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Friday, 8 July 2011

What Makes a Successful Author?

Over the last few weeks I have come across many articles that talk about successful authors. These people are successful because they have been able to make a living from writing.

I must have read at least a hundred of these articles and yet they all seem to say the same thing. Here is my conclusion:

  • Authors have to write a lot of books. Some authors like James Patterson have had over fifty bestsellers, and this particular author now has nearly one book out every month. I think this is probably one of the most important points. Everyone who is a successful author has plenty of books to their name.
  • Know what you're good at and stick to it. Names like Jilly Cooper and Catherine Cookson fit in with a particular genre. Most people will know what they write and they know what the book offers the reader. If you're a writer that likes to write under several different genres, have a different name for each. Famous names are brand names and the readers know exactly what they will get.
  • Write a book which can be part of a series. If you write a novel that people love they will be eager to read more of your work. And if that book is part of a series you can almost guarantee that people who loved the book will want to buy future books.
  • Overnight success rarely happens.  Most successful authors have been around a while and most of them didn't find success over night. They have success now and they share one important factor: they have stuck around.
  • Write in a poular genre. These books will always be of interest to the general public.
  • Keep books cheap. This is true for ebooks especially. My book, although it's not in a popular genre, is certainly cheap. I've kept it at a low price because I'm a first time author with only one book out at the moment. But my book is still selling okay. I seem to sell a few more copies each week.
  • Have an eye catching cover and a good blurb. Something that will intrigue readers enough so they will become curious enough to buy it.
  • Be consistent with what you do. Get into the community, whether that be in the real world or online, and talk to people and try and help them. If people like you then they will be more likely to buy your book.
  • Build up as many platforms as you can, especially if you've written an ebook. These online platforms enable the whole world to see your book. Good author platforms include Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Diesel, Lulu, and Manic Readers.
If you have any more ideas, tips, or advice that I have missed, please leave a comment and share them.