No matter what business or career you’re entering, it starts with a plan. That plan should include the steps you’ll need to take to get it started, give it momentum, and make it successful. Now, you may think that you’re not a business owner, you’re simply an author. But if you are selling books, you have a business, even if just a simple sole proprietorship. So, let’s go over some steps you should take. 1. You need to decide on a genre. If you already have a genre in mind, you’re ahead of the game. If you don’t, think about it. You must be drawn to one genre or another. Think about what you read, and what type of people (market) you’d like to write for. Choose one. Stick to this one genre… at least for now. 2. Do it right and learn the craft of writing. While some people think they can write, if you haven’t made any effort to learn how to write, you don’t know how. Just because self-publishing has allowed anyone to publish a book, that doesn’t mean that’s the way to go. You should want to be proud of any work you produce. Your book should convey that you know what you’re doing. Learning the writing ropes is especially true if you want to write for children. Not only are there genres within genres, there’s an additional set of skills or knowledge needed to write for children. 3. Butt in seat and write. At this point, you know what genre you want to write in, and you’ve put effort, time, and money (if necessary) into learning how to write. Now, it’s time to write your book. There’s a lot of information online about how to go about doing this. Simple get your thoughts into a document or on the paper. Some authors create outlines of their story before starting into the draft. An outline can be helpful. It’s like a GPS from beginning to end. You know what direction you’re heading. Other authors are pantsers. These writers go with the flow. They let the story and characters unfold as they go along. I lean toward being a pantser, especially with picture book, and even chapter books. But with longer stories, like middle grade, I slow the pace and create an outline. With longer stories, it’s more difficult to keep track of everything. Having an outline gives guidance. You have a map of where you’re going. While you can deviate from it somewhat, you know where and how to go back. 4. Butt in seat 2–the magazine arena. If you’re going into the magazine arena, you’ll still need to begin by writing an article. You’ll first need to do lots of research to see which magazines you’d be interested in writing for. And you’ll need to study their guidelines carefully. You’ll also need to research back issues to make sure you don’t query a topic they’ve already done. This research will also give you a feel for what type of stories the magazine wants and how they’re written. Once you have your direction, start writing. 5. Submit, submit, submit. If you’re writing books and decided to submit to traditional publishers and/or literary agents, you’ll need to have a polished manuscript. Then you’ll need to write a query letter. Once that’s done, research publishers and agents who are in the genre you’re writing. Find as many matches as you can, then find out who to address the query to. Then submit, submit, submit. Just be sure the publisher or agent accepts simultaneous submissions. If you’re submitting articles, it’s a little different. You’ll be writing for a specific magazine, so you’ll be querying one magazine at a time. But this doesn’t mean you can’t query multiple articles. 6. If you’re self-publishing books. In this case, instead of submitting to publishers or agents, you’ll be getting your books formatted and published. It’s important to take the same steps as the traditional road. You want your books to be professional. Learning how to write first is critical. 7. Repeat to create a successful writing career. A one-shot book or article isn’t a career. Whether you write books or articles, or both, keep on writing and submitting. 8. Promote your book. This is a bonus step. Even if you’ve written a professional and engaging book, if you don’t promote it, you won’t sell it. This also goes for traditionally published books, especially if you’re with a small publisher. It’s essential to promote your book. Make it visible through blogging, social media, in-person events, and so on. A subscriber to my email list contacted me that she was selling well at in-person events in her country but had no sales in the U.S. The lack of U.S. sales is because she didn’t have a website, and she didn’t use social media to broaden her book marketing reach. While in-person is an effective way to sell books, it has a very limited marketing reach. The internet, on the other hand, has a worldwide reach. I hope these 8 tips help you to reach a successful writing career.
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700 Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.