Are you an aspiring author?
If you are an aspiring author who is not yet published, it can be quite overwhelming on how and where to begin.
If you are a writer who has always dreamed of being published, you will need some tools to help you get there.
There are many tools out there that can help you become an author. I have listed here five essentials tools every author should have that will increase their chances of becoming a successful author.
Essential Tool #1: Website
There is some controversy about whether or not an author needs their own website. Some contend that a website is not necessary; and that you can connect on social media sites and build relationships with potential readers that way.
However, most professional authors agree that a website is necessary if you want to become an established author. Some even think it is crucial to have you own website; especially if you are a new/and or unknown author.
A website gives you your own platform. It’s important to have a presence on the internet; especially if you are a self-published author or you are planning on self-publishing.
Owning your own domain gives you a place to have your own voice and express yourself.
You can even design your own site the way you want. You get to say what happens because you own your domain.
A website gives people a place to find you. Social platforms come and go, can change policies at any time, or any other number of things.
Social media is important in building a readership and is also on this list. However, social media sites do change from time to time. And what if one or even all of them were to collapse?
Then no one would no where to find if you don’t have your own website.
So a website is an important part of establishing yourself as an author.
There are many web hosts to chose from. You can shop around for the best one for your needs.
I recommend SiteGround. They are definitely one of the best out there. SiteGround has some great deals and discounts going on right now. So if you’ve been thinking about getting your website up and running; now would be a good time to get started. You can check out great deals at SiteGround.
Essential Tool #2: E-mail List
An e-mail list is one of the most important tools of the trade. It is an essential tool for writers and authors.
An e-mail list is important for many of the same reasons a website is important.
For one, your e-mail list is your own. If social media were to collapse tomorrow; you would still have your e-mail list.
One way you can build your e-mail list is by giving your readers an opt-in offer. This basically means you offer your readers something for free in exchange for their e-mail address.
The free item can be anything that you think your readers will value. It could be a free e-book that you’ve written, a cheat sheet, or an e-mail course.
Anything you can come up with. It does not have to be elaborate. Just something simple but valuable.
Essential Tool #3: Blog
Yes! Integrate a blog on your website.
I know a blog takes time, and many writers would rather be working on their books instead of spending time writing a blog.
However, there a many good reasons to write a blog. For one, you get to showcase your writing. And it also shows your reader’s more of who you are as a person and a writer.
You are in control of your own content. You can write what you want without following anybody else’s guidelines. You’re free to express who are through your writing.
A blog is also good practice for honing your writing skills. Writing a blog will make you a better writer because you will be constantly writing and editing blog posts.
It’s up to you how often you want to post. But it is suggested that you post regularly if you want readers to find you.
If you are an unknown author, it’s also a good way to get a body of work out there. If you don’t yet have anything published; you will at least have your own writing on your blog.
If you are a fiction writer you can post some of your work and get feedback from readers. You can even post scenes you have deleted or alternate endings. Ask readers what they think. They love to be involved in the process.
Essential Tool #4: Social Media
Social Media is important for connecting with potential readers. This is where you build relationships and people get to know and trust you.
The key is to interact on social media.
Just having a social media account won’t do you much good if you are not interacting with people in order to build a readership.
There are many social media platforms to choose from and it can get pretty overwhelming.
Obviously you can’t be everywhere; and you don’t need to be. Just choose a few sites and focus on them. Otherwise you can spend your entire life on social media.
It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of time your spend on each site. Then you can spend whatever amount of time you have left for your writing.
If you choose Facebook, make sure you create an author fan page; separate from your personal page. Your personal page is just that; personal. You want to keep it as professional as possible.
One site that is absolutely essential for any author is Goodreads. This is where you will find your readers.
When you first sign up for Goodreads, you will be signing up as a reader. After you have proven yourself as a reader you can upgrade to an author account.
Again, it’s important to engage with other readers and authors and post reviews. This is how people will get to know you.
Essential Tool #5: Support Groups
One thing about being an author is you cannot do it alone. This is especially true if you are a new author.
It’s important to join some kind of support group where you can get feedback for your work and just generally get support from fellow writers and authors.
I know this may be hard if you are a shy person. It was very hard for me at first because I am a shy person. I was hesitant at first, but eventually found it to be quite helpful to be part of a group.
You may be fearful of having your work criticized and not want to join because of that. There really is nothing to fear. You will generally find most of the people in these groups to be helpful and supportive. If your don’t, find another group.
There are many writer groups on Facebook that you can join. There are also meetup groups for writers. These are mostly free groups where like minded people meet up. You can find meet ups in your area by going to meetups.com.
Choose whatever works best for you. Just know that you cannot write and publish on your own without any help from anyone. You can do some things on your own. But sooner or later you will need to collaborate to get your book out there.
At the very least you will most likely need an editor and book cover designer for your books if you want them to look as professional as possible.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can get editing and cover design for as little as 5 dollars on fivver.com.
However you go about this, it’s just important to know that you need some kind of support to get it done. Support is everything.
What have you found helpful in your journey as an aspiring author?