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What does it take to become a great author?

If you’re interested in becoming a writer, you might be wondering what it takes to become an author. The answer to that question is fairly simple. All you need to do to become an author is to write something and publish it. These days, self-publishing options make that very simple. However, if your interest is to become a great author, then it becomes much more complex. In this article, I’ll do my best to convey my opinion on what it takes to become a great author.

In order to write compelling novels, two essential ingredients are required. First, you must have a well-developed imagination. Second, you must possess the three essential skills for writing – grammar, spelling, and, slightly less obvious, flow. If either of those elements is missing, your readers will close your book and never give you another chance.

Patience is also required. If you expect to write and publish a book within a month of starting to work on the first draft, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. A more realistic expectation would be to strive to complete the first draft within a month or two and spend two or three more on editing and revisions. Keep in mind that the average successful author takes anywhere from four to six months to complete a book.

Once your book is complete and your edits and revisions are done, the battle still isn’t over. Next, you will have to contend with the challenges that marketing and promotions present. Unless you are already so financially secure that you can afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the effort, you’re going to be forced to be creative in this endeavor. Fortunately, those who aren’t filthy rich still have plenty of options. I’ll list two that I believe should be at the top of your list.

With over 125 million members, Goodreads is a great place to start. In addition to promoting your book, you can set up contests for free giveaways to inspire more reviews. Compliment that effort by submitting your book to Readers’ Favorite for a professional review. Yes, if you’re in a rush, you’ll have to pay a hefty few to get your book reviewed quickly, but if you’re willing to wait a few months, they’ll do it for free.

If you have the funds available, there are many other options for promotion. If I had to rank them for effectiveness, based on my experience, I’d put Google at the top of the list with Facebook coming in a close second. Advertising on Amazon is a must, so I’ll leave that to you to figure out. Another option, provided you can afford it, is to “rent” add space in a high-traffic area like Times Square. Having your book featured on billboards or digital displays can generate a significant amount of interest. Additionally, word of mouth can be a powerful tool. Ask your friends and family members to read and promote your book.

On the subject of book promotion, I’ll leave you with one final suggestion. Almost every library in the nation has a book club where avid readers enjoy sharing their thoughts on the books they are assigned to read. Join one in your local area. Let them know you’re an author. Convince them to read and discuss one of your books. Chances are, they’ll be excited by the prospect. Take their feedback to heart and provide each of them with an autographed copy of your novel.

In closing, I’ll leave you with the bad news. A single successful novel does not make a great author. If that’s your goal, then you’ll have to repeat this process over and over again. The good news is that once you’ve gained a following, they will stick with you throughout.

Thanks for reading this post. I hope it provided a bit of insight. If you have any comments or insights that you would like to offer, please do so.

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