4 Reasons It’s Easier Than Ever to Be an Author

Early in my career, everyone else seemed to be control. I interviewed for a job, then waited for the hiring manager to offer me the position. I worked hard, then waited for my boss to give me a raise. I achieved bottom-line results, then waited for the vice president to approve my promotion.

Birds Fliying Over an Open Gate - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/AnsonLu, Image #15606746

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/[photographer]

When I started writing, it also seemed like everyone else was in control. I prepared a book proposal, then waited for a publisher to offer me a contract. I wrote the manuscript, then waited for booksellers to order the book. I published the book, the waited for the media to book me.

We spent a lot of time waiting. And then waiting some more. And, if we didn’t get picked, it wasn’t our fault (or so we thought).

But something extraordinary has happened in the last decade—even more so in the last three years.

The power has shifted.

As an aspiring author, you no longer have to wait on someone else to pick you. (Re-read that sentence again. Let it settle into your heart.)

You can pick yourself and get started today. The tools are available like never before. You can get published. You can build your own platform.

It’s easier than ever before.

  1. It is easier to get into print. Today you have options. Lots of them. For example, you can take the path of traditional publishing if that suits you. (That’s exactly what I am doing with my new book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.)

    But you can also engage in assisted self-publishing or just do the whole thing yourself. It is simply a matter of your goals and resources.

  2. It is easier to build a tribe. You can build a direct relationship with people who share your passion. You no longer have to go through an intermediary, though you can still do that if you wish.

    Through the use of a blog, a YouTube channel, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, you can reach thousands of people—perhaps tens of thousands of people—who want to hear from you and engage with you.

  3. It is easier to succeed. In the old days of publishing, publishers and authors had no real way to do market research—at least not at the level of individual books. Instead, they made the best decisions they could and then published the book. It was always a grand experiment. The outcome was uncertain.

    Today, we can solicit input from our tribe in advance of publication. We can test the content via our blogs and even get input on jacket design as I did last week. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it harnesses the wisdom of crowds to increase the odds.

  4. It is easier to build a business. Your book doesn’t have to be your one-shot at success. It can be the front-end of an entire enterprise. In fact, I view non-fiction books as the very top of the sales funnel. They are a way to introduce a large audience to what you offer.

    You can then go on to monetize the same content through live presentations, coaching, consulting, paid forums, on-line audio and video packages, and a variety of product line extensions. Even novelists can build a business around their books if they get creative.

Note: I am not saying any of this is easy. It’s not. It will require extraordinary focus and discipline, long hours spent perfecting your craft, and above all else, perseverance in building your platform.

But while it is not easy, it is easier. Building your own platform is, perhaps for the first time in history, possible for anyone willing to make the commitment.

Note: this post was inspired by Seth Godin’s short, inspiring book, Poke the Box. I highly recommend it.

Question: So, what are you waiting for? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    Another great post. You mention that this work needs extraordinary focus. I totally agree. When I’m not distracted by my clients my book work takes off. The minute clients take over (bless them), the book effort slows down. Guess I should re-read your virtual assistant piece!
    Still, I believe in the long-tail effect of the book – that it’s what you do over time  to add value to the book (for your audience) that matters. Fingers crossed. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, although you don’t want to lose momentum if you have it. It is much more difficult to restart it later.

  • Anonymous

    It is, indeed, a wonderful time to be alive.

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    Finding the time. Sometimes it is so hard to balance the time it takes to work a full-time job, perform my duties as a pastor and work on my book.

    • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

      Chris-
      How is the book coming along?  I have a continuous struggle with BALANCE.  There is always something I could be doing, and I feel guilty when I relax…  and then I usually realize that my priorities are all out of whack and I am missing out on spending time with my kids… grrr…

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        Still in editing stages. My wife is my editor and she is also 3 months pregnant so it may not be happening at the fastest rate right now! :-)
        Balance is so hard. By the time the weekend gets here, after two jobs all week and getting ready for life on a church staff on Sundays, saturdays become so precious. I want to do more, but I must spend time with my family, so often this side of life does not get done a lot of times. I cannot let myself lose time with my family. I love writing and blogging but if I had to shut it down, I would.

        • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

          I hear you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I feel your pain! In the end, God doesn’t give us more to do than we can do. It’s all about making choices and staying balanced.

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        Thanks Michael!

      • http://highpointchurch.us Andrew VanDerLinden

        It’s funny how no matter how busy I get I can always find time to do the things I want. 

      • Joe Sewell

        God may not give us more than we can do in His strength, but He wn’t necessarily keep us from overloading ourselves with distractions.

        • http://www.nginaotiende.blogspot.com Ngina Otiende

          True that Joe. 

  • Dedwardsiii7

    First saw offer for The Barefoot Exec on Michael Hyatt’s blog. not much of a social networker. I am a tweeter but this is even a stretch for me daily. My kids are experts. Dad should learn something from them! Thanks Michael.

  • http://www.thebrooknetwork.org Mel Lawrenz

    I have been wondering for a long time, what are the top two or three ways you have gotten people to “subscribe”? Free e-book? Others?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, the #1 way is to write content people want to read. No gimmick will get them over the hump of weak content.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        So true!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      I’m working through Bryan Allain’s “31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo.” It has helped me with defining my audience as well as my perspective which, when defined, can also improve content. I agree with Michael though. Content, not free stuff, keeps me coming back to the blogs I follow.

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    This is truly inspirational! Thanks Michael. I take it. Besides, I am reminded of a passage of Scripture which goes something like this: more is required of the one who received more. Some of the tools we use today, our previous generation only read in adventure stories! We got to create and run platforms so that we could function as ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in today’s world.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Definitely! We are the salt and light of the world!

  • http://ellisstill.wordpress.com/ Ellis Still

    Great post!!! Yet also, many people become independent and
    first time authors without a plan as to how to be successful… how to execute
    building their platform. Many can write, but few do the due diligence on the
    businesses side if things. I equate indie authors to entrepreneurs, and
    therefore they should have a business plan in addition to a personal plan from
    which they can use as a road map for exposure and sales. :- )
     

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      The business aspect of writing is often difficult for creatives. That’s why a coach or mentor whose strength lies where ours doesn’t can get us over the hump. You seem to have a handle on that process. I’m better at preparation but fumble at execution.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Time and energy are the tough ones for me. Learning to say NO to the 50 or so projects that are helpful but not essential to success. Working around a long workday of 11 hours including a two hour commute. Being tired when I get home and not being able to focus. But the big one for me is being a creature of habit. Reading Carrie’s book, the Barefoot Executive, helped me realize that I may need a radical change to get things done. Incremental change probably won’t do it. Her energy was contagious. I need a mentor like her to be accountable to.

    I can’t wait for your book to come out, Michael. There is a huge need for it. There are hundreds of pieces to this platform puzzle. We need help to put it all together.

    BTW, the Wisdom of Crowds is a book that everyone should read. An amazing insight into the way things work in our modern social world.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. I hope that the book will be helpful.

  • http://modernservantleader.com/ Ben Lichtenwalner

    Between returning from Catalyst and reading this post, it’s amazing I can sit still at all. I love this one, Michael. It is very true. I especially like your perspective of publishing as the top of the sales funnel. I never thought of it in exactly the same way. However, I also view publishing as an alternative to the advanced degree, for similar reasons.

    Excellent post sir! Thank you for sharing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree, Ben. It is an excellent alternative to the advanced degree. In fact, I think it is far more valuable. Nothing credentials you more in our culture than having published.
      What did you think of Catalyst?

      • http://modernservantleader.com/ Ben Lichtenwalner

        Too many adjectives to pick just one: inspirational, motivating, energizing, spiritual, reassuring, awesome…. Thank you for introducing me to it. My only disappointment was delayed travel forced me to miss your lab. I did speak with several who attended it though and they all spoke very highly of it!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          That’s good to hear. I’m glad you enjoyed. I always do!

    • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

      Hey Ben – check your url link to your blog – there’s a double http which croaks it.. :-)

      good article too..  thx

      • http://modernservantleader.com/ Ben Lichtenwalner

        Thanks Paul! Should be fixed now.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Lots of bloggers have been writing about the different speakers from Catalyst!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Though I have a post-graduate degree, I think that few really care about my GPA or degree. Reading, speaking, and writing are where I hone my skills. Someone who can do it is better than someone who has studied it. John Maxwell recently in his Minute with Maxwell used the illustration of a travel agent versus tour guide. A travel agent hands you the tickets and says, “Have a great trip. Take lots of pictures. I’ve never been there before.” A tour guide has lived it and experienced it and goes right along with you.

  • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

    I think this is an exciting post.  At the same time, in our “now” society, I think sometimes we lose the lessons of waiting, anticipation, and patience.  Sometimes those things make success even sweeter.  

    Self publishing is an “easy” option I’ve seen many take, and end up with a poor product sitting in their garage.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, easy or not.

    Still, a very inspiring post! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree, sometimes traditional publishing is the best course. The nice about it today, however, is that it’s a choice YOU get to make. I think this makes the waiting more bearable.

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    I honestly don’t know what’s holding me back. I know I can write something but I guess I’m still kind of waiting to get that platform where I need it.

    I really could still write and just hang out to it until the proper time. I think somewhere deep down, I have a small fear. LOL I need to “just do it”.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, lean into your fear. You’ll find it dissipates like a vapor.

  • http://twitter.com/Belinda_Pollard Belinda Pollard

    Nice to read that you are not just manning the traditional publishing barricades, Michael. The Brave New World of publishing is a very unsettled place — scary but also full of opportunities. Will we all become millionaires? I doubt it. But we might have some great adventures along the way!

    And hopefully the reader will be a winner from this. We must not forget the reader in all our fab ideas. :-)

  • http://www.musingsofedwina.blogspot.com Edwina Cowgill

    This was a great post.  My challenge: to find an acceptable balance between my writing, my writing services company, my part time job, my family,

  • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

    Love this post..

    Especially like the idea of the book as the first part of the funnel. 

    And as the first part – it might also be the best place to start for us too – as writing out our thinking causes us to organise it first, and also prioritise it around creating value for the deader and potential client..

    What am I waiting for? – that could keep me busy for days :-)

    I guess what I was waiting for was some external sign – that this is the time and the place, a sign to show me that I was on the right track..

    When really what I have been waiting for – is myself. Waiting for myself to make the decision and commitment, and waiting for myself to take the action..

    So then I realise it’s not waiting, it’s avoiding..  yikes!

    Time to step in and step up :-)

    Thanks Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love your conclusion, Paul.

  • Joe

    Great post!  How would you bring this type of thinking into the life of a typical business professional,though?  I understand the waiting aspect!  What should you do when you hear praise of your managers and even their bosses but when the time comes for a raise or promotion the results are not what you expected.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The way this really applies is whether or not you should consider going into business for yourself.

  • http://avajae.blogspot.com Ava Jae

    You make some really great points–the balance of power has certainly shifted towards the author, but I would argue that although that makes it easier as far as getting your book out there goes, it also makes things a little more complicated and difficult, especially for writers who don’t know what path to take. 

    Having  more options is a good thing, but it also makes what was once a simple decision (if I want to get published, I need an agent to then contact the publishers) much  more complicated. Deciding what’s best for each writer (for some, it might be to go indie and for others it might be traditional) is a battle that every writer now faces. Some will make mistakes and publish before they’re ready, which may have consequences down the road. 

    So is it easier to get published? Yes. But choosing the right road for each writer is now infinitely more complicated than ever before. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a fair point. However, isn’t this always the case with freedom? With it comes more responsibility, more risk, and, ultimately, more reward if you succeed.

      • http://avajae.blogspot.com Ava Jae

        Absolutely. It’s not a bad thing, just a reality that comes along with having more options.

  • Greg Peters

    A few months ago I heard you were speaking at the Church Life Conference in Jax and have been following you since that time. I am regularly challenged and encouraged. I am a Lead Pastor and also have the opportunity to mentor 4 Bible college students that attend TBC Jax. We are going to be doing you Life Plan together. My question is – would you be willing to meet for 15-20 minutes with my mentor group while you are at the conference in a couple weeks? I am personal friends with Tom and don’t want to interfere with his schedule. We would be very flexible. I felt it would be a great opportunity for these students and future leaders. My email is greg @ parkviewlife.com if you want to contact me that way. I look forward to hearing you speak!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I will have my assistant, Tricia, reach out to you. I don’t know what my schedule is right now, but I’d love to make this work if possible.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to print this blog and hand it to every writer, coach or speaker I know… maybe even stand there and wait until they read it. .

    It’s amazing to be part of this shift in the publishing industry that allows authors to stop waiting! As a book coach and content development editor, I love helping authors move forward with their dream and their content, but self-publishing only takes them so far. If you’re going to publish, to you have to take responsibility for getting the word out.

    I can’t wait to read your new book. I’m going to add it to my clients’ required-reading list!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Erin. I appreciate the encouragement!

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    I have started writing again. I went so long without doing it and my thoughts and writing style suffered. I have found that writing about 4 times a week (for my blog) has really begun to help! There are days when I feel as though what I have to say does not match up with others but I still write. I know if I stop writing, it will never get better, and I love writing too much to not do it. I guess right now I am waiting to meet some short term goals; one of them being to keep posting 4 times a week on my blog for a few months to make a habit of it.

  • http://facinggrace.com Daniel Bernstrom

    “Early in my career, everyone else seemed to be [in] control.” Great post Mr. Hyatt. When does your book come out? Thanks for the encouragement, no, really. I liked how you put the ball in our court. I don’t have to wait, and boy, do I spend a lot of time waiting. Time to stop waiting, build that platform, and jump!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      My book comes out next April. Thanks!

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    I agree, particularly the part about it being hard work. I have found more freedom over the course of my career, as some of the e-publishing I’ve done has proven to bring in some steady passive income.

    The one conundrum, though, is focus. Because there are so many things I could be doing (speaking, platform building, database management, writing, publishing, book proposal writing, blogging, etc.), it’s hard to figure out what to focus on when. Any suggestions? Or perhaps that can be another blog post!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      For me, the primary focus has to be on generating content. Content is king. Platform-building comes next. It is queen. It is easy to get these reversed. In fact, I am doing it now in responding to comments rather than writing! Argh. ;-)

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

        Good point. I’m always generating content. I probably need to prioritize the way I do that, though. I’m writing a book right now on spec, which is risky. Perhaps I should work on a few more ebook ideas before I speculate!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I want to work on some more ebooks, too. I am amazed at the amount of income you can generate. And so far for me, it doesn’t seem to wane. My ebooks sell the same amount week after week.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    Also, I’m part of a new writers conference in San Diego next year that directly addresses this trend. It’s called re:write and it’s about turning your words into income, however that plays itself out. http://www.rewriteconference.com/flash/ We have speakers from all aspects of publishing (self, e, traditional, amazon, etc.)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That looks very cool. Love the website!

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

        Thanks, it’s a Christian writers conference for a new paradigm. I’m thankful I get to be a part.

  • Heidi Angell

    It is definitely not easy! But if you are willing to work hard, at least you have options!! You aren’t left playing the waiting game, like the old days! And if agents and publishers aren’t willing to take a risk on a newbie, that newbie does have the option to go it alone! We believe in what we do and want to share it! Who are agents and publishers to decide what will and won’t be a success? I am self-publishing my first book as  we speak and have plans for another in January and hopefully a third in March or April! It is a lot of work, the pay stinks (at the moment!) and the time and commitment are astronomical! But I am doing what I love, sharing my vision with the world and that is worth more than a million dollars!!

  • http://www.lifebeyondsport.com Stephanie

    Couldn’t agree more, Michael! Never would have thought I’d be an author to begin with, let alone be releasing my third book in the next few weeks. And I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been to build my business years ago without the aid of the social marketing tools available to me today. 

    You’re right, it’s not easy. And much of the time I feel clueless and overwhelmed. Your blog has helped me immensely with ideas and examples in so many areas. I’m learning and trying to get a little better each day. 

    Thanks for being such a great resource to those of us coming up behind you!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Michael, for this wonderful encouragement to get out there. It’s true, all that you’ve said in this post. Thank you for sharing with us, and I look forward to your upcoming book.

  • http://highpointchurch.us Andrew VanDerLinden

    Thank you for shifting my focus.  This post is a great motivator to take personal responsibility for my success.  I love how a short post can show me glaring blind spots in my thinking.  (sound of shattered glass in the background)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love your metaphor!

  • http://twitter.com/jamespinnick7 James Pinnick

    Poke The Box is amazing. I always like reading your posts Michael.

    I did my work the last year and a half. I hope it was all worth it as proposal time comes these next few weeks. I know God will bless it in all directions!

    James
    Author-The Last Seven Pages
    http://www.jamespinnick.com

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Great stuff! I am currently deciding what to write about on my ebook. I will start the process when school comes to an end, but I’m thinking about writing it on character and worship?

    • http://darensirboughblog.wordpress.com Daren Sirbough

      2 Concepts that are very needed in today’s society. I think you might be onto something there

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Yes…thanks!

        _____

  • http://twitter.com/Dan_Foley_Jr Daniel J Foley Jr

    This is important stuff. Because it’s easier than ever, individuals may be more inclined to focus on their passions. When writing out of genuine interest the work will be much higher quality than if writing to get published. 

    This is what I’ll be doing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Focus is where I’ve dropped the ball. Last week went through the “miry bog” as I sloshed through dark thoughts based on so many competing voices. I’m not entirely out of the bog but I’m finding the energy to stop waiting and start moving again. Timely post and looking forward to “Platform” to debut.

  • http://www.spencermcdonald.net Spencer McDonald

    I find this article timely for myself. 

    Since I was in my early twenties I have dreamed of standing on stage and delivering motivational speeches much like an Anthony Robbins or Brian Tracy. Fear held me back. So I went to work and am did what I dreamed of doing in a vacuum so that I could not fail. It is all my fault. I own my fear, my failure, and my procrastination because I did not want to let those I love down. I feared they would leave me, disown me, or abandon me. I could not risk that, it was too much of a price. 

    Now I am nearing fifty and I am still dreaming of that break out moment where I am on stage, wowing an audience, and gaining followers to my messages and cause. Still fear grips me. I have used goals, affirmations, coaches, and other motivating devices to no avail. Still I procrastinate for fear that I will fail and no one will love me. The good news is I am finally able to admit that abandonment and no love are the factors robbing me of my happiness. I believe that at this core I can begin to change my life and realize those that love me will always be their for me and those that do not will leave and free my heart to sing songs of happiness for myself and those I choose to inspire with words of courage and encouragement. 

    Between now and the end of 2011 I am setting a laser focused goal to move away from fear and toward what my heart says I should be doing on a grand scale. I will eliminate all the clutter and busy work that drives me off course.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for your, Spencer!

  • Anna

    I have been waiting on ME!  The thought of a platform parallazed me with fear.  Well, at least I started treading water after that, not willing to go toward the deep end.  Thank you for this aritcle.   It makes me think out loud.  Who do I want to be in control?  Fear?  I have the  freedom to move forward.  You have given us such wonderful tools to dig in and do it!  Thank you, Mr. Michael Hyatt.   I WILL!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Anna. Thanks for owning it. Now you can do something with it!

  • John Young

    Many have a lot to say. We live in a world where everybody is overloaded on commentary. Dozens of iphone apps. Hundreds of cable channels we never watch. Magazine’s we can’t read and with the release of John Maxwell’s latest book with a new publisher I realize I have 2 recent titles I need to catch up on … the volume can be frustrating. But it’s encouraging Mike for you to tell everybody to keeping thinking, keeping growing, keep communicating. We have to readjust our expectations. Before if the sales numbers weren’t in the Lucado or Maxwell sphere, some writers felt left out. You’re saying it’s not the quanity sold necessarily but the quality of the effort, and that is so typical of you to leave it on a good note.

  • http://www.faithfulchoices.com Paula

    Michael, I appreciate your enthusiasm and encouragement.  We still have to wait for various things but we can actively wait instead of passively waiting.  We produce and connect and relate in one arena of our venture while waiting in another.  Diversification at its best.  I haven’t read Poke the Box yet, but I am reading Seth’s free book about results which have come from Poke the Box.  It’s called Tales of the Revolution and for those of us on an extreme budget, it’s free on Amazon.  It’s outrageously inspiring.

  • http://golfwisdomlife.com Larry Galley

    Just getting started.  Thanks so much for the encouragement.  Larry Galley

  • Reba Stanley

    Thanks for the post Michael.
    A few months ago I spoke at a seminar about Self-Publishing, and told my audience that there was a shift in the publishing world.
    I write Christian Fiction Romance, and I am self-published, which means I am also self-marketed…now that is hard. I hope this shift will continue to spread in the stores. But we are still faced with the problem that if you are SP mjr books store do not want to deal with you, and now, many book stores are closing, and independant ones are struggling.
     I am currently working on where to market my book, Praise the Lord we have different avenues on the internet to do this as you have stated
    However, we  the customer want everything now and  in all forms. If in the store we say; ‘ Oh, I can get that off the internet.’ If on the computer, we say; ‘I can go to such-n-such store and pick that up, no waiting, no shipping charge.’   I think most of us are guilty of this.
    For me as a writer, I am currently working on ‘marketing’ my books. They can be purchased from my website, fb, book signings and an oldie but a goodie… word or mouth.
    please forgive the plug.  :0)      http://www.rebastanley.com

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    This is an encouraging post. I also appreciate the ending comment that brings a healthy dose of realism. “I am not saying any of this is easy. It’s not. It will require extraordinary focus and discipline, long hours spent perfecting your craft, and above all else, perseverance in building your platform.”

    Enthusiasm must be accompanied with realism in the world of entrepreneurship. It didn’t dawn on me that being a writer is becoming an entrepreneur, until after I had almost finished my manuscript for the book I’m now trying to publish.

    I have coached several clients who dream about the freedom and independence of becoming an entrepreneur but really need that healthy dose of realism so they know what they’re getting into. I think it’s important for writers to have a business plan early on and evaluate their resources and skill sets. As Jesus said, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The verse you quote really applies to this situation. I hadn’t thought about that. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    You changed the title, didn’t you?  I see why, but just so you know, the phrase “what are you waiting for” has been jiggling me into gear since early this morning.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I did. I felt it was too general. The traffic improved almost immediately.

      • Anonymous

        It’s amazing that a change like that makes that much of a difference.

  • Afraid to Leap

    Hi Mr. Hyatt, I love your blog posts, they are always so timely. What I am waiting for is courage and confirmation from God. As a friend reminds me, “leap and the net will appear.”

  • Anonymous

    Love this Blog!  It’s exactly what I’m in motion doing!:-)  I’ll take any help I can get!  Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.charlesspecht.com Charles Specht

    Great article Michael.  Your thoughts and advice are true, and also the fact that it isn’t “easy” is equally true.  But then again that’s what separates the men from the boys, right?

  • http://twitter.com/Francarona Fran Carona

    No longer waiting…actively building my platform!

  • http://justasip.wordpress.com Mike Presley

    I’m not waiting. I was so moved that I wrote another blog last night and will publish it this week.

  • http://www.AllisonAllen.net Allison Allen

    Again, a fabulous post. Honestly, I’ve been compiling every one you send, knowing they are going to come in extremely handy as I launch into new things. Thank you for cogent and “catapulting” advice and insight.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Allison. Good to hear from you.

  • Sespinal

    This is what I needed!!! Donw deep inside I know I can do this and help people while I’m at too. Thanks…

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    True! Online platforms have given advantage to people for builing their loyal base of customers than ever before.

  • http://barrypearman.blogspot.com/ Barry Pearman

    Thanks for this. 

    I have just finished writing a book called ‘The Unguided Pastoral Missile – 5 things you need to know for the sake of others’. I have sent it off to a friend who will edit the content, then I am planning to release it and garner some feedback re page design, content, quotes etc… 

    thanks for your great posts, always helpful

  • http://www.inhisseason.com Teresita Glasgow

    Thanks for the inspiration and insight! I’ve been building my platform for a while now but I struggle with time issues (not enough of it!) I enjoyed your talk at the Catalyst Lab last week, sorry that I didn’t get to meet you during the meet and greet. I have to get Poke the Box! Thanks.

  • http://www.irunurun.com Travis Dommert

    My perception (however flawed) is that successful authors have successful blogs.  They build tribes rapidly with assistance of the air support provided by their book’s success.  

    Can you share examples of success of anyone who started with a true grass-roots effort?  i.e. blog, self-published book, consulting practice, etc.  Do most of them eventually result in a big book deal to break thru…or not so much?I fully believe what you’ve said, but more on faith and optimism than examples.  Would love to learn more about some self-made, self-promoted authors with large tribes.Thanks!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Travis, one site that comes to mind is Art of Manlines, http://www.artofmanliness.com. He got tired of seeing all of the feminized mens magazine and started up the site. It has now blossomed into a book and a soon to be released Man-votional book.

      • http://www.irunurun.com/blog/ Travis Dommert

        Thanks Joe.  Fun site!

  • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie O’Donoghue

    Mike, great post and fully agree with every point you make. I read it early this morning but wanted to take some time to think about how to word this correctly.

    While it is easier to be an author and cultivate a platform for yourself these days, does this happen then at a cost? If it’s so easy, then everyone does it and as a result there’s more noise and it’s harder to get noticed, right?

    My main question is, do you think we are starting to reach a saturation point in this current model or is there a lot of life left in it?

    And if we are reaching the end of the road for “tribe building” in this way, do you see any trends beginning to surface as to the next way to help people with a message that you believe in?

    I’m not trying to undermine your post. It’s stellar material….. I’ve probably just been listening to too much of Seth Godin recently. :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your thoughts, Jamie. First, I think remarkable content will rise to the top (especially with a platform). And it is in short supply. Second, unfortunately, most people aren’t willing to pay the price to get noticed. That is good new for those who are willing.

      • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie O’Donoghue

        That’s encouraging to know. I appreciate the value that you supply Mike. Thank you.

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    If we follow great blogs like this one or have read good books by men like Seth Godin then we have seen and we know in our heart it’s possible to build an audience, to follow your passion, and to do all the things we dream about. Yet we don’t and most of the time it’s out of fear of failure. I recently read an awesome quote that hopefully will help some here, it helped me:

    “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
    Nelson Mandela

    The only thing truly stopping us is ourselves.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Kimanzi, I am glad to see that you have started to follow your passion. I just checked out your blog and it looks really interesting. A lot of your post titles drew me in and I decided to subscribe.

      • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

        Thanks a lot Joe I appreciate you taking the time. Following my passion has gone a little slower than I imagined but I’m learning from the process!

  • http://theforwardjourney.com Michael Vaughn

    Michael, thanks so much for this post.  It gave me a jolt of encouragement when I really needed it.  I’m new to blogging (just started in June), so I’m primarily focused on learning how to consistently write high quality posts.  But I know I need to also pay attention to building an audience which takes time, energy and know-how.  I appreciate all of the great information you share.  Thanks again!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am so glad! Thanks for your kind words.

  • Ron Jones

    My son, Tim Jones, forwarded your blog and I want to say that at this point in space and time, you are right on!  Thank you for a contribution that deserves pausing to think about.
    Ron Jones

  • jim jackson

    Great advice once again!

    I have taken advantage of many of the things you have suggested over the years including becoming a Westbow author. I have indeed built a ‘tribe’ over the last 4 years as I have worked on my book. I am currently in the middle of finishing the project called ‘Days with Jesus’. It is both an applicational book that walks through the Gospel of John and is connected to 30 online, on-location videos that were shot with a camera and sound crew I flew to Israel. The idea being someone can read a ‘Day’ in the book and go online where I will be teaching from the spot where that day in Jesus’ life happened. (somewhat simialr to ‘Crazy Love’ type format)

    The book and videos are currently being edited but I thought you might like to check out the work so far. The website is not public yet and is not quite finished but an example of what you are writing about as far as focus and determination and building an audience. The project can be personal, small group or church campaign oriented so I am hoping for large impact for the Gospel.

    Anyway, I would like to hear your thoughts/ideas. If you think this project might be a good fit for Thomas Nelson I could send the manuscript to you or whoever needs to see it.

    http://www.dayswithjesus.publishpath.com

    Blessings,

    Jim
    http://www.DayswithJesus.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Jim, I so wish I had time to evaluate this, but I am afraid I don’t. If you want Thomas Nelson to consider it, you will need to send it through an agent. Sorry.

      • http://www.dayswithjesus.com jim

        Michael, no problem. Thanks so much for all the advice on this blog!

  • jim jackson

    Sorry. I don’t know why that link didn’t work. Try this one.

    http://dayswithjesus.publishpath.com/

    Blessings!

    Jim

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I had been waiting on starting a blog and building a platform for quite some time. But, as of approximately two weeks ago, I rectified that situation. I’ve setup http://www.jmlalonde.com and will be blogging about various topics on the site. It now has 6 posts and generating comments. I’m disappointed I had not started it sooner.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Don’t worry about the past.  Just focus on generating great content!  So far, I enjoy reading your stuff.  Keep it up!

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        Thanks for the encouragement Jeff! Glad to hear you’re liking what I’m writing.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          No problem!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Honestly, the only thing that is slowing me down is the time it takes me to write.  I’m already building my platform on my blog and trying to build a following.  I have several decisions to make before I get to the point of publishing, but as of right now, I have time to do that.   I’m hoping to have most of my content in place over the next few months.  It’s hard, but really exciting too!  Thanks! 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for pointing out the positives in this time of change!

  • http://www.nginaotiende.blogspot.com Ngina Otiende

    Thanks Michael..totally enjoyed this post. 

    The platform way may not be easy but compared to waiting on others to help you up, its certainly worth the cost. 

    That said, i am currently waiting (that word :)) to self-publish my book, two publishing houses interested. The waiting part is because I need get some good funds together. Meanwhile i continue to produce good content for my blog, speak into people’s lives as i work on the funds part.

    Thank you for this post, I am encouraged in the path i have chosen!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for the inspiring post Mike! Your encouragement adds fuel to my desire of becoming a writer and author. Till now, I have never given it serious thought. But, I feel I should be doing it now.

  • Mike Blue

    Thank you Mr. Hyatt for all the helpful information and inspiration! I have read every e-letter since signing up about 6 weeks ago. I’m in the process of self publishing my first children’s book and will soon enter the promotion phase. I need all the encouragement I can get in this wonderful world of networking!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jerry-hingle/6/828/95b Jerry Hingle

    This is very true, and I didn’t realize it until I read this entry. Thanks for the advice.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    amen. i have learned this truth in the past 9 months.

  • http://twitter.com/jonnymccormick Jonny McCormick

    I’m not sure any of this is easier, Michael.  Maybe it’s just different.

  • http://twitter.com/CheapLoveCarrie Carrie Starr

    I’m not waiting, I’m working.  It’s hard but I’m loving it.  People look forward to reading what I write.  That is a privilege.  Whether it’s hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands, I have an opportunity to share.  For that I am grateful.  Nothing can stop me but me.

  • Anne Marie Gazzolo

    I love all your encouraging words here! I am almost done with the final draft of my book and look forward to getting it out there!

    God bless, Anne Marie :)

  • Cristy

    What are your thoughts on doing an e-book instead of going the traditional route? Do you see it as an addition to the “real” book? Or an alternative?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think it all depends on your objectives. I would start by asking, why do I want to publishing this book? The format is a secondary consideration.

  • Rodger Aidman

    I self published my first novel with Createspace.  I have promoted it on Facebook and received overwhelmingly positive feedback.  This Sunday i will do my first book event.  In Novemeber I will have a table at the Miami Book Fair.  I have found the whole process fun, educational and rewarding.

    Sunday morning, October 23rd at 10 am I will be presenting “Summer of ’63″ to the Temple Beth Am book group. The event is open to the public and free of charge. Please come, bring a friend, and enjoy a bagel and coffee.Beth Am Adult Reading Room. 5950 N. Kendall Drive.

    Please visit and ‘like’ the  “Summer of ’63  Facebook page.

  • susan day

    Thank you! I am in the business of promoting a new series of children’s books. I am tackling it like a business. I have designed a workshop to demonstrate to children how I took the lives of seven ordinary dogs and made them into super heroes! After only a week I have had s great response from schools and libraries. I’m looking forward to conducting the workshops and promoting my books next year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/louise.thaxton Louise Thaxton

    It seems as all of your posts have been speaking DIRECTLY to me today!  I just have to write - what an encouragement you have been to me – thanks, Michael, for all you do, write, speak, and are –

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  • Eugenio Almodovar-Aviles

    I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’ve started several prototypes, but I always seem to lose focus or interest.

    Thankfully, I haven’t lost so much focus or interest as to be completely discouraged from the idea of writing my book; and I don’t want to wait around for that to happen either.

    Articles like these really help though. Thank you.