5 Reasons Authors Need to Upskill – and it’s Not Just About Writing

So you’re a great writer… hell maybe you are even exceptional at it.   You’ve studied, practiced, and can churn words out faster than a hungry cheetah can run down a rabbit, but your books are still sitting there waiting for the world to discover your brilliance.

What’s the missing ingredient?

Your ability to sell your work.  If you are a writer, you can either make like a 19th century poet and call what you do art, and consider dying of starvation as an occupational hazard if you can’t find a patron, or you can man (or woman) up in this 21st century and accept that being a writer is not just about writing anymore.

It’s time to upskill and there are several areas you need to get smart in.

1) Administration.

If you don’t know how to file your taxes, pay your bills on time, or manage any simple administration system for these things, you will rob yourself of valuable writing time.   Why would you do that?

2) Commercialising at least some of your work.

If you want to hold out for the 29th pubiishing house to make a serious offer for your great manuscript, that’s fine – really it is.  But while you are working on your own version of War and Peace, you could do well to keep the rent paid by marketing yourself as a wordsmith of some description.  It’s amazing how many people really don’t know how to string two sentences together and remember that your own ability to do so is of value to those who cant.

3) Asking for your worth.

Getting comfortable with your own value is one of life’s big hurdles for most people.  It’s a learnng thing – but if you want to write for a living you really need to get out of your own way and learn this one fast.  Stop selling yourself for 10 cents a word, or $30 dollars an hour.   If you believe you are a good enough writer to be a best seller – and why else would you be pugging away at that great novel every day instead of ‘getting a real job like your mum and dad keep suggesting – then know that you are worth more than peanuts – and believe in your worth. Then when that publisher does call with an offer you’ll be ready and if need be, willing to negotiate for your worth.

4) Learning to say no. 

If someone is going to ask you to buy into their schemes for fast tracking your publishing dreams and it sounds a little too easy, or too good to be true, then trust your instincts and say no.  You might also need to employ this skill when someone asks you to get a job instead of sticking to your dream, or to give up on your writing dreams completely.  Learning to say no is really about backing yourself when you need to and NO to all the naysayers, swindlers, and promise merchants who are there on the side of the road waiting to derail you.

5)  Social Media is Magic – if you know how to use it!

Social Media is the one thing that Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde would have put to good use and it would have catapulted them through a lot of the early days of being dining on hope and dry crackers.  You have the ability in this day and time, to market yourself, and your many skills directly to your readers.  If you learn how to harness the magic of good social media marketing, the world truly is your oyster.  If you think it’s too hard, you’ll wait so much longer to ‘get that lucky break’.

Great authors are using social media to get faster results for great books, and average authors are too.   It’s about getting busy faster and using the resources you have at your finger tips to start earning an income from your writing sooner rather than later – in multiple ways.

Being a great writer is about writing, but you still have to live, and nurture your dreams along the way.  A writer’s game is an interesting one – we can create anything we like, so let’s create our own destiny as well paid wordsmiths too.

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