You, A Successful Author?
THE SUCCESS MARGIN
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
I’d be willing to bet over 90% of my subscribers have had this fantasy in their private moments. Becoming a famous and successful best-selling author. Perhaps even a millionaire.
Well, today I have some great news for you. I believe—no, I know—it’s definitely within your reach. To be sure, as an author you can even achieve fame, fortune, and immortality. Today, I am going to reveal what it really takes.
Imagine yourself having a lifestyle of which others only dream. Perhaps you might enjoy living in beautiful and picturesque places such as Switzerland and Cyprus, where I spend several months a year. How about traveling the world in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean?
First, let me dispel a myth held by most people. To be a published author, you definitely do not have to be a born genius. Or well educated. Or a master of language. In reality, you don’t even have to know how to spell. Or punctuate.
I’ve seen several of my readers and seminar attendees succeed in a very big way as authors with absolutely no previous credentials. No money. No contacts. No special skills. Just lots of desire and very large dreams.
Best-selling authors I’ve worked with come from diverse backgrounds. These include truck driver, waiter, nurse, carpenter, teacher, salesperson, professor and entrepreneur.
I believe in every single human being there is within them at least one great book. The real secret is to simply let it come out.
The fact is, lots of people would like to know what you know.
** A few real-life examples **
Lori Prokop, a millionaire writer today, was broke and living in her car just 10 years ago. She came to my seminar in San Diego. Today she is wealthy and lives on a 200-acre estate. To date, she has authored several best sellers. And she helps other authors do the same.
Joel Christopher, a U.S. joint venture partner, was a physical therapist some 4 years ago. He came from the Philippines and could hardly speak English when he started his writing career. Today he is a best-selling author.
Kris Gebhardt is a fitness expert and body builder. He attended my Chicago seminar in 1996. He had never written a word previously. He has authored several very successful self- published books. Kris has become a multi- millionaire author.
I could give you many more examples. But the point is this.
You don’t have to be Hemingway, Hugo or Browning to succeed. These above examples had zero previous experience, education or training in literature or journalism. In truth, because conventional thinking can stifle the creative process, such training could perhaps be more of a hindrance than a help.
I’ve written 15 best sellers and I had no formal education in the literary world.
But, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying writing a best seller is as easy as falling off a log. It’s not. Indeed, it requires some work and effort.
But it’s actually easier than you may think. And the good news is, it’s learnable by almost everyone.
The secret of writing and publishing success is to simply break down the sequence of what’s necessary (non fiction) into simple, manageable steps as follows.
1. Choose a subject – Write about what you know and are passionate about. If you have in- depth knowledge about almost any subject, there is a good chance that others would love to know about it, too.
If you don’t possess saleable knowledge now, you can also master any subject through reading. Read for one hour a day and you can master virtually any topic within 3 years. In 5 years you can become a world-class expert.
2. Create a book title – No matter how good the contents of your book, without a great title you are dead. The book won’t sell. A title is the headline for your book. Re-read my past articles in the Success Margin on headlines and adopt the principles for your front cover.
3. Write an ad before you write a single word.
As previously discussed on these pages, preparing an ad in advance of your book forces you to:
A. Look at the book from the reader’s point of view. Too many books are dull and boring because they are simply an ego trip for the author.
You must always seek to never bore your readers, as no one will read your book.
B. Focus on the benefits your book provides the reader.
4. Prepare a “sexy” Table of Contents--Your Table of Contents should be your road map to the book. Most are dull and boring. Make yours exciting by preparing headlines and subheadlines that are powerful. Once you’ve prepared a good ad, the Table of Contents will almost write itself.
5. Write the book--When you’ve completed steps 1-4, you are now ready to begin. Here are a few tips:
-- Write as you speak. Be completely informal.
-- A style most readers like is the use of the pronouns “I” and “you.” But mostly “you.”
-- Let your warmth, enthusiasm, and even love, show through your words as you do when communicating with a close friend.
-- Use short words, 75% of them being 5 to 7 letters or less.
-- Use only short sentences, no more than 17 words.
-- Use short paragraphs, no more than 5 sentences.
-- Persevere until your book is completed. Many successful e-books are completed in about 30 days.
Editing is vital. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation. You can hire editorial help at a reasonable cost to help you. It is often said that good writing is the result of good editing.
Secrets of the writing process which work for many authors:
A. Write every day, 6 days a week, for at least 4 hours. It’s not important if you write 100 words or 2,000 words. Consistency is the key.
B. Don’t worry about your style or phraseology in the first draft. Just get the thoughts down. Correction is easy.
C. If you are verbally skilled, make 10-20 speeches on different related topics, of course on the subject of your passion. Offer to speak free at such venues as Kiwanis, Rotary, Lion’s Club. Such organizations are always looking for presenters. Record the speeches and prepare them into chapters.
6. Come to my next seminar. I’ll give you lots of additional tips and answer your specific questions.
7. Read my book HOW TO PUBLISH A BOOK AND SELL A MILLION COPIES. You can get an ebook version at a low cost. See P.S. at the end of this issue.
8. Self-publish the book. You will have to do 99% of the marketing in any case. Why not enjoy 100% of the profits instead of the 5% or 10% a conventional publisher will give you?
And, as an unpublished author you have only a very small chance of any major publisher becoming interested in your book. But, after you self- publish a successful book, it’s relatively easy to interest a big publisher if you want to.
A few notable book successes that were self- published initially include: “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Bolles; “The Advanced Concepts of Poker” by Frank R. Wallace; “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield; “Walden Pond” by Henry David Thoreau; and “The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. A few more authors you may not realize were self-publishers are Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Carl Sandburg, James Joyce, Alexandre Dumas, and more recently, Deepak Chopra and John Grisham.
Last but not least, I, Ted Nicholas, also self- published 15 best-selling books of my own.
Once successful, several of the authors above were offered over $1,000,000 for the publishing rights by major publishers.
Here are the three benefits you can achieve as a published author:
I. Fame – Once published, you have a real shot at becoming a world-famous best-selling author.
You could become known as an expert in your field. But, even if your book sales are modest, you can enhance your reputation. Nothing else can give you the same kind of credentials as a book. Think of the impact giving an autographed copy of your book to a potential client!
II. Fortune – When you author a book, you are keying in to a wealth secret known only by the world’s wealthiest people. Poor people do not know about it.
The little-known money secret is:
Most people spend their entire life living pay- check to paycheck. They exchange time for money. This model taught in every university doesn’t work very well. It has never produced a fortune for anyone.
Indeed, this lack of understanding keeps most people forever poor. As a matter of fact, 99% of Americans, in the world’s richest country, at age 65 have less than $5,000 to their name.
Passive income is earned by the rich in the form of royalties, rent, dividends or interest.
I earn every form of passive income. However, the best form of passive income is royalty income. Why?
Unlike a salaried job, you do the work once. And you are paid over and over again. Forever. Every time someone buys your book you earn money. Financially it can be better than any annuity, pension plan, retirement program, rental property, or dividend.
As a best-selling non-fiction author, each night as you drift off to sleep you can be comforted by this thought. Someone, some- where is buying your book at that very moment. This action will help the reader immensely while you earn income.
Believe me, there is no better feeling or financial security than this.
Tip: After your book is published, do not be deluded. Unlike what many authors think, it does not sell itself. For maximum success, you must spend 99% of your time on marketing.
III. Immortality – No matter what your message in your book, your words will last forever. They become immortal.
Contrast that to any other form of communication.
Verbal communication is soon forgotten.
As professional speakers know, when you give a speech, the experts say 95% of your presentation is forgotten within 24 hours.
Your book becomes a unique legacy you will leave to your friends and family. And, of course, your fellow humans.
Knowing your book will live beyond your lifetime can provide a special pleasure which can be enjoyed only by a published author. It can be better than almost anything else, including money and property.
Here is another point to consider. You can leave the copyright to your book(s) to your heirs or charities. This can provide income for them as long as the copyright exists.
Does the concept of becoming an author call out to you? Does it feel like the song you are on this earth to sing?
It’s not an impossible dream. Don’t let anything or anyone dissuade you from authoring at least one book.
I’ll continue to do all I can to ease your path as you become a successful author. And, as always, I’ll endeavor to help increase your success margin.