First Steps: From Amateur Dreamer to An Author of Dreams

More people want to be authors than ever before. Access to digital resources and audiences via the internet is making this dream a reality for many people.

Publishing a novel and build a career as a novelist, however, are not the same thing. How do you achieve your dream of author success?

1. Decide why you want to be an author
Consider whether you want to be an author or whether you want to write? If you like writing and are willing to learn more about how to write well, you’ll have an advantage over those who would prefer to limit their writing to book signings.

2. Write
Writing will be the foundation of your career. As when learning to play a sport or musical instrument, instruction is useful, but it’s necessary to practice. 

Make an effort to writing something every day. If you can’t find time to write, make it. Writing for half an hour a day will give you more than 180 hours of writing per year.

3. Read
Unless you are particularly gifted, reading is essential to your development as a writer. Reading your genre will give you a feeling for established tropes, what other authors have done, what your readers’ expect, where there are opportunities, and where you fit. Reading outside your genre will help you develop broader writing and language skills.

Reading about the craft of writing, or getting some instruction online or in a writing class, is also very useful in combination with your own practice. Learning from experienced writers can save you a lot of time and disappointment, though it is no substitute for writing.

4. Start building your readership now
A Chinese proverb states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
In this case, the tree is your author platform.
Make sure that you have:

  • a website
  • a social media presence
  • and an email list.

All three of these elements will help you create your brand and your readership. Your email list, in particular, will be a valuable part of your career. You’ll be able to learn more about the people who read your books, and you’ll be able to ask them for help including reviewing books, attending your events, and spreading the word about your book launches.

For a beginning writer, building an author platform can be dangerous! It requires balancing what might already be limited time between writing and marketing. Whether you are published or independent, writing is a balance, so you may as well get it right now.

Being an author involves some daydreaming, imagination, and thumb twiddling. To make your dreams come true, however, you need to keep writing. And be prepared to share your work, whether that’s with agents and publishers, or readers.

Follow these tips and we’ll be delighted to see your dream of achieving success as an author come true.