In the days of what seems like instant success, viral posts and overnight careers, a lot of people seem to forget that for someone to have a decent amount of success takes time.
When a writer or a blogger or a singer or anyone creative puts out a product which is an instant success, what you don’t get to see is that there is often a long story of preparation. Often these people have worked for years to get to the point where they can launch a product to great success, or write something that catches the immediate public interest and goes viral. Often these people have spent a lot of time not on the product, but investing in themselves to find out what the market wants and how to best deliver that. Often, too, they have had a number of failures which conveniently get left out of the story.
Why is it then, that we expect immediate success when we start something new?
It is probably because we can’t see the learning and preparation time, unless we are personally involved with the person in question.
There is a important distinction between spending the time on the actual product and spending it on yourself, investing in your own education, investing in business strategies that won’t work just so you can find out what does work, that people don’t see.
So they burst onto the scene, expecting to make a splash with the first book they have ever written. They get taken off track by the fact that a very select one or two people indeed did find success with their first book. They don’t want to see that these people are the exception rather than the rule, and that in many cases, when it comes to their second book, these writers have not the faintest clue in the world how to repeat that first success.
To build an audience that will reliably buy your books takes time. It is easy to get a large number of subscribers onto your mailing list with things like giveaways and competitions and Instafreebie, but it takes time to sort through all of them, to retain those who are interested, and to turn these readers into fans. It takes quite a long time to build an audience that delivers you the results that you want. It takes a while to figure out who these people are, and it also takes a while for them to read enough of your books to want to buy the next one in any significant numbers.
The main ingredient in a successful writing career is time.
How do you use this time?
You learn as much as you can. You learn from people who are at the stage in their career where you want to be and you learn from people outside your genre comfort zone. Apart from that…
The companion ingredient is testing. If you have published three books and they are not selling as well as you want, why do you think publishing a fourth book in the same series is going to make any difference? Why do you think that creating volume for the sake of creating volume while it doesn’t sell is going to deliver you any different results?
Use your testing time to figure out which of the things you are doing are most successful, then stop doing the things that are least successful, and continue with the things that are more successful. Meanwhile, try something new to see if that is yet even more successful. As you learn more about the market, you’ll probably find that the chance of a new project being successful is greater.
But it is about time. It is about having the patience to give something decent amount of time to see if it works. It is about time to learn, to improve and time to let the processes you have set up kick into action.
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