In my previous article, I walked through the first five of his eleven insights from his post:
So, let's get to the rest of the insights....
Insight #6: Whoever works the hardest will get ahead.
Since there are a limited number of readers out there, the authors who hustle the most will be successful. He mentions that "if there were twice as many books being consumed, there would be a lot more seats on the bus to successville." Right now, there is so much competition for your attention. Yet, we still only have 24 hours each day.
There are people who want to be authors, but aren't willing to do the work. They aren't willing to put in the time to hone their craft by reading, writing and revising. It boils down to sacrifice, trying to uncover that time in your day where you can write.
It is here that we find another reference to publishing a book a month. It seems counter to the insight about this being a marathon, not a sprint. He does make the distinction though that being a successful writer and making a living writing, are two different things. Successful writer finish what they start. The path to making a living will require outhustling the next guy.
Insight #7: Competition is complicated
Even though writers are competing for the same pool of limited attention, it's still a team sport. There is a fraternity/sorority amongst writers.
You compete up to a point, and then you rely on each other.
What he's really saying in this section is that, while you might compete to get that first book publishing, to make your break. Once that occurs, you join the community of authors to keep people reading, not just your books but your fellow writers.
He makes another basketball analogy here that works very well. Authors are not just competing against themselves but all other forms of entertainment. Much like the NBA competes with the NHL, NFL, or any other avocation.
Insight #8: Be helpful and engaged
Howey says that this may be the only shortcut to writing success. Be helpful in the community. You shouldn't be helpful just to get ahead, integrity is important too. Building relationships is the name of the game here.
What other skills do you have that might be of use in the community? Books need beta readers. Could you learn how to format ebooks? What about a blog? (Yes, this may be the path that I am on 😉 ) There are tons of forums out there where you can share of yourself; to build relationships.
Insight #9: Know your readers
So, once you got something that you are ready to publish, you are going to have get some feedback. If you've built those relationships, you should be able to get your prospective book read. Listen to the feedback you are given objectively. Don't take it personally. This is easier said than done for most people.
Once the book is published, "make it easy for readers to find and connect with you." Others have referred to this as building your platform. Just don't do it in a spammy way. Connect with your audience and learn what they want, how you can improve your craft. Continue to write, more readers will follow.
Insight #10: Know your industry
This is a business. You will need to understand the current trends that are happening and where things are moving. Learn anything and everything about publishing inside and outside your genre. It's important to understand the technical details about how books are made.
The current state of affairs in the bookselling world is that most works of fiction that are bought are ebooks. And most hardcopies are purchased online. Howey says that you should have an online presence for your books, specifically focusing on ebooks. Read the book trade publications, prominent editors and buyers. He also recommends following authors who blog about their experiences so that you "know what you're getting yourself into."
The Bonus Insight
All future authors are going through what you are going through. To be successful, requires focusing on the endgame, your goals. Real life is hard. Work, Family, and other things can easily get in the way. We need to stay positive and focused. Make progress every day and you will get there.
Now it's time for me to get after this.