This is a week for morality here at my blog, because I have been in a whirlwind as of late with life, but I want to take this whirlwind and turn it into a positive to help you achieve writing success and keep it.
As with success in any field, succeeding in writing won’t come easy and it won’t come fast. But it will come. Success in other fields will come faster, such as a primary income career (for the time being) or something similar.
Let’s face it, there are millions upon millions of writers, but it’s possible to set yourself apart from the pack.
I’ve talked to you all about finding a writing niche, or a genre that you can build your writing brand around.
For me, it’s urban fantasy tied in with epic fantasy since my two series place in the same world but in different time periods.
As I stated in yesterday’s blog, I’m working on an inspirational piece which one can call a hybrid inspirational/creative nonfiction story, which will be built around another brand and a pen name (my first and second initials plus my last name).
So, we have two brands to build around, and two brands I can utilize to separate myself from other writers, and you can do the same. For instance, perhaps you wish to write nonfiction but are also into writing science fiction. You can create two separate brands by using a real name for one, a pen name for another, or two pen names. It can be anything.
The first way to succeed as a writer is to build separate brands for all your work. Build around them, and watch them flourish in time.
There’s also a second way to succeed in writing and in life, for anything, so for non-writers, you’re welcome to view this article. This second way is to have a humble approach to your writing profession.
How is this accomplished?
One: Be Interactive
Okay, so first thing is first. If someone wishes to interact with you, interact back. It’s that easy. If they comment on your Twitter, comment back. Ditto for Facebook, blogs, anywhere.
You have fans and they took the time to reach out to you.
Knowing this, you need to take the time to respond to fans and followers. They’re investing their money into your work. Your work must’ve meant something to them, as they’re writing to you.
That’s pretty freaking cool, and you need to write them a personalized message. Not a cookie-cutter message like an email blast or anything of the sort.
And for the love of goodness, do NOT hire someone or outsource responses to someone else like a team member UNLESS that person is a close friend or family member who knows you AND your voice. There’s nothing more disgusting than people who hire some random person to answer fan mail. Honestly, it sickens me.
Former NASCAR superstar Richard Petty used to overstay for every single one of his autograph sessions so he could interact with all his fans. He was the most famous driver on the NASCAR circuit for ages, even after his prime.
Follow Petty’s lead and interact with your fanbase. All of them.
Two: Be Helpful
You realize that some fans of yours are aspiring writers themselves, right? Fantastic, so it’s your job to help them out.
No, I’m not saying you need to offer one-on-one Skype services or anything like that; I’d personally be very uncomfortable doing so, since I believe the best training for anyone is hands-on, not online.
However, this blog you’re reading right now helps writers.
Some of them might be interested in my books and follow my blog because I’m an author who’s published two books in a series and is on the verge of publishing a third within the next few weeks.
Some might just like my blog and have zero interest in my books. Like it breaks my heart; they’re still fans of mine because they find value in what I have to say on this blog, and that’s good enough for me.
Because word of mouth is a powerful advertising tool, and trust me, if people like your work in any capacity, they’re letting others know about it. The more you help others who were once in the same position you once were is more rewarding than any type of monetary success.
You were once walking lost through a forest of endless tips to the writing craft until you stumbled across something or someone that helped you out. So, you need to do the same for your people and hope they follow your example.
Show, Don’t Tell
Yes, you can be humble and still be a showoff.
I’m giving you permission to be a showoff, but if you think it means people need to look at and bow down to you, you’re out of your mind.
No, show as in show your readers and followers the process that took you to where you are today.
People. Love. This.
It gives you the opportunity to be an inspiration to someone else. You can show them where you were once upon a time at Point A, working X job and making X amount of money per hour. You were in debt, behind on all your bills, living on a prayer, facing total bankruptcy, whatever your story is or was, and you ended up not only succeeding but succeeding in your wildest dreams.
How’s that for show, don’t tell?
Do you realize how many people in America live paycheck to paycheck, or live without job security?
Or worse yet, are working two or sometimes three jobs just to make ends meet?
I’m one of those guys who isn’t a believer that government programs solve these problems (you may disagree with me here), but it’s because I believe in something else.
I believe there are a lot of people out there convinced their situation will never change, that it’ll never get better, and that they were destined for the short end of the stick.
This isn’t true.
Maybe you once thought this way.
You know this isn’t true.
Maybe these people are surrounded by others feeding them this lie.
Maybe you can be the one, even though you’ve never met them, to feed them the truth, the fortunate truth, a life-changing and perhaps a life-saving truth?
Share your freaking story, don’t be ashamed of it, and rest assured it will inspire others.
Your Fans are Your Partners
You’re not above your fans and I don’t care if you’re the next J.K. Rowling. In fact, I don’t care if you succeed at everything you touch, you’re not above your fans. Man, I wish certain NFL players realized this fact.
You do realize that without your fans, you have zero success, right?
You do realize that if your fans didn’t take to your work, you have zero success.
You might not even be that talented; hate to break it to you.
Let me give you an example: Bruce Springsteen never had a great voice. Some say he never even had a good voice.
But do you know what made Springsteen successful and even these days, when he turns 70 this year, what still makes him successful?
The guy can relate to his audience. He can relate to his fans.
He realized and realizes to this day his fans are his partners in crime.
If you haven’t done so, read some of his song lyrics.
The guy was able to click with his audience through some of the topics he sang about. That’s what made him successful.
It wasn’t because he had a good voice. It wasn’t because he could’ve been in the right place at the right time. Forget the myths. The guy knew who his target audience was, wrote song lyrics that pertained to them, he set them on a pedestal, and the rest is history.
Fans are partners. As you build your brand, your fans will be able to relate more and more to that brand. If you continue to work in ways that your fans can relate to, they’ll continue to follow you.
And if they continue to follow you, you’re set up for long-term success.
This should be your mission statement:
To ensure long-term success for (your name) by exceeding your readers’ wildest expectations.
Foundations for Your Success
1. TLC for all readers
2. Prompt delivery
3. Little room for error, if any
4. Heroic values
5. Partner Up