Friday, August 5, 2011

How To Succeed In Publishing

Okay, so today I'm going to give you the secret to succeeding in publishing. Your definition of success matters not (whether you're considering self-publishing, POD publishing, traditional publishing, etc.).

Today, you get the golden secret of how to succeed in publishing. Many of us thinks this means releasing a book. If that's what you call successful, so be it. I think there are different levels of success, and those are constantly changing for each author based on where they are.

So. Set in your mind what you would consider a success for you and your book.

This is how you achieve it.

Are you ready?

Step One: Write a really good book.

That's it. There is no magic formula--or even a step two! It doesn't matter how many blog followers you have, or how many people like your Facebook fanpage. It doesn't matter if you have 10 critique partners or just one, and it doesn't matter if you tweet your brains out.
(I'm not saying these things aren't good to do. They are.)

What matters is that you craft, write, perfect a really spectacular book. After that, the followers and likers and fans (and sales!) will come.

So get out there and write that book. Write the heck out of it.

What defines success for you? What do you think the secret to success in publishing is?

36 comments:

Miriam Forster said...

That. Is Awesome. :)

People have started to ask me for writing advice lately--which is a head trip, btw--and I always end up saying the same thing. Finish your book and write another one.

Nathan Brandsford said on Twitter recently that the solution to every writing problem that has ever existed was to keep writing.

No matter how you slice it , it all comes down those words on paper, doesn't it?

Gina said...

I wish it were really that simple!

When your CP's love your ms and your characters and your premise, but the form rejections roll in anyway, it's hard to believe your writing is spectacular. I'm trying, though!

Tiffany Garner said...

Haha great advice, Elana! I was looking forward to something about querying or marketing, but you're so right. If your book isn't up to par, none of the other stuff matters.

I love your blog! You always have such great things to say!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love it! It really does all come down to the writing ... obviously :)

Kelly Bryson said...

Okay, but did you know that writing a book takes a really long time??? Haha. Good advice, Elana. Back to writing, getting off the internet now!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Small but important details.

Em-Musing said...

Success for me would be the whole world applauding me...uh oh...better get off my pedestal in the clouds and perfect my craft to write that bestseller.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Excellent & so true.

Success is sticking with it and keeping my thirst for learning and improving.
~ Wendy

Matthew MacNish said...

Never give up. It's the only way to fail.

Stephanie McGee said...

I know I've talked about this on my blog, but I really liked something I heard Warren Buffett say on the subject of success. It was something along the lines of that if at the end of the day (figuratively speaking), the people whose love and respect you want have given it then you've been successful.

Cynthia Lee said...

Yep. That's it exactly.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Writing a compelling and exciting story is the bottom line. However.... to have that book published you need to get it into the write hands. TIming is everything as long as you have the goods to deliver.

Success as a writer is to have your work loved, respected, and appreciated. And having it turn into a movie wouldn't hurt either....

Susan Aylworth said...

That's the answer, Elana, and really the only answer there is. I have to admit that some luck is involved too, plus some hard work in promotion. (If you write an excellent book and few people ever see it, that may not constitute much success, right?) At the same time, when you start with a great book, there is a point to seeking the good luck and putting in the hard work. :-) Thanks for the "secret."

Carolyn V said...

Hey! That's perfect advice! Now to do it... =)

storyqueen said...

I think the secret is just what you said...and add to that: Never.Give.Up.

Nobody who ever had a lot of publishing success ever gave up.

Shelley

Jen said...

For me success is knowing that I've put in the work, and that people enjoy reading what I've written. I don't know that I'll ever be published, but I do know I want to try.

ajkulig said...

On some level it is that simple, and if you are searching for success that is the thing you should strive to acheive before all others BUT then you start thinking about all the really awful books that were "successful" and all the things you could be doing to make yourself better in other areas.

As much as it stinks, there is so much more to being a writer these days.(As you know) I don't think a fantastic book can save you if you don't take a little time and learn about the business. If you don't learn that then you will have no idea what to do with your great book next ;)

Heather said...

I think you're spot on about the secret to publishing my dear. That's what it all comes down to, a good book.

June G said...

Exactly. So simple, it's amazing that many people don't see this. It all comes down to a great story that people want to read.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I love love love this post! I guess I'd say the secret to publishing is not to care about getting published, but care about making the book as good as it could possibly be. :)

Angela Brown said...

I'm with Gina on this. When you have so many people, beyond those you expect the bias from, display a great affection for your story yet each query returns a No...it sort of makes you wonder.

But you are right on point, afterall...you don't craft a good book, you choose not to keep going, well, can't complain when you aren't published. I don't know anyone who's found success in giving up

Chris Phillips said...

This has inspired me... to entitle my next work A REALLY GOOD BOOK written the heck out of by Chris Phillips.

Leigh Ann said...

First: *waves hi to Gina in comment 2* I'm one of the CPs who loves her work. ((HUGS))

Second: I have to add the same thing Matthew did: NEVER GIVE UP.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
(From "To be of use" by Marge Piercy)

Thanks for another incredible post Elana!

Martha Ramirez said...

Viva La writing!!

Stacy Henrie said...

Great definition for success!

Adam Meyers said...

I have no idea what defines success for me, other than making a living and supporting my family by my writing ventures. But then again, is there much else after that? I'll definitely be happy if I can pull that off now...

Jessie Humphries said...

Well said Elana. But surprising coming from the Queen Bee of social media. But not really, because it is the most important thing.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Yup. You pretty much nailed it.

Writing a kick-ass book isn't easy, which is where most people get tripped up, I think. And knowing when your book has reached the kick-ass stage is pretty hard, too. But you definitely need to get there.

Jessica Nelson said...

I like my book and hope others do too. That would be successful, I think.

Royce A Ratterman said...

Straight to the point!
Reminded me of my father's words, "Don't talk about it ... do it!"

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm trying to work hard on that part. I've really dropped the social networking thing the last several months but I'm trying to get back in the swing of things. However, if it comes between the two, I'm picking the book. =]

Roland D. Yeomans said...

J K Rowling was asked how to be published, and she replied, "Write a book the publishers want to publish."

To which I had the ghost of Mark Twain write on my blog, "You think?"

The Guardians At The Gate are nervous. The purse strings are cinching up tight except for what whispers it is a sure sell to the readers.

But what is a sure sell to the readers nowadays?

The answer -- Samuel Goldwyn's : "Give me the same thing -- only different."

Yeah, and after I do that, I will establish world peace and pay off the National Debt!

As always, a thought-provoking post, Roland

Theresa Milstein said...

You make an excellent point. The book is the most important. Without the book, there is no platform that matters.

Now to find an agent who loves my book...

Karen Lange said...

I agree! Nicely said. :)

Jeff King said...

Wish I knew… but one day I will. Thx for the advice.

Brenna Braaten said...

I think the biggest secret is not giving up. You have to work hard at writing a good book. It may take you three or five or 10 times to write a good book. Success is not quitting the first time you don't get it right.

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