Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January Writing Tip: What It Takes to Succeed as an Author

I hope you've gotten off to a good start on your Writing goals/resolutions this January. I'm whittling away at the few remaining chapters of my WIP. If all goes well, I'll have a completed MS to polish and submit to a couple of contests this year. 

And, by finishing, I'll achieve the first of many hurtles that line the path to publication. Did you know that: the oft-heard stat that only 5% of people who try to write a novel ever finish, has some basis in fact? Try Kristen Lamb's post, "What are the REAL Odds of Being a Successful Author" for confirmation.(Thanks to Kristen for inspiring this post!)

But, there's more to it than finishing. Kristen L. goes on to say that only 5% of those who finish will join a critique group and read craft books to learn how to make that MS better? 

And that only 5% of these will apply the things they learn to their MS.

And that only 5% of those who apply the things they learn and attend conferences where they get a request for pages will actually send them.

How many of these writers will land an agent right away? Yep, 5%.

And how many are willing to gut their novel to make it better? 5%.

What about self-publishing, you ask? Only 5% of them do the hard work of building a social media platform to promote their book and seek professional editing and apply it.

Kristen L. goes on to say that only 5% of those authors will keep writing more books until they click with readers and will seek professional editing to make them better.

After I read all of the stats, I had to take Kristen's advice to control what I can control when it comes to my stories to heart. I vow to:
  • Take the decision to write seriously (Check)
  • To write the book (Check)
  • To edit the book (Check)
  • To finish the book (Check)
  • To learn the craft (Check)
  • To accept critiques and learn from them without getting my feelings hurt (Check)
  • Network (working on it)
  • Follow through
  • Not give up after rejection
  • Write more and more books
  • Do everything I can to lay a foundation for success
And I vow to listen to good advice like Kristen's and remember that this isn't easy. None of this is easy. And I vow to stay the course, do the work, and write my books. Wish me luck!

 Next Week: The first Mini Book Review for 2015 will hit the Shade. Enjoy!


  1. Good list! The 5% of the 5%s make the percentage almost nil, but if publishing what you want, go for it anyhow. Nothing can stop you unless you give up.

  2. I know, Jo! It's daunting, but I'm not stopping. {{{hugs}}}

  3. Zan Marie,

    I'm a firm believer in accept the things you cannot change but control the things you can and need to (since not all things require our control even if we can exert some :0)). Great checklist. I hope you have a nice bottle of champagne tucked away for when each item has "check" beside it.

  4. Will Godiva hot chocolate do, Rose? :-D
    I hope I get a few more checked on this year. At least I'm stubborn.

  5. It's definitely not work for the faint-hearted! And certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme, but so rewarding to tell your story as well as it can be told.

  6. Follow through on editing... I need to take my inspiration from all the hard work you've been putting in!

  7. Oh, gee! Thanks for the compliment, Deniz. I need a warm fuzzy today.

  8. Wonderful checklist. I think so many of the non-5% people look at writing and think its easy. And then when it gets tough, they quit. But those of us who stick with it are the ones who truly love it--and the ones who will ultimately succeed.

  9. That's exactly right, Charlotte!

  10. Thanks, Zan Marie, for sharing your insights and the realities of getting published in today's market. It's darn tough out there, but your chances of success if you give up are...zero.


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