I’ve seen a lot of How to Write a Book in 10 Simple Steps and Write a Book in 10 Easy Steps and Become an Author articles. The number might not be “10”, but it’s usually that or smaller and it’s often accompanied by “simple” or “easy”. Well, let me tell you this: there’s nothing simple or easy about becoming an author and it takes more than writing one book to be an author.
Okay. Technically, if you write a book, you are an author.
However, it’s not just the writing.
In this day and age, in order to be a successful author – and especially if you are self-published – you also have to be an entrepreneur.
You have to know how to promote your book and who to market it to. You have to keep track of publishing trends and try to stay on top of them. You have to do research on your target audience, after you’ve figured who your target audience is. You have to be active online and with relative topics; if your book is a Contemporary Romance between a waitress and her boss, you probably won’t have much luck promoting it on your personal Tweeter account where you usually talk about politics. There’s also networking: knowing and keeping a good relationship with other authors and with bloggers is just as important as keeping in touch with your fans. You also have to have a thick skin because you are going to get negative reviews, some from people who didn’t like your book (hey, you can’t please everyone!), some from trolls who haven’t even read it.
And all that and more is on top of writing the book.
As for the writing process itself?
Research. Planning. More research. Changing your plans as you go. Creating the plot. Creating the characters. Creating the conflicts. Changing the plot, characters and conflicts as you go. Proofreading. First major edits. Beta readers. More edits… And there are the blurbs and the titles, and the fact that if you are doing a series, you have to plan ahead for the upcoming books.
None of this is easy. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes dedication. It takes money. Because you are going to have to pay an editor, and a cover designer, and also invest some money in book promotions. Maybe even invest in creating book swag.
If it’s so difficult, why do we do it? Are we crazy?
Perhaps there’s some madness in all of us. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure there is. But I don’t think that’s all.
We have different reasons: we have too many thoughts going through our heads and we need to pen or type them down; it started as a stress relief therapy, but ended up as so much more; we want to help someone with our knowledge; we want to inspire the way we’d been inspired by books; it’s something on our bucket list; it’s something else entirely.
Whatever your reason, if you are serious about this, know that it won’t be easy.
Sure, you might read those 10 Steps to Become an Author posts and learn something useful from them, but don’t think that all you’ll need to do is print them out and put a check mark opposite each step once you are done with it. Every author’s journey is similar, yet different from that of another author, but we must all be prepared to put in the work.
Don’t let that discourage you though. Is there a book you need to write?
Then write it.