I think my husband is a little bit weird.
I don’t think I’m the only partner to think this way about her significant other (am I right?), but it wasn’t until very recently that I started to figure out what makes him so (adorably) socially awkward.
Back when I was in college, I spent my Tuesday nights taking advantage of Domino’s Two for Tuesday deal and watching American Idol in my dorm room.
When Michael was in college, on the other hand, he spent Tuesday nights at the computer science lab, working diligently on his current coding assignment and studying his butt off to stay ahead of the game.
You see, from the time he was a little kid, all Michael wanted was to be a computer programmer. And he knew he would have to work his butt off to get there. So, while other college students were checking out parties (and each other), he worked.
And studied. And read. And sacrificed.
So, when I quote an obscure movie from 2003, and he’s never heard of it…maybe I should cut him a little bit of slack.
How about You?
We get emails from authors every day who are confused, overwhelmed, fed up and tired of being jerked around on the Wild Wheel of Publishing Success. The complaints themselves really boil down to this one, simple truth: your writing career isn’t where you want it to be.
But, to me, the really interesting question is: Why?
Why aren’t you achieving the success you want?
What’s holding you back? Sometimes, it’s a force out of your control…
…but, other times, it’s you.
Are you committed 100% to achieving your writing goals?
Look, I know this topic is a bit of a departure from the norm here at Duolit, as we certainly love us some boundless positivity. But, every now and then, it’s incredibly important to ask yourself the hard questions and marinate on the answers.
Part 1: The ‘How Bad Do You Want It?’ Author Success Test
How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming
With that one thing on your mind?
Cause if you want it all
You’ve got to lay it all out on the line…
Ah yes, wise words (if not grammatically correct) from the American county artist Mr. Faith Hill (ahem, that’s Tim McGraw, for you non-Southerners).
Those words, simple as they might be, are also incredibly true, especially when it comes to publishing success. Successful indie authors, in particular, know this better than most. While some may argue that, in traditional publishing, some success is given rather than earned (although I would disagree with that statement in 99% of cases), indie authors cannot take success for granted.
Take an honest look at where you are in your writing career!
Before you start the simple quiz below, promise to be 100% honest in your responses. No one else will be checking your responses, and being less than truthful only hurts yourself.
Here’s how the quiz works: Rate each statement below on a scale of 1-10 depending on how much you agree with it (1 being not at all, 10 being completely):
1. I make time in my schedule to work on writing and book promotion, even if it comes at the expense of my leisure time.
This answer reveals your Attitude toward your writing career. Are you willing to sacrifice geeking out at the premiere of Iron Man 3 or catching up over coffee with a long-lost friend to finish that blog post or email those readers?
We recently worked with an amazing author who was battling a shift job, an infant, his writing career and CANCER simultaneously — if he can make time to write and promote his work, you can too!
2. I spend idle time (standing in line, driving, riding public transit, breaks at work, sitting in a waiting room) planning/thinking about my writing/promotional efforts.
This answer reveals the Creativity you put forth in working on your writing career. When you don’t have a bunch of extra time (which, let’s face it, many of us don’t), being creative and carving time out of your schedule wherever you can becomes extremely important.
For me, this means never sitting idle when I could be productive: I carry a notebook everywhere I go to capture my latest Duolit post idea or Coffee Date inspiration. For less than $5 (the cost of a notebook and never-fail pen), I can easily steal time to work wherever I am!
3. I’m willing to invest in professional cover design, editing and marketing services to give my book the best shot at success.
This statement reveals your publishing Business Sense. Authorpreneurs (LOVE that word), understand that their book is an investment and know that having a quality finished product is the first step on the road to success.
Don’t want sticker shock after you’ve finished writing? Seek out quotes during the writing process and start saving up! If you have more time than money, seek creative ways to bring down the cost: find college students willing to do the work in exchange for a portfolio piece or, if you have another skill, consider bartering with a service provider.
4. If I’m unsure how to do something, I’ll spend at least 15 minutes Googling/trying to figure it out myself before giving up.
Your answer here shows your level of Independence. We bootstrapping (read: poor) authors are willing to take the time and learn how to install a sidebar widget in WordPress, create an email template or figure out the inner workings of GIMP (ick).
It’s true: Almost every question that pops into your brain can likely be answered by a quick Google search, but we hear from many authors who give up before even trying this simple tactic. Next time a question pops up, give it a shot!
5. I understand that there is no guarantee of success for any author; I must work hard to create demand for my book and achieve publishing success.
This statement reveals your Dedication to your writing career. Is this a fly-by-night hobby you want to use to make a little extra cash or is it a lifelong passion that you’d love to turn into a career?
The competition for eyeballs nowadays is FIERCE, and if you’re not willing to work to build your fanbase and create demand for your work, your sales will reflect this.
6. I know that success doesn’t happen overnight; I’m willing to roll with the ups and downs and work on writing/building my fanbase for at least six months before seeing results.
Truly successful indie authors have high amounts of Perseverance. You kinda have to to survive in this business, right?
Part 2: Interpreting the Results
Add up your answers for each question and use the chart below to figure out where you stand:
- 0-30 points: Ask yourself: is being a successful indie author something you really, really want? If so, choose one of the questions you scored low on and work over the next month to bring up that score. Next month, choose another!
- 30-48 points: You definitely have your head in the game, but there are likely one or two areas you could work on to bring up your score. Choose one and, for the next month, focus on ways to increase that score. You can do it!
- 49-60 points: Rock on! You have the perfect mindset for publishing success and we’re excited to watch your career progress. We’d love to hang out with you on a Coffee Date to set some goals for the next three months!
Give it to me straight: how badly do YOU want success in your author career? Did you score better (or worse) than you thought you would on the quiz? What traits will you work to improve? What advice do you have for other indies? Let’s chat in the comments!