It’s important to know what writing success looks like to you. Having a clear vision of your personal success can help you achieve it.
In a previous post, I suggested that one way you could develop a publishing success vision was by completing the following sentence: For me, nonfiction book publishing success looks like…
You could actually make this your writing prompt for today and write a full essay on the topic or several paragraphs at least. You might write about it in the past tense, as if you’ve already achieved the success. This can be very powerful—to see yourself as already a successful author. Allow yourself to compose the piece as if you are writing fiction; try to illicit feelings within yourself (and in your reader) as you write.
Write as much as you like! Describe your success in detail.
As mentioned in that previous post, don’t forget to answer these questions but also include this information in the piece:
My publishing success also includes selling ___________ books per year.
I’d like my book to sell ___________in its lifetime.
This success will affect me and my life in the following ways:
Consider placing the finished vision of success close to your computer and reading it often. It’s a good idea to read it every morning when you wake up or start work and every evening when you complete work and just before you go to sleep. This will inspire you to keep moving toward your goal of a successful book – whatever that looks like to you.
You also can create a vision board or map of what success looks like to you. This can be a visual representation to help you get into a feeling place with publishing success and remind you daily.
Get From Your Vision to Reality
So, how do you get from the vision of being a successful author to the reality? Work backwards. Once you know what success looks like (and feels like)—how many books you want to sell, for example—figure out how you will accomplish that. Create a step-by-step plan to make it happen.
For each image or item in your vision of success, write down 3-5 things you can do (at a minimum) to help you achieve that goal. If you want to sell 5,000 books per year (or 500), for example, what will you do to accomplish that? If you don’t know, write down:
- Hire a coach.
- Read 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, The Frugal Book Promoter, The Savvy Book Marketer’s series, and Guerilla Marketing for Writers.
- Hire a PR or promotion expert.
- Hire a social media coach.
- Research the tactics used by bestselling authors.
You get the idea. Then create promotion plan for 3-6 months prior to publication of your book, 3-6 months after publication of your book, and 6-12 months after publication of your book. You might also want to have a plan for 1-3 years after release of your book.
If you are trying to build an author platform, you might want a plan for 1-3 years prior to submitting a proposal to a publisher or releasing your indie book.
This is the kind of promotion plan that publisher are looking for in a book proposal. It’s quite simple really—just a list of bullet points that say how you will help sell your book. Whether you plan on self-publishing or becoming traditionally published, however, it’s your success plan. So, create one and then follow it.
When you combine this promotion plan with your written success vision and your vision board, publishing success comes more easily. You have a way to visualize your success and to feel as if you are successful already—so you get inspired and energized—and a way to take action to achieve success. If you still feel you need help, hire a coach to encourage you, provide you with additional help and to make you accountable for your action plan. Before you know it, you’ll be that successful author you dreamed of becoming.
Good big picture advice, Nina. You’re right on that the first thing to do is to define success for oneself. So many people miss this, and not just aspiring writers. I’ve started doing this in other areas of my life too. Instead of having vague notions, or none at all, of what I want from attending a conference, say, or taking a class for fun, I try to be clear with myself about what I really want to get from the event or situation. It keeps me from wandering aimlessly at a conference for instance, or primes me to ask questions at the workshop.
Nina Amir says
Great advice, Clara! I’m with you. I like to go in knowing what I want–so I can get it! Good luck to you, and stop by and comment again.