don’t need them to.
Becoming a best-selling author is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. We’re surrounded by valuable sources of information and tools that are instrumental to the success of your career.
There are many accessible, useful tactics you can utilise for streamlining your writing journey and actualising your goal of becoming a best-selling author in 2021. Let’s comb through what they are.
Identify Your Goals
It’s so much tougher to hit your targets when you don’t yet know what they are. Being a bestselling author is a solid goal. But there are many smaller steps that come before it that you will need to work out before you can get started.
For example, what does being a best-selling author look like to you? Are you the next J.K Rowling? Stephen King? Agatha Christie or Dan Brown? Identify your niche and take inspiration from those who came before you.
Then, decide where you fit in and how you’ll stand out. There are hundreds of best-seller lists across the world. You need to figure out which one(s) you want to aim for.
The people and companies that hand out awards and place authors on prestigious lists often know what they are looking for before they see it. You can be one step ahead of them. Cater your work to meet their expectations for a much stronger chance of landing your dream best-seller list.
Write Your Book
Easier said than done, right? It’s tough, but it’s true. Writing an amazing book is the quintessential step in becoming a best-selling author.
But you knew that already. So, instead of playing a broken record, let’s have a look at some useful tips that can help put your precious mission into motion.
Identify Your Flaws and Work Through Them
While we certainly don’t encourage you to fixate upon personal flaws, professionally acknowledging and identifying your weaker points is a major part of becoming a better writer.
Without allowing negative thoughts to put you down, try to notice where you become stuck mid-flow. Choose to engage with that part of yourself rather than shutting it down. You’ve got this!
Exercise with Short, Personal Stories
One way to curb creative block is to write short, personal stories that you know by heart from beginning to end.
The time you went camping alone in the countryside, the night you thought you saw a ghost. An embarrassing anecdote you’ll never forget, the moment you fell in love for the first time…
All of these memories are etched in your brain, so putting them down on paper is easy.
It doesn’t matter which memory you use, as long as it’s personal, short, and impacted you emotionally. This exercise is easy, low stakes, and bound to get your creative juices flowing.
Perfectionism. Many a creative professional’s brutal arch-nemesis. Although the ever-expanding desire to improve can be useful in times of scant energy, chasing perfection can quickly turn into a vicious cycle of unmet expectations and needlessly harsh self-criticism.
You can’t thrive if you’re trash talking to yourself half of the time. Relinquish your desire for control over every future outcome and focus instead on the present moment.
What is the best way for me to be productive today? What is it I need to feel comfortable and ready to create? Give yourself what you need. You are your own biggest supporter.
Fake It ‘til You Make It
Sounds a little like something you might have read in a magazine as a self-conscious teenager. But this advice can completely transform the way you’re perceived by both others and yourself.
This doesn’t mean you should assume a false identity or lie on your resume. But it does mean shifting the attitude you have around your sense of professional pride and confidence. Want to be a popular and successful best-selling author? Act like it!
Show up to your writing desk every day, be bold and straightforward when people ask about your profession, drink whiskey neat (kidding). You’ll notice a difference, and so will those observing you.
Establish Your Author Platform
Alright, so you’ve written your book.
It’s time to let the world know who you are, what you do, and why they should definitely read (and buy) that book.
An author platform is your online presence and a means to connect with fans, readers, marketers, and critics. It’s where your target market will go when they want to know more about you, or find information about how, when, and where to buy your book.
In 2021 (a year that marks record-breaking online content consumption), having an established online author platform is paramount to success. Your website needs to not only exist, but be functional, attractive, and easy to find.
Besides a website, having active social media accounts can significantly contribute to online traffic that boosts both sales and awareness of your book.
Identify your target market to put more focus on where they are likely to be more active (i.e., if your book targets adults between the ages of 45–65, Facebook will render better results than Instagram, etc.).
If this aspect of being an author stresses you out, consider hiring a social media manager or advisor to lessen the load. The same goes for any other skill that falls outside your wheelhouse. If you need help with booking publicity tours, keeping tabs on your revenue, or anything else that comes with being a successful author, enlist the help of a professional. You’ll benefit, as you won’t have to split your focus between admin tasks and writing.
Be Proud of Yourself
Amidst all the madness, don’t forget to take some time to acknowledge what you’ve accomplished. You can appreciate every teardrop, pillow scream, or sleepless night you’ve sacrificed in pursuit of your dream—even if they haven’t quite materialised just yet.
Being a successful, thriving creative professional is not for the faint-hearted and you’re bringing yourself closer to where you want to be every day. Now that deserves some recognition!
About the writer
Jill Goodwin is a content champion for a variety of online publications. She often covers topics that cater to business owners and entrepreneurs with a strong focus on finances, productivity, management, and a few other topics.