For most aspiring authors, one of the biggest reasons to become an author is the deep seated sense of fulfillment that comes with having pages of your books read by thousands or even millions of people around the world.
It’s one of the most powerfully gratifying feelings every potential author wishes to have.
Knowing the transformational influence your book can have in the lives of people around the world and how this will impact your own life is one of the biggest motivational boosters that can set any writer on fire to start their next publishing project.
But sometimes, finding your way through the whole publishing journey can get any aspiring author feeling all worked up and discouraged.
Many years ago, I was exactly in this shoes as a beginner. I remember vividly, how the thrill of writing my first book was almost eclipsed by the confusion I experienced with navigating my author journey.
Having worked with a number of authors, I realized, this wasn’t just me but, many other beginners are facing similar realities. So, in this post, I’ll be sharing with you the proven strategies, lessons and steps you can take to become and author and get your books read by audiences around the world.
Figure out Why you Want to Write
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To become an author, the first thing you need to do is to decide why you want to write a book.
Find out, why exactly do you want to publish that book you have in mind?
Is it because you want to make money selling books or you want to leave a legacy. Or is it just about becoming published?
Whatever it is, your goal for writing a book is very important. And you need to figure this out in time.
Because it’s going to influence the book you want to write about, the genre or even the niche you want to write on.
Your inability to sort out ”why you want to write” in time, might affect the success of your book and in turn, your ability to make widespread impact as an author.
Pick out your Story
After sorting out your goal, the next thing you need to do to become a published author is to figure out your story.
Here’s where you have to answer the question, what do I have to share?
You see, a lot of people have stories to share. As an aspiring author, at some point you may believe that this story you plan to share with the world is actually your own one million dollar story that will definitely become a best seller. But truth is, not all stories are worth sharing.
So, to get the right stories out, you need to identify the idea you want to write about in your book.
Whether you’re writing fiction or non fiction, to become a published author, you must identify your audience and the story that matters to them.
And since you’ve already identified your goal in the first step above, what you need to do at this point is to align your story with your goal.
If your goal is to make money selling your book, then your book and ideas will revolve around your target audience and what they want to buy.
This is where you’ll have to identity your target audience, figure out the niche and the kind of books they patronize. And then work on making your book idea to fall along these lines.
If you’re writing a legacy book on the other hand like a memoir, bio, etc. You may not need to go through the rigorous process of finding an audience.
Reason is because the goal is not to make money but to share your story and ideas with the world.
So, instead of focusing on what the audience wants, you will rather focus on understanding your audience and writing in a way they can understand and relate to your story.
Do a Market Research
As soon as you figure out your story, you need to find out if there’s a market for that story.
This is exclusively for people intending to make money selling their books as published authors.
To become an author and a successful one at that, you have to be able to sell your books.
So, to ensure that this is possible you have to find out if there’s a market for the book idea before you even get to write it.
I have seen a lot of authors who’ve gone ahead to write books without doing any market survey yet they expect to make huge sales.
This is very wrong. And it often times led to very poor or zero sales. Because, selling a book is not a matter of guess work. It’s something you do intentionally, from the get go.
If you want to become an author that sells or a best selling author then you need to write a book that will sell.
PS: Market research extends beyond finding out if there are going to be buyers for your book. It also involves finding out the right title, sub title, book cover etc.
So, even as someone who’s not intending to write for money, you can still do some market survey to get these things right.
Brush up your Writing Skills
One of the most powerful ways to become an author is to write. And to write, you need to have writing skills.
So the question is, do you have the skills to write a book?
Usually, it’s not compulsory that you should be the one writing your book.
So, having or not having a writing skill might not be a hindrance to your desire to become a published author.
Where you have the right writing skills, the next thing you want to do is to put your acts together and get started.
If your book is within a niche you’re not familiar with, you may want to do some brushing up to familiarize yourself with the use of phrases, words and tenses in the niche.
If you have zero writing skills, you might need to learn how to write or hire a professional to write your book for you, based on your idea.
Although there are some niches where it will be more suitable for you as the original author to write the book yourself.
Where you find yourself in such a situation, you might want to learn the basics of writing and then write out the book in your own way while giving it out to experts to edit it for you.
Write your Book
One of the biggest steps to become an author starts with the moment you begin to write your story.
Just as much as it’s heart warming to publish a book, writing a book can be very tasking.
To make things easier, some authors start with writing out their book title first.
I do this for most of my works and I encourage my students to start out this way.
Although you may not sometimes end up using the title exactly as you wrote it down at this point but writing it down here will serve as a guide throughout the book creation process.
There are a handful of authors that only create their book title after they would have written out the whole book.
This is mostly observable with fiction books. And it works fairly well in that niche.
However, for non fiction authors, getting it done this way might be quite tasking especially when it comes to breaking down your idea into chapters.
So, as a non fiction author, you’ll be better off, starting out with sorting your title. Although in any case, I always encourage authors to use any approach that boosts their creativity.
Now, after writing your title, begin to chunk down your idea into chapters. To make it easy to develop a central chapter theme that will still link back to the general theme of your book.
Doesn’t matter if you didn’t start out writing down your idea.
Getting out your chapter headings will make it easy for your brain to identify what to write about as you get to each stage of the writing process.
Publishing your Book
After writing your book, the next step on the journey to becoming an author is to publish your book.
So, here’s the time to decide the platform you want to publish with.
Before we proceed, understand there are two popular publishing options available for all authors.
This includes using a traditional publisher and a publishing agent or making your book available via self publishing.
At this point, you need to decide which of these available options you’ll want to use.
As a matter of fact, for someone on a budget, the self publishing option might be your way to go.
And with that, you may have to choose whether to self-publish on with an offline traditional publisher or to publish online on a self-publishing platform like Amazon.
If you’re planning to publish with top notched traditional publishers, bear in mind that you’ll need to have some notoriety to your name before you can get published with some leading firms.
Also, you may need to submit your book ideas to them for review before getting started and the ideas will have to be approved by them before you begin writing your book.
If you’re planning to self publish your book online, you can read this guide.
Promote your Book
Becoming an author does not start and end with writing and publishing a book.
After writing and publishing your book, to make a decent success, you also have to promote the book effectively.
Even If you’re published by traditional publishers who are doing the promotion on your behalf, as an author, you still have a role to play in order to drive massive sales and get your books out there to buyers.
To start with, you need to create a brand for yourself as an author.
Based on your brand, create social media pages where you can interact with your audience and potential buyers.
Beyond social media, you can also get to partner with other authors in a way that will promote your book.
Create promotional sales and other activities to boost visibility for the book.
I have written extensively on how to promote your book here.
Your desire to become an author is well thought out. And not only that, as you can read from this guide, it’s very doable.
But, to be able to become a successful author, you don’t just have to follow these steps religiously, you have to follow them consistently.
So, there you have the step by step process to write your book and become a published author.
Now, It’s your turn! What’s the most difficult thing you’ve had to face as an aspiring author? Drop your comments below.