Friday, May 5, 2017

5 Secrets 2 Success

For our purposes, my definition of success is getting paid to write and getting published. 

I realize, for some, just writing is a form of success and I don't mean to negate that. If you write because you like to and you don't much care about being published, then you already are successful.

However, I feel like Moliere did. He once wrote: "Writing is like prostitution. First, you do it for the love of it. Then, you do it for a few friends. And finally, you do it for the money."
To which, Brendan Francis adds, "What an author likes to write most... is her signature on the back of a check."
I'm grateful for the success I've achieved in the 40 years I have been writing and I remember exactly how I achieved it. I know the five secrets of my success and I'm going to share them with you, after the break, so you can succeed as a published novelist.

 To become a published author you have to really want to become a published author. If you really want it, if the desire is great enough, you'll make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen.
My desire to be published was so intense that I spent the next eleven months reading every book I could find about writing novels, while creating a plot for my own first book and still working full time, writing ten magazine assignments a month.
The reward? After I showed them the outline of KILL CUE, Jim and Elizabeth Trupin of JET Literary Associates Inc. in New York signed on to represent me.

My desire to be published was so intense that I crawled out of bed and wrote my first book from 5 to 7 each morning, so I could continue my magazine writing from 9 to 5. It took me eight months of an average 2 hours a day to create, write and rewrite KILL CUE, my first Veronica Slate mystery novel.
The big payoff for my intense desire coupled with hard work and perseverance was the phone call from my agent."We just sold your first book and five more." Lynx Books of New York signed me to a $38,000, six-book paperback-original contract, with 8% royalty on cover price, rather unusual for a first novelist back then. November 9th, 1988, in bookstores all over America, I became a published author.

Novelist Stephanie Bartlett, whose first book HIGHLAND JADE was published by Bantam, says, "It takes drive bordering on obsession to write for a living."
Author F. Paul Wilson agrees, "The chief thing is desire," he says. "You've got to want to do it."

Intense desire means nothing if you have no specific goal in mind. To desire, a book signing is an exercise in futility if you don't also have a goal of writing a publishable book.
Holding my first published paperback novel in my hand was a dream come true, of course. but it was also a goal which had been reached, for I believe that "goals are dreams with deadlines."

I believe you should set definite goals and visualize reaching them. Or, paraphrasing Henry David Thoreau, you should "advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined."
Make a habit of visualizing your goals as already accomplished. Be specific.
  • See your completed manuscript.
  • See yourself signing a contract.
  • See yourself picking up your published book in a bookstore. 
  • See yourself waving it in front of the clerk and saying, "I wrote this."

The thing that keeps most writers from succeeding is the fact that they don't really believe they can succeed. Believe you can do it! Why not? It's no more difficult than believing you can't do it and it's much healthier.
To succeed at becoming a published author you need to believe in yourself and you need to believe in your goals.

Stephen Coonts, author of FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER, says a lot of people want to write novels, "but what they don't understand is the sweat, blood and tears that go into doing it."

Writing novels is hard work. Pleasurable hard work, sure. But hard work just the same. In fact, I ran into a guy at a writers conference last month who told me, "I have my first major novel almost finished. I've numbered all the pages. Now, all I have to do is put in the words."
The only way to get a book written is to set up a regular writing schedule and stick to it.

Roger Zelazny says, "Write something every day. If you don't feel like writing, do it anyway."
Joe Haldeman agrees: "Write every day, come hell or high water. Don't wait for inspiration."

They're all right, to a point. I know it's tough to write every day. Life gets in the way. But I do believe you need to write every day you possibly can for at least an hour a day. If an hour is all you have, that's all right. But do it every day you possibly can. It's better to write one hour a day for nine days than to write nine hours a day for one day. Approach writing as a job and remember that, as in most other jobs, your value is in what you produce.
As the late Robert B. Parker says, "Write it and send it. The most crucial thing a writer does is produce."

To achieve the goal you intensely desire, you must remain sufficiently motivated to write the book. Writers, more than most people, need to be self-motivators. You've got to motivate yourself because no one else can do it as well as you can. Most writers get motivated to start a book, few stay motivated enough to finish it. Some call it self-discipline. I call it self-motivation. One way I motivate myself is with dozens of little phrases I've cut out of magazines and pasted on my desk at eye-level.

  • "Anything is possible if you dare." 
  • "Look who wrote the book." 
  • "The excitement of the writing life awaits you." 
  • "Year after year, success after success." 
  • "Have you written something today?" 
  • "Clear, concise, relevant." 
  • "The happiest people are those who discover that what they should be doing and what they are doing is the same thing." 

It may sound silly to you, but seeing those little signs every day makes an imprint for success in my unconscious mind.

I owe some of my success to the fact that I ignored the negative advice of a burned-out, published novelist back when I first started. A Florida romance novelist told me, "Don't even try to get a first novel published these days. The book market is crazy. The advances are down. No one is buying anymore."
I remember thinking to myself, "If the odds really are against us, how do first novels get published?"

Because some writers ignore the odds.
These brave writers ignore the skepticism of parents, the ridicule of friends, and the gloomy talk of published authors. These brave writers believe in themselves, their talents, their skills, their character. These brave writers persist.
I believe one of the most important traits you need to succeed at being a published novelist is perseverance.

Talent alone will not lead to success. Unrewarded talent is almost a cliche.
Education alone is not enough. The world is full of educated people who can't get a job.
However, perseverance, desire, and determination - added to a certain amount of talent and some informal education - will ultimately lead to success as a published author.
As British writer Thomas Buxton says: "With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable."
Besides, these days, you don't need an agent or even a New York publisher. You can publish your own Kindle books, paperback book and even audio book with very little capital outlay in terms of money

You simply need to persevere in writing and publishing your book.

Above from the book NOVEL SECRETS,
available for Kindle for only $2.99:

Lary Crews