I opened one of the boxes that had just been shipped to my garage and reverently lifted out a copy of my first novel. It was a thick book, boasting all of 290 pages, and it had a glossy cover. Best of all, it read “Shades of Teale by Susan Crossman.” A shiver of awe rippled through me. After 13 years of turbulent effort, I was now a traditionally-published author! There is nothing in the world like seeing your name on your first book, although seeing my name on my second, third and fourth books has been a source of masterful delight as well. But it had been a tough slog to get that first book written and I was incredibly proud to have completed it.
If your book work is stalled at the station, like mine frequently was, you might benefit from these tips on short-cutting the process:
- Believe in your project and find a “higher purpose” that puts your book in service to your readers. As writers, we’re often egotistically focused on the idea becoming a published author, and that can often lead to questions like, “Who am I to think I should be writing a book?” “Who will ever want to read what I write?” Forget about you. Focus on your ideal reader, that one person whose life will be changed by your book. They need it!
- Believe in yourself. You are presumably writing this book because you have an interesting idea, thought, belief or character that you think deserves a chance at a life outside your head. Why shouldn’t that story come to life? We would never have heard of people like Jane Austen or Stephen Covey if they had given in to self-doubt and dumped their first half-finished manuscript into the fire. Maybe you won’t get published. But how are you ever going to find out if you don’t keep going beyond all reason?
- Be persistent. It takes a huge amount of effort to drive a book to publication. If it were easy, we would all be buried in the books written by everyone who has ever thought of writing one. Writing a book requires almost obsessive dedication. Keep at it!
- Learn, learn, learn. Guess what? There are things you don’t know about the craft of writing, the process of writing a book, the intricacies of publication, and the challenge of book marketing. It’s unlikely all that knowledge is going to download itself into your noggin in one thunderclap of enlightenment. Finding out as much as you can about each of these topics will save you time and money.
- Find ways to be accountable for your own success. One of the big reasons it took me so long to write my first book was that there was no-one in my life who understood the book world and could mentor me to success. That’s why I’m running my creative retreat in France this fall. I’m here to stand beside you and cheer you on to the completion of your book so you don’t have to feel so alone on what is possibly the biggest project of your life so far. Check out the details, and book a call with me to see if this is the right fit for you. Your audience awaits.