10 Traits of Successful Authors

I’m a big believer in “content marketing” and leveraging the power of your story to build trust and authentic connection with the people you most want to serve. For many leaders, this means writing and publishing a book.

What separates the successful authors from those who struggle? Here are ten things I have encountered in the most successful authors I know:

  1. The reader’s time is precious. Successful authors write marketing copy that effectively answers the reader’s ultimate buying question, “What’s in it for me?” Not only is their promotional text clear about this, they keep the reader’s time and attention in mind as they write. Ask yourself, is the information you are sharing necessary for the reader to know?
  2. Successful authors develop their own voice and speak to a specific niche. They don’t try to make everyone like them. If you try to reach everybody, you’ll effectively reach nobody. Figure out who will be your “raving fans,” your biggest cheerleaders and write to one person you can envision who fits that category.
  3. Successful authors create a distinct and memorable brand. A successful brand is one that not only memorable but makes a person feel good about themselves by identifying with you. How will your customers feel about themselves if they are seen in public carrying around your book or seen wearing a shirt or carrying a coffee mug with your logo or company motto? Enlist the help of a professional for marketing advice in this area because your brand is much more than just a logo design.
  4. Out of sight, out of mind. The best authors err on the side of over-communicating with their readers, because they know it’s a sin to under-communicate. Make sure you keep in regular communication with your fans and followers.
  5. Successful authors invest in their work. They have a professionally-designed website and spend their time on a few marketing activities that generate book sales. They believe that what they write brings value and so they are not ashamed to let people know about what they have to say and offer.
  6. They test – They experiment – They take risks. The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing while expecting a different result. If a marketing tactic isn’t working, successful authors will try something else. But they never completely shut down and do nothing at all.
  7. Remember the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared. Successful authors practice interviews or speeches out loud rather than getting in front of a microphone attempting to “wing it.” They research their audience before they speak.
  8. Generosity pays unexpected dividends. Authors who build alliances with large organizations by helping to promote other people’s material often find that their unselfish behavior opens the door for others to return the favor and provide access to new audiences.
  9. Think outside the book. Shrewd authors think beyond the book and create lucrative spin-off products, such as seminars, online courses, raining, video curriculum, subscription service, consulting gigs, movie rights, etc.
  10. Successful authors never stop building their platform. They’re always adding more people to their email list, speaking in public, pursuing media interviews, asking for referrals, etc.

Which of these 10 traits come naturally do you? And which behaviors do you need to implement today to be more successful?

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