Publishing one nonfiction book typically doesn’t provide you with a ticket to success—at least if you want a career as a nonfiction author or any type of author for that matter. To succeed in the competitive publishing arena, you need a career plan that includes a book—or more than one book—as well as a brand, a website, a promotion plan, and a business. If you take the time to craft a career plan, you’ll have a pass to travel to your desired destination: successful authorship.
Every day I coach clients using a proprietary career-planning system. I feel the plan is essential, and I recommend almost all my clients produce one early in the coaching process or their journey to authorship, professional writing or blogging, or expert status.
The 10 Fundamental Elements of an Author Career Plan
If you want to craft your own career plan, start by evaluating each of the following ten necessary elements. To do so, answer the questions I’ve provided for each.
What are you most passionate about?
What do you feel compelled to do in the world, or what is your mission or soul purpose with your work?
What three to five things do you value most?
What topics would you like to write about or do you plan to write about (and in what genres)?
What is your first or primary book idea? What three to five spin-off books, series or sequels could you write that relate in theme or topic to your primary book idea? What other books do you want to write as well?
What themes flow through all the books you want to write?
How can you use you passion, purpose, values, themes, topics, and books to distinguish yourself in the marketplace. More simply, how do you want to be known as an author? Also, what benefit will you provide to readers?
8. Author website/blog
How can you carry out your branding on an author website with a tagline, a title, colors, banners, logos, etc.? Also, how will you develop a blog plan based on your branding?
9. Platform Building and Promotion
What have you done to date—or what do you need to do—to create visibility, reach, authority, and influence in your target market? How can you build on that to create effective ways to sell your books to your potential readers?
10. Products and Services
What related products could you develop to monetize your knowledge and the content in your books? And what related services could you create to leverage your knowledge, expert status, or the content in your books?
Other Career Plan Essentials
To succeed, you must keep two other essential items in mind as you craft your career plan.
1. The Market
What is the market you are trying to reach with your books, website/blog, and products and services? How will your work and site target that market? What value will you provide to those people?
2. The Competition
What books, websites, blogs, and other authors represent your direct competition? How will you offer a unique selling proposition?
Work on the Fine Details
Within each one of these 10, or rather 12, career plan areas, there are many more fine details to work out. A completed “successful-author career plan,” allows you to develop a finely honed map from where you are to where you want to be. And it gives you the opportunity to plan out every stop along the way.
That kind of planning and focus, along with diligent implementation, will help you become a successful author.