Corine La Font, Contributor
If Stephen Covey can recommend The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, why can't authors be one of those groups of people that can also be highly effective in their approach and mindset?
Today, we will focus on those seven habits that successful authors put into daily practice. According to thefreedictionary.com, a habit is "a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behaviour that is acquired through frequent repetition".
"Unconscious" stands out to me in that definition because it indicates that you are doing an action that becomes so ingrained, that it is involuntary, you don't have to think about it. In other words, it comes naturally to you. This is what you want to achieve. It is said that success follows success, so if you wish to be successful at what you do, I strongly recommend you follow the seven habits below that can set you on the path to being successful.
1. Read, read, read
You're an author or budding writer. You need to expand your literature and read widely. Reading widely helps you to know your competition, improve your own style or even know how things are changing in the publishing industry and what people are asking for in terms of content.
2. Network, network, network
There is no better way than to allow yourself to interact with others of like mind and intentions. It helps to increase your visibility, credibility and promote yourself and what you have to offer while learning from others at the same time.
3. Participate in awards and competitions
Throw yourself out there. Don't let fear cripple you. What's the worst that can happen? You don't win? So what! Even if you don't win, you have nothing to lose except a blow to your ego, but you will get over it. There is the possibility that your work will get noticed and someone might just call you up one day to discuss your book or ask you to speak at an event. If you don't even try, that opportunity would have missed you entirely.
4. Follow your passion for writing and continuous improvement
Seek to improve daily. Your personal and professional development as a writer or author is a key component to your success and maintaining that success. Turn your weaknesses into strengths and make your strengths even stronger - you are not good at speaking, go out there and join a Toastmasters club. Attend writer's conferences, subscribe to newsletters and tips and even online tutorials and trainings. A really good one I am following is Writer's Digest. They have an annual subscription package for 8 digital issues for only US$9.96! And you have the option to upgrade to VIP status and get access to even more for US$25.00 for one year!
5. Be open to criticism
This is a big one. Not everyone is open to criticism and when I say criticism, I mean good and bad criticism. Not everyone will be kind to you or know how to communicate what they really want to say, but what you have to learn to do is to turn that criticism around into something positive that you can learn from and apply. Appreciate and remember to thank persons who criticise you for it can only make you stronger and help you to develop the habits you need to be even more successful.
6. Be prepared
Are you ready with your elevator speech or pitch about what you do or what your book is about? If not, work on it now! Always be prepared. Opportunities are in the most unlikely places. Google search how to write an elevator speech or pitch. Normally, this is a 2-3 minute presentation that focuses on what makes you unique and why should someone take an interest in what you have to offer. In addition to your pitch, always have your business card and a few extra copies (printed) of your book ready in your car or bag to sell on the spot. Use the business card to give information about yourself on one side of the card and on the other side, show an image of the book with links to where to buy. There is this cool gadget that you can attach to your phone to swipe credit cards on the spot. You can check it out here https://squareup.com/. Always be ready for the sale and to promote yourself in 2-3 minutes!
7. Hire an assistant
You know I couldn't resist this one. It goes without saying that you can't do everything yourself, so why fool yourself that you can. Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. You will be better off for it and remember that habit you need to develop? Well, this is one of them that you need to work on - it's called "letting go". I know it's hard for those of you who are territorial, but it stifles your progress and success when you hold on to things. Feel and realise the freedom to develop these seven habits and trust that someone else can work alongside you to create exactly what you want realised.
Some of you may already be applying some of these strategies and others may not have started. Remember that a habit has these characteristics - recurrence, unconscious and frequent repetition. If what you're doing doesn't capture these characteristics, then you still have work to do in developing the habit of being a highly effective author.
Corine La Font is a certified author assistant and online book marketing specialist. Tune in to her radio programme at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/helpdeskja.She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit her website at www.helpdeskja.com.