Last Updated on: August 8th, 2016
Becoming an author involves 4 phases, and if you’re a blogger, you’re already an author, of sorts…
When you publish a blog post, you are the “author” of that post. But being an author who sells e-books is a completely different story… but it doesn’t have to be.
You don’t have to write fiction; you can write self-help books, motivational books, or anything else that suits your talents and knowledge.
Look at Ryan Biddulph, the guy behind Blogging from Paradise. He’s a blogger who turned most of his blog posts into e-books… and earns passive income from his book sales!
Look at me. I self-published a book of short stories (Risky Issues)… just to see if I could actually figure out the whole self-publishing process on my own. In fact, a blind man motivated me to make it available in print instead of just as an e-book.
After learning the steps of the self-publishing process, I then helped this blind man (Maxwell Ivey) self-publish not one but two books. Take a look at his books! One is an 11-step guide to business success. The other is an easy-to-follow guide to weight loss success.
Now look at Dave Chesson. He’s a guy who became a best-selling author… by writing under pen names (pseudonyms), which, unfortunately, he won’t reveal to you here.
However, he will reveal the different stages he has gone through as both an online writer and an author… so that YOU can see where YOU are currently at… if you want to become an author too.
Take it away, Dave!
The Four Stages to Being an Online Writer and Author
Have you ever thought to yourself:
What’s it like to become a successful online writer?
What was it like when they started, and how did they finally “figure it out”?
Well, the truth is, the path is never a straight line, nor is it the same for everyone. However, there are some key points in every successful writer’s life that can not only help you reach your success but help to identify where you are on your quest.
I’m Dave Chesson, and it was only 3.5 years ago that I made a decision that has truly changed my life for the better.
In this article, I’m going to show you the four most critical phases to an author’s life, and how one can move from a hobbyist to a top professional writer.
Phase 1: Denial
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was trying to figure out this whole “online thing.” Is it real? Can I really make money online? Or is it just another hoax from some slick-haired salesman?
The truth is, I couldn’t wrap my head around how a military guy stationed in Korea with no formal writing education could create money or income out of thin air.
But the truth is, it really was possible.
During this phase though, I wallowed in doubt and dragged my feet. Instead of just diving in, I’d dip my toe in the water over and over again.
But then it happened. An article I wrote that had Google AdSense on it got clicked. I had just turned time into profit.
Finally the water was lukewarm and I was ready to jump in.
Signs that you are in this stage:
- You’re not sure if it’s possible
- You fear that it’s not for you
- You’re unsure of how to begin
How to move past this phase: Every person will have a minimal requirement of proof before they’ll believe. For me, it was that first dollar – small, I know. However, it’s important that if you’re in this phase, you define what it will take before you believe online writing can meet your goals – both financially and personally.
Phase 2: Earnings Growth
Once I had proven to myself that online writing could lead to profit, I quickly ramped up my efforts and began to really focus on crafting my newfound art.
As a newfound writer, I started taking any job or gig I could. I wrote a bunch of guest posts, ghost-wrote some articles, and even started making a niche website.
However, in my personal development, I was all over the place reading article after article on things like traffic generation, SEO, blog writing styles, how to create clickable titles, etc.
It felt like the more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know anything. The internet is a wonderful and terrible place with all of its free information and billions of authorities.
This was the most frustrating state of all. I had tasted success with that first dollar and subsequent writing gigs, but I was quickly feeling overwhelmed with everything I though I needed to learn.
Signs that you are in this stage:
You feel overwhelmed
You’re not sure where to forge your path
You’re making some money but not enough to call it “income”
It feels like your spinning your wheels but not getting anywhere
How to move past this phase: Trying to do everything all at once will get you nowhere. You’re going to feel like you’re working overtime but not gaining ground. That’s why you need to do two things:
- Focus on one skill, tactic or strategy at a time.
- Develop that one thing, master it, and then move on.
Skills, not effort, is what creates online success and you don’t develop a true skill by hitting everything at once and spending a little time here or there. Focus and move forward.
Phase 3: I’ve Got This
For me, I realized that my ONE skill was Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With this skill, I could write articles that would not only rank very well in Google, but would also drive lots of traffic to it.
I could now build websites, gain traffic and earn money from it all. It was time to ramp up my efforts and build out.
Using my skills and keyword knowledge, I started building out my own niche websites, and making online efforts that had direct returns. I stopped taking odd-and-end jobs for others and started building something for myself – my own online business.
However, I wasn’t exactly happy. Sure, niche websites were fun and great assets to create. But, this wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do for the foreseeable future. It was time for me to really figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be online.
Signs that you are in this stage:
You’ve got direction
You can take your skill and multiply its results with general ease
Your income from online work is starting to really add up
How to move past this phase: In truth, you don’t need to move past this phase. Some people are happy at Phase 3 and just continue to build out. But I personally wasn’t. I had direction but I didn’t have purpose. Therefore, if you want to move past this phase, then really look at what it is you’re passionate about, where you can add difference in the online world, and how you can use your skills to make it happen.
Phase 4: Defining Who I Am As an Author
Till this phase, I had been in general obscurity. I was a no-named writer who was turning his work into profitability, but hadn’t yet felt as though I had a purpose online.
Plus, I really didn’t have a voice. I could write to address pain points, or reach a particular market, but there was no “me” in the articles or work.
That’s when I started Kindlepreneur.com, my flagship and authority website.
Because I started an authority website, I now had to be a “face” of an organization and learn about branding. More importantly, I had to develop an online voice and a position in an already existing market.
Therefore, I can tell you, that Kindlepreneur articles are very detailed oriented, with actionable advice, and full of the tools and tips needed for self-publishing and marketing of books. They are also full of nerd humour.
Why is this important? Because, through the creation of this website, I discovered that this is what I love doing. I have direction. I get to be myself. And more importantly, I have a lot of fun doing it!
Kindlepreneur has grown to about 55,000 unique visitors per month thanks to the lessons I learned in all four phases. It’s not only helped to grow my online business, but also helped me to hone my writing skill and find the writing voice I had been searching for.
The phases I listed above can be different for many people. Some people can pass right by one of the phases, while others will wallow in one for years (I know I did).
But the difference between those that fail and those that succeed is that, no matter what challenge or what phase you’re in, you keep with it, and push forward.
There were many times where I felt stuck – especially in Phase 2 – but I knew I was on the right path. Through diligence, self-discipline and effort, I finally reached all four phases, and feel as though I’m comfortable with where I am and where my writing is taking me.
So, which phase are you in? Where are you feeling stuck? Write in the comments below and let’s help each other out.
How to Become an Author
It’s simple, really.
Write something. Then publish it.
Let Loraine help you. Follow the steps to self-publishing listed on her Author Assistant Services page.
And drop us a comment below!
Dave is the lead writer at Kindlepreneur.com, a website devoted to teaching advanced book marketing tactics. He and his team are also coming out with KDP Rocket, a software that will help authors choose book ideas that will sell…sounds like magic, right? Nope, it’s science (!)… so check it out at KDPRocket.com. You can also connect with Dave on Facebook and/or Twitter.