Many people dream of becoming an author, yet those dreams don’t always come true. With the advent of the Internet and the changing technology in the publishing industry, becoming a published author is easier than ever these days. However, being an author is not the right occupation for everyone. There are benefits and disadvantages to this profession. Before deciding if you want to embark on the journey toward becoming an author, take the time to answer these five questions.
1. Do you have a story to tell?
2. Are you a creative thinker?
3. Do you finish projects that you start?
4. Are you open to constructive criticism?
5. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish your dreams?
If you answered “yes” to all five questions, then you may have a future as an author. John Wain said, “Being an author is not a profession, it’s a condition.” As a published author of fiction novels, I have to agree with his statement. Writing books is a part of who I am and who I’m meant to be. How do you feel about the art of story-telling? Samuel Beckett wrote, “You write in order to say the things you can’t say. It’s a cry, or a scream or a song.”
Benefits of Becoming an Author
There are many benefits to being an author. I have experienced these benefits and in my mind, they outweigh the disadvantages. The following is a listing of such benefits.
- Creative outlet for the imagination
- See your name in an eBook or in print and hold your book in your hands
- Get to connect with readers and share your creativity with them
- Make money working in the profession of your dreams
- Expansion of your network and can meet new people
- The opportunity to grow as a person and a creative thinker
Sir Peter Medawar wrote, “Creativity is producing ostensibly out of nothing, something of beauty, order or significance.” I have experienced that feeling of writing down words detailing the imaginations of my mind and it is wonderful.
Disadvantages of Becoming an Author
On the flip side, there are some disadvantages of becoming an author. I’m currently a mid-list author and am still overcoming these disadvantages. However, my dream to continue writing books helps me to persevere through any obstacle. Some of the disadvantages I’ve encountered are listed below.
- Having to tap into the more critical thinking side
- Marketing your books is hard work and takes discipline
- You will never be able to please everyone all the time
- Having to deal with negative reviews and offensive comments from readers
- This is not a get rich plan and it takes time and effort to develop a successful career
- There is the need to overcome a fear of public speaking and interaction with the public
If you know that your dream to write is greater than any obstacle, becoming an author may be the right occupation for you.
How to Get Started as a Professional Author
There is a process toward becoming a professional author. If you want to be successful in your journey, you need to create a game plan and then stick to it. All authors will receive rejections and obstacles will come their way. Jumping immediately to the NY Times Best Seller List is not going to happen to everyone. Rather, that happens sparingly to a few. For the majority of authors, it takes time to make a name for themselves. The following four steps can help you to stay focused on your dreams and achieve your goals.
Step # 1: Write Every Day
Gerald Brenan said, “It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer. Those who do not do this remain amateur.” His statement is so true. Even if you are beginning your journey while working a full-time job, you need to find the time to write every day. While I was working my day job during the early years of my career, I took time to write my manuscript during my lunch break and at night when I got home from work. You need to find the schedule that works best for your goals and then stick to it. I like what Peter De Vries said about this issue; “I write when I’m inspired and I see that I’m inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”
Step # 2: Connect with Other Authors
It is vital to connect with other authors so that you can gain encouragement and support. My philosophy has always been to help other authors succeed and in turn that will assist my own career. I host several blogs and one of them is called “The Author’s Corner” where I host guest authors during the week. In providing opportunities for other authors—to guest at my blog, to have book features done and also interviews—it has driven more traffic to my website. That’s free advertising for me and my books. There are a wide variety of support opportunities through Yahoo author groups. I have found many author networking groups on Facebook, Google+ and Goodreads.
Step # 3: Decide on a Publishing Venue
There are various options for getting published. You can get published with one of the Big Six Publishers, but you will need to find a literary agent. A second option is to work with a small to mid-list publisher and you don’t usually need an agent to submit a manuscript. A third option is to have your book published (for a fee) with a vanity or subsidiary publisher. The fourth option is to publish your book (for free) in eBook and paperback format through Amazon’s CreateSpace or B&N’s Nook Press online publishing systems.
Step # 4: Stay Focused on Your Goals
It is vital for you to stay focused on your goals. Create a writing schedule and learn how to stick to it as much as possible. Stickk is a great online resource where authors can create goals, schedule reminders and get support from accountability partners. Whatever avenue you utilise for goal tracking, it is important to write (or type) them out so that you have a higher probability of accomplishing them.
If you have a dream to become an author, then you owe it to yourself to dip your toes into the water and test out whether or not this is the occupation for you. By following the steps listed in this article, you can become an author and begin your journey toward success. Remember to write every day, connect with other authors and stay focused on your goals.
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