Many people still believe they need a literary agent to become an author. They spend months crafting the perfect book proposal and then months searching for an agent. If they are lucky enough to find an agent who wants to work with them, they then can wait six months to a year to hear if any publishers are interested. In all of that time, a book could have been written, edited, designed, and published!
There are plenty of myths about book writing that could be holding you back from creating success as an author. Let’s make sure you’re not missing out on the benefits of book publishing just because you believe one of the more common myths in the marketplace.
Myth #1: I'm Not a Good Enough Writer to Be an Author
Writing a great book – especially in the non-fiction space - has very little to do with being a great writer. It has a lot more to do with understanding the reader who needs your message, being able to communicate your message in a compelling and clear way, and then creating a team that can help you write, polish, and publish the book in a way that will connect to your ideal reader.
If you know your reader and you know something that will help them with the things that are keeping them up at night you can be a great author. Maybe you need the help of a writer or a book coach. Possibly you need to talk the book out, transcribe it, and then dig in to edit it. There isn’t one way to get a book done but there IS a way to get a book done if you have a message to share.
Myth #2: Books Don't Sell, or Also Authors Don't Make Money
Oh, yes, there are plenty of non-fiction books that don't sell very many copies. There are also plenty of authors who publish a book and expect it to sell without doing anything else. So, if you want to be an author with a book that is selling, think about how you’re going to make money from your book and position your book to succeed from the start.
Write a book with good positioning so your reader can clearly identify the book is for them. Work to connect with influencers that have your reader in their audience (use the Ingram Spark Reader Insights Reports for your genre to get a starting list of who to contact and connect with). Plan to run ads. Pitch yourself to podcasts and media. If that sounds like work, guess what? Creating success as an author is almost never an accident. But believing that books and authors don't make money just isn't true, and you get what you focus on so focus on creating prosperity and reader connection.
Myth #3: Self-publishing is for People Who Can’t Get Traditional Book Deals
Maybe a decade or so ago this was closer to the truth but the reality is that many authors have realized that the publisher is a middleman you don’t need, and a middleman that doesn’t know your reader the way you do, takes 80% of the profits in exchange for not that much benefit and controls a lot of aspects of your book including the content. For many authors, the slow speed of trad publishing and the loss of rights and royalties makes self-publishing the first choice by a landslide. The big thing most authors don't realize is no matter whether you get an agent and a book deal or not, there's only one person who is responsible for selling books, and it's that lovely face looking back at you in the mirror. If you have to sell the books, why not get paid all the royalty money?
Myth #4: You Need Inspiration or the Right Time to Write
The downside of even believing this is a little bit true is that it can negatively influence your behavior. You may have moments where you feel so inspired and the book just flows out of you, so it can feel true on those rare days that is how things go. But if you actually believe that this is true, you will miss out on all the opportunities and situations that can spark curiosity or where you create something just by sitting down and doing the work over and over again.
Creativity does not reside outside ourselves. Train your brain to produce and be creative. Don’t wait for inspiration, create it! You don't need skills, a publisher, inspiration, or even the right software to write a book (We didn’t even talk about software … but you can write a book on Word, a notepad, or even on your phone if you want to!). You do need determination, energy, and the ability to surround yourself with the right people. But you can write a great book and you can absolutely make money from it if that's what you want to do. So, don’t wait for inspiration or for an agent, go on and set aside time in your calendar right now and get writing.