What Every Writer Needs to Know
10 great ways to be successful.
Published: August 26, 2012
by Reid Tracy
Real facts other publishers may not tell you.
I’ve been in the publishing industry for almost three decades and I’ve worked with hundreds of New York Times best-selling authors, renowned speakers, savvy business owners and aspiring writers from around the world. Most of these people—including me—have found that there is no quick and easy road to success. We’ve learned that oftentimes the best way to reach our goals both professionally and financially is by making mistakes and gaining experience from them.
Over the years, I’ve discovered many critical tips on how to break into the publishing business and become an established and successful author. I’d like to share them with you here:
10 Ways to Start a Successful Writing, Speaking or Business Venture
Take Action Today
Stop talking about it and starting doing it! Take action to move your dream forward. It’s never too soon or too late to start making your dream a reality—whether it’s a book you’re writing, a new project you were just assigned, a business you’re now running or a wild idea you’ve always wanted to pursue. If you start today, you can start changing people’s lives tomorrow.
Try Something New
Nothing ever happens when you conduct business the same old way day after day. Try something new! I’ve heard that today’s definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. So please don’t be insane with your blog posts, newsletters, Facebook updates and other marketing ventures. Try out new ideas and see if you get different results. Remember, everyone benefits from your successes. And the only one who remembers your failures is YOU.
Get Real about Your Finances
One sure thing about your financial projections for your new book (or business) is that they won’t be correct. That’s a hard fact to digest, but it’s true. Your business will either do better or worse than what you have projected. Be prepared to emphasize the successes of your product and eliminate or reduce the failures as quickly as you can.
Polish Your Product
The most important thing you can do to insure a long and successful writing career is to create a unique “word-of-mouth worthy” book or product. You want to introduce something into the world that people will talk about and resonate with. And you want the talk to be positive. So make sure that it is the best it can be. Invest in whatever time and tools you need to make it shine. Even if you think you are a good writer, hire an editor anyway for a second opinion.
Power Up Your Platform
This is the holy grail for getting your book published. Your platform as a writer or savvy businessperson is your direct connection to your audience. It’s as simple as that. How do you build a substantial email database and fan base of people interested in your work? You can start by offering something of value on your website or Facebook page (a workbook, podcast or ancillary product) and offer it free in exchange for an email address. For more tips, I also highly recommend a very powerful book by Michael Hyatt (former CEO of Thomas Nelson) called Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. It’s a great resource on the basics of building your platform.
Learn to Give a Good Speech
Follow the advice of Eleanor Roosevelt when she said, “Do one thing that scares you every day.” One of the biggest fears many people have is speaking in front of an audience. I challenge you to learn to give a speech. Create one that will reflect the underlying message of your book and the passion that drove you to write it. There are two tips I can give you and this is from someone who wasn’t fond of speaking in front of people either.
1: Practice makes perfect.
2: Watch the speakers who move you most and learn from them.
Follow the Leaders
Spend time researching 10 leaders that you admire most in your field. Study their Facebook pages and websites. See if you can incorporate any of their ideas into your platform. I’m not suggesting that you take their exact ideas. But I am saying that it is okay to mimic success. No two people have the exact same way of presenting their message.
The Power of Collaboration
Work together with others in your field or industry to help promote each other’s message. If each of the 3,500 people on my Facebook page worked together, they would reach 1.2 million people. You don’t have to do it alone. Form alliances to mutually benefit you and others.
The best way to touch the heart of your audience is when they see how passionate YOU are about your message. Check the New York Times best-seller list and see if you can find one book that doesn’t have an emotional tie to its readers.
Success Takes Time
Give yourself a realistic timetable to be a success and then take action to make it happen. And let me remind you of something that may be hard to hear. But it’s something you must accept as a writer in today’s publishing world. It takes 10 years to be an overnight success.
Reid Tracy, President and CEO of Hay House, Inc., the largest and most influential self-empowerment publishing company in the world. Acquiring hundreds of prominent authors over the years, Reid has played a crucial role in the strategic development of authors such as Wayne Dyer, Christiane Northrup, Jerry and Esther Hicks, and Doreen Virtue. He has also produced more than 12 successful PBS Specials that have raised over $100 million for Public Television.