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.

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  • 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.