Did this blog’s title just make you snort-spray your coffee?
This blog title may come as a shock, but I’d like to tell you the truth. Books, publishing, and being an author have all radically changed in the past 5 years. Today, you can’t hope to finish one book and succeed. You must think bigger. Dream bigger.
Don’t be afraid. These are incredible times. But the reality is that you need to have a series of books in a genre—or maybe two, say in fiction and nonfiction if that is your aim—and bottom line, more than three books need to come out of your wellspring or it will be very difficult to place yourself in today’s market.
While you are agonizing over rewrites and editing your novel or nonfiction manifesto to perfection, authors out there are cranking out books. Not terrible books. Great books. Don’t get mad about that. I don’t want you to see those authors as competition because they aren’t. Readers don’t read just one author. They read dozens and dozens maybe hundreds of authors over their reading lifetime. They often read every book their favourite authors write.
So it isn’t competition, it’s inspiration. Take heart that those prolific souls started exactly where you stand now: with your first book and some nagging self-doubt. They pushed through that and published or were published by an imprint or press, and then they repeated the process. Write. Edit. Publish. Repeat. (There’s a book called just that. It’s got some inspirational gems in it.)
Your biggest barrier right now is any cobweb of self-doubt clinging to your fingers. Do everything you can to rip that cobweb down. Pretend you are on Stranger Things and stumbled into the Upside Down and now have to push yourself out through that disgusting web of slime back into the real, safe world. Get through that web! Tell yourself every day you are an author of multiple books. They are in your brain. Trust that.
In aiming to finish five books, your first becomes less of a big deal, doesn’t it? If you know that you’re honing your craft; that this book may not be your best but others are to come; that you will improve until you knock out an absolutely staggering work of genius… then it becomes a question of time and perseverance. Of “knowing” you will do something amazing, but getting totally viable, enjoyable products out in the meantime.
Handy tip: Maybe write each book as a standalone so you can later put them into their best order once you have five done and dusted. Think about George Lucas. He released stories Four to Six before stories One to Three, right? If you indie publish you can ensure that your very best book is your number one of the series. Or if you hanker after a traditional book deal you can write a couple of novels and pitch them your best of two or three.
Whatever your approach—dream big with your books. Push past the fears. Surprise yourself. Go all out. Write. Write. Write. Write. Write.
This guest post is by Lizzie Harwood. Lizzie loves her home country, New Zealand, but has somehow ended up living in 7 other cities/countries so far, from London to Rome to Sydney to Paris to Stockholm including the remote land called...'Xamnesia.' (Read her humorous travel memoir, Xamnesia, to discover where that place is!)
When she isn't escorting her wayward children to school on Stockholm's metro and asking them to please stop meowing (they claim to be 'part cat')... she is the Amazon best-selling author of humorous memoirs and suspense novels, and editor/cheerleader to authors around the world.