When I decided to make writing my vocation, for a long time, I didn’t know how the new model worked.
I understood the old model — writers wrote books for which they get paid an advance and then royalties for years to come. But that model was broken.
The new writers were doing different things. They were writing blogs, ebooks, self-publishing, and selling directly. They were teaching courses and even speaking at events.
It was all very baffling.
I started studying some of the successful writers. They were not the award-winning, world-famous top writers but ordinary writers that most people may not know about but who had built successful businesses from their writing. I bought their courses and started doing what they were teaching.
But even that didn’t help. Some lessons were easy to implement, but others didn’t make any sense.
Frustrated, I stopped following and took time to understand. It was then that I found there are five pillars of authorpreneurship:
Whether you are a fiction writer, a non-fiction writer, or a content writer, the five pillars are still the same.
Today I am going to talk about Skills.
Once you have developed the “mindset” and understood the “time” it would take you to become an authorpreneur; you are ready to concentrate on developing skills necessary for authorpreneurship.
Let’s get into what skills you are going to need.
For a long time, I thought if I had a good idea, I could write a good article. But that wasn’t true. I soon discovered that having a good idea is one thing, and developing it into a clear, clean, concise, and compelling piece of writing is completely another thing.
I struggled at the basic sentence level. I framed and reframed sentences, taking hours to write a single paragraph, and still wasn’t able to come up with something worth sharing.
Converting your thoughts into a coherent piece of writing is something most writers struggle with.
So much so that many of them don’t get past this stage and give up.
It takes time to develop writing skills.
Time and a lot of effort.
You will have to write millions of words before you get any better at the craft of writing. And I mean, literally millions.
Writing a lot not only helps you craft better sentences but also clarifies your thinking.
That clarity will help you devise your message.
Because your writing will only get read if it has a message that is useful for the reader.
Derek Sivers, an American writer, entrepreneur, and founder of the CD Baby, an online CD store for independent musicians tell the story of two candlemakers. One candlemaker claims that he only uses the finest wax with the best quality wick in his candles. And he sells few dozen candles.
The other candlemaker claims that he only makes prayer candles — the type that you light while praying. And even though his candle quality is not as good as the first candlemaker he ends up selling thousands of candles.
Because purpose beats product.
Something we all writers need to learn.
Even if you write the best article in beautiful prose, it will not get read if it doesn’t address the reader’s problem.
On the other hand, even a badly written article that solves a problem will go viral.
The books that solve a problem sell many more copies than well-written literary masterpieces. Some of the best-selling books — Rich Dad Poor Dad, Fifty Shades of Grey, and the Harry Potter series are prime examples. They all serve a purpose.
Authorpreneurship is initially is a one-person show. Besides writing you are going to need many technical skills as well. Skills such as to:
- Establishing a platform
- Building a mailing list
- Expanding your reach
- Building online courses
- Speaking (even these has technology involved)
The list seems endless and daunting.
All of these things are formidable for those of us who were not born with technology in our genes. But if you keep your creative hat on and learn them in the same way you would learn writing skills, you can master them too.
The trick is to start early and learn in bite-size pieces.
It also helps if you pick one thing at a time.
I started with building a website. All the knowledge was available for free on YouTube. Within weeks I learned all the features. Then I concentrated on writing blog posts. Posting regularly initially was a big thing. I learned to schedule my posts. From there, I moved on to set up a newsletter and so on.
Today, two years on, I have many skills that I wouldn’t have thought possible to learn in such a short time. Building on the past success, I continue to learn new skills all the time.
If you thought authorpreneurship was all about being a good writer, think again.
Like a professional in any field, you will have to learn several skills.
But the good news is, it is doable.
Rather than being baffled by the enormity of the task, think of it as a university course to be done over several semesters. Follow the approach of a university student and pick one thing at a time and nail it.
Before you know it, you will have an arsenal of skills that will be the envy of many writers who either wouldn’t bother or are too intimidated with it.
There is no rush. You are not in competition with anybody.