Being an author is easy, right? Anybody can do it. Well, yeah, anybody can do it. Just write a book. But not everyone can do it well, and that’s the part that’s hard. Being an author, a good author, and especially a published author, is anything but easy, and I’m just getting started. So let’s go through this. How does one become a published author?
1) Write a book. That’s pretty self-explanatory, right? To be an author, you have to write a book. It can be fiction or nonfiction, it can be for any age group, any genre, it can be whatever you want. But you have to write it.
2) Now your book is written. You’re an author, right? Sure, but you’re not a published author. To do that, you have to read your book and then revise, edit, etc. it. Probably repeatedly.
3) You’ve finally finished editing and you’re ready to publish. So now what. Well, this is the part authors vary on. It depends on what path you take. You can self-publish, querying directly to a small publisher, or query an agent in hopes of one day being able to query and sell your book(s) to a traditional publisher. Since I’m self-publishing, I’ll go ahead and follow that path for this post, but I’ll try to touch on what I know of all of them. So, you pick which one you want, and then you start preparing for it. Pretty much every fiction author, no matter the type of publishing will have to write a blurb for their book, decide on a title, have a general idea what the cover should look like, etc. If you’re going to go with an agent or publisher, you’ll also need to write a synopsis and a query letter. You may be asked for more, depending on the publisher/agent.
4) You’ve written the pieces. Now you’re ready to publish, right? If you’ve snagged an agent or publisher, this next step will probably look a little different. But if you’re self-publishing, now you pick a release date, find the money for all your expenses, create a cover or hire a cover designer, edit/proofread your book or hire a professional to do it, create a website and blog if you don’t already have one, set up a book blitz or blog tour, beg people to review your books, create various promotional products (swag), create all sorts of social media, find events/signings to appear at, sign up with KDP, smashwords, createspace, etc. (whatever you’re using to actually publish the book), format your book (probably into several different formats) or hire someone to do it, look into legal/tax info for your state so you don’t break laws trying to sell your books (and possibly your soul), etc. etc. etc. The list just goes on and on.
5) Publish the book. Woo. You’re done. Now you can sit back, relax, and write a new book, right? Wrong. Now you have to market the heck out of it so people buy it. You have to stay connected with your readers. You have to keep posting on your website and blog. You, essentially, must keep working.
So, what’s the point to all this? Being an author is hard. There’s a lot of work involved in it. For some reason, a lot of people seem to think that being an author is easy. They think it’s just a relaxing job where people sit on their butts all day and goof around. But that’s not what it is. Not at all. But even with all the work, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being an author is a wonderful privilege denied to many. Not everyone is gifted with the ability to write, and write well, the determination and dedication required to work so hard for a measly stack of paper. But if you have that, use it. It’s a lot of work, yes. But it’s totally worth it, and anyone with enough drive and passion can do it. Anyone can do it, yes, but only if they have the true desire and persistence necessary. So, do you have it? If so, get out there and write. I’m looking forward to seeing what you can create.