Seven Things Authors Must Know to be Successful

Publishing is a very competitive business and the choices for getting a manuscript into print are numerous. Everyone who writes has to make a decision on what’s best for them and their manuscript or book, but the decision should be based on their personal goals and not what someone else is trying to sell you. There are plenty of so-called “experts” who only have themselves in mind, so choose wisely and keep in mind these seven crucial points.

First: Publishing and marketing of books is a business. It’s about making money and the last thing you want as an author is to have the “experts” taking money out of your pocket selling you products and services that can’t hold water in the marketplace for bookselling.

Second: If you decide that New York is where you want to be as an author and you find an agent, the business is interested in good stories, not great writing. Having the talent to string words together in a way that defies description is wonderful, but that alone doesn’t sell. Publishers are looking for good stories: the only thing they can sell.

Third: There care clearly two parts to being an author. The first is improving your storytelling skills to the point where you are ready to publish. Secondly, you have to be willing to actively market and promote your book. Publishers require it, your audience demands it, and there is no other way around it. If you want to do nothing but write, keep your day job because that is not the road to success in publishing.

Fourth: Place yourself in a position to succeed. Become a student of the marketplace so you can speak intelligently about the business. Bookstores are your laboratory, visit regularly and observe. The more you visit the quicker you will start to see changes in the market. Read your competition, not the bestsellers but the authors you never heard of who occupy a place on bookstore shelves in the category in which you write.

Fifth: You have choices on how to publish your work; don’t be foolish, but follow your heart. Your choice depends on your personal goals, so follow your dream.. Anything is possible. It takes information, knowledge of the market, and learning how to evaluate what makes sense and what doesn’t. The more information you obtain, the better decisions you will make.

Sixth: It is very easy to get published, but extremely difficult to market and sell books. Make good decisions based on solid information, and you will not fall victim to the “experts” looking to make a buck on your vulnerability. Spend a little for professional advice before you invest time and money in a venture that won’t get you where you want to go.

Seventh: There are no guarantees in publishing, never, not one. Anyone who tells you there are has only one thing in mind, to sell you something you probably don’t need. Stay as far away from these “experts” as possible, they are looking to take advantage of an unsuspecting writer and capitalize on your dreams which they don’t care about.

It’s not about just getting published, it’s about getting published correctly, in a way that makes sense in the marketplace, and fits your personal goals as an author. We’re not launching rockets, just publishing books. However, follow the successful path, seek expert advice before you make decisions, and you’ll save both time and money in the process. Remember, as an author the possibilities are endless and the opportunities boundless. You can become anything you want with the right information.

Jerry D. Simmons is the author of WHAT WRITERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PUBLISHING. He is the creator of TIPS for WRITING from the PUBLISHING INSIDER a free eNewsletter that can be found at He is also the founder of the leading social networking website for writers, authors and readers For comments or questions you can reach Jerry via email