Polly don't need no cracker
I lifted this from Facebook, one of the hidden gems that can sometimes be found there. Leanne Owens is a self publishing author that has seen some success. More than many will, I suspect. She is the prototype of the writer I would like to see in the Writer’s Wrench. Someone that recognizes we always have more to learn and can find room for improvement no matter our level or experience. Thank you Leanne.
Posted by Leanne Owens on Facebook.
The chance of becoming a millionaire from writing books isn’t much different from the chance of becoming a millionaire from winning lotto. If your aim is simply to ‘be a millionaire’, keep buying lotto tickets and spend your spare time on hard physical work to pay the bills and put food on the table.Most of us write because we love writing – it’s an art that we work on all the time to improve until it reaches the point where other people love reading what we write. I doubt I’ll ever make a million from my writing, but I love my five-star reviews, I love getting fan letters from readers, I love making enough from the art of writing to pay bills… but even if it didn’t pay the bills, I’d still write because the stories want to be told. I write because that’s my voice – some sing, some draw, some grow, and we, the authors, write.Writing is like other forms of art. It helps if you have a natural ability, but nothing beats thousands of hours of practice. I have over a million words published in books but, before that, I probably wrote ten or twenty million words in unfinished books and unpublished stories, articles for magazies that were published, as well as writing exercises. To be a great pianist, you don’t just decide, “I want to play the piano and become famous next year”, it’s a life-time commitment to the art that may or may not pay off, but all those people who love playing the piano don’t stop because it doesn’t pay big money, they continue to play because they love it.
Writing is an art like playing the piano. Commit to it as an art that you need to perfect, and practice until your writing becomes something that others want to read. Unfortunately, Amazon has created millions of authors who think that just because they wrote a book and published it, they should be making lots of money from it. They don’t realise that they are like tone-deaf piano players who sat down to a piano for the first time six months ago, can’t read sheet music, don’t know the difference between staccato and legato, and have no idea when they are hitting the wrong notes, but expect people to pay them to play.
The piano-player simile is not an insult – we all started there. None of us were born with the ability to write a book that readers love reading. In the world of ‘books-published-in-English’, most of the successful books are from people who have English as a first language and who studied English at school for 12 years, then many continued to study it at university, and then spent years or decades perfecting the art of writing before producing a book that people buy and recommend. That makes it difficult for English-as-2nd-language people; it’s not impossible as many have achieved success BUT it requires a lot of commitment, dedication, and practice to reach the level of writing that readers are willing to pay to read.
Simply ‘writing a book’ without the proper skills is not much different from someone who sits at a piano and bangs out sound without any idea of how to make a tune. I’m not writing this to disillusion you – if you love writing, you will love all the learning and practice that goes into becoming the sort of author who creates books that readers want to buy. If you want to make a million or want a quick return, it’s not for you. If you love writing, love telling stories, love learning how to improve your writing, then keep going because that is your voice.HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL
- Read extensively. Read thousands of books by successful authors.
- Learn the art of the language in which you will write – unfortunately, English is one of the hardest to master but it gives you the chances of the best sales once mastered. If English is not your first language and you are struggling with it, perhaps forget the money and success, and write works of art in your own language.
- Practice writing. Write millions of words so that they flow from you like music from the hands of a concert pianist.* HAVE A PLAN: the key to success as an author on Amazon is to:
- write REALLY well,
- write books of good length (readers dislike ‘books’ that are under 100 pages, yet I see people trying to sell ‘books’ that are only 20 or 30 pages… they aren’t books, they are, at best, poorly written short stories and should never be priced at more than .99 as an eBook)
- edit so well that there are almost no errors (I often look at books written by people here and in the ‘look inside’, the first pages are filled with errors and that will turn off readers – you are unlikely to get sales if they spot errors and awkwardness on those first pages.)
- have a great cover not one ‘you had a go at making yourself’
- write in a series and publish close together so readers can read all of them one after the other – if they like the first one, they will read the rest. If they like the first one and you don’t have the rest of the series published, they’ll forget about it.
- market well… that usually means spending money.
- repeat, repeat, repeat. If you’ve done all this, by the time you publish 15 – 25 books, you’ll be making good money (not millions, but an income). BUT IF YOU DON’T WRITE WELL, YOU WILL NOT MAKE MONEY FROM WRITING.
- Have integrity and be honest. Don’t do review swaps or pay for reviews or try and scam people into buying your book with sad-stories to make people pity you (I am genuinely sorry for those with real issues, but most people trying to sell books based on a ‘sad story’ are con artists, and it’s difficult to judge the genuine sad stories from all the liars). Having good reviews can help a book be noticed BUT if it’s not a good book and it has good reviews, readers will report it to Amazon and you may be removed from the platform. There are plenty of books of one- and two-star quality that have several fake five-star reviews as the authors think it will help sales BUT it makes genuine readers angry and they report those books all the time.Good luck. Writing is an art. Learn it. Respect it. Love it. There’s probably only one chance in a million that you will be good enough to become wealthy from writing, and that’s only if you do all the years of hard work to become a great writer first. Do the hard work.