How do you invest in your author success? If you want to succeed as a writer, there's no doubt that it will take some amount of investing. That could be time or money or both.
So how should you invest in your author success? And if you're not already doing it, what is stopping you?
In this post, we're going to explore some of the things you should be investing in to make sure you see the most success as an author.
Invest in your craft
The first thing you need to invest in if you want to improve as an author is your craft. This will take time, money, and effort because you may need to invest in some courses, or books, or even a writing coach. You will also need to invest time in practicing your writing.
One of the interesting things about self-publishing is that there are no gatekeepers. There are no barriers to publishing. That means many writers write their first book and publish it. They put it out into the world to see whether it does well or not. And that is fine.
But it means that all those early drafts are out in the public domain. In the past, they may have never made it out of a drawer. It's up to you whether you publish your early works or not. But it's unlikely that your early works will be your best and if you wait, you will improve over time. That said, you may find that publishing your early works gives you essential feedback that allows you to improve.
Or, you may send your first manuscript to an editor who is brutally honest with you. You may decide not to continue with that draft and start a new one instead. Eventually, you write the novel or manuscript that you feel confident to publish. There's no right or wrong here. But the important thing to remember is that when you first start writing, you may not be that good and that's okay. We're not meant to be experts at something right away. No matter how talented we are, we all need to practice new skills and hone our abilities.
So invest the time in learning your craft. Learn from others by listening to podcasts, reading books, or taking courses. Invest in an editor and a writing coach if you need to. And keep investing that time to practice your writing so you can get better and better.
Invest in publishing
The next thing to invest in is publishing. Now, it's true that you could write your novel by hand in a notebook. You could type it on an archaic typewriter. No amount of fancy software or hardware is going to miraculously improve your writing or turn you into Stephen King. But if you are serious about your writing, then it is worth investing in some tools that are going to help you.
You should also invest in services and people that are going to help you be professional. You want to produce professional-looking books that can stand alongside those trade-published ones. Make sure you invest in editors, proofreaders, professional covers, and typesetters if you need to.
You may decide to hire individuals to help you with individual tasks. Or you may choose to work with a partner publisher that can give you a complete package. Whichever way you do it, make sure you vet everybody you hire. Ask around for reviews and recommendations to ensure you spend your money wisely.
It is worth pointing out that you don't always get what you pay for. Be wary of vanity publishers and shady outfits that are set up to make money from authors desperate to get their books published. There are plenty of reputable services available now. Take a look at the Alliance of Independent Authors Services Directory or Reedsy. Also check out anybody you're thinking of hiring against Writer Beware and the ALLi Watchdog.
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Invest in marketing
The next thing you need to invest in is marketing. This is the piece that most hobby authors resist investing in the most. That is because investing time is often the least fun and investing money can be the riskiest.
But investing in marketing is of paramount importance. Otherwise, how will anybody know your books exist? If you are serious about your writing, it will sometimes be necessary to invest in things that aren't as much fun. For example, you may want to invest in that Writing Fantasy course for fun. But you know your writing would benefit a lot more if you invested in a book marketing course.
It can be hard to know the best place to make your marketing investments. Should you invest in ads, for example, or should you throw some money at publicity? Or are you thinking about hiring someone else to do your marketing for you? There is no right or wrong answer and what is best for one author may not be best for you.
If you're starting out, I recommend investing in a book, a course, or a coach who can help you understand the basics. Then you can put together a marketing strategy.
Once you have a marketing system in place, you may want to invest in learning about a specific area of marketing. That's when you may decide to take a course looking at Instagram for authors, or how to run profitable Amazon ads.
Remember that these things are tactics and they won't usually work well on their own. It's important to have a big-picture understanding first.
Once you know how and why you're using certain strategies, then you can look into hiring some help. Or you can set aside some budget for advertising or PR.
Invest in yourself
Finally, invest in you. If you want to treat your writing as a business and invest in your author success, then you should invest in yourself. That could be in your learning, your self-care, or something like childcare. That can free you up so that you can schedule more time for writing and marketing.
Remember, as the author, you are your author business. It's important that you take some time and some of the budget to invest in yourself. This may mean investing in some childcare, as I said, or investing in a cleaner who could also free up some of your time. It may mean investing in regular massages or manicures or things that help you feel relaxed. This will allow you to bring your best when you sit down to write and help you focus on publishing and marketing.
Investing in yourself may even mean paying for a week in a local hotel. That way you can get away from all the day-to-day chores and interruptions. You can stop being the mom, the full-time employee, or the carer for a week. Instead, you can focus completely on your writing. You could manage to get your first draft completed or deal with all your editor's corrections.
These investments in cleaners and childcare and hotels may feel like unnecessary luxuries. But if they help you get your work done fast and to a high standard, then it could be well worth the investment. They are totally valid ways to invest in your author success.
And if it's not something you can afford to do right now, then put it on the wishlist. If this is something that you want to be able to do for the next book, what do you need to do now to make it happen? Think about the marketing you need to do now that will help you bring in the income that will pay for those luxuries next time.
Still not sure where to start with that marketing plan? Download my free 7-step guide to growing an author platform!