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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

7 Habits Of Highly Effective Authors


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In honor of Stephen Covey, who published The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 30 years ago, I give you The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Authors.

Covey, whom I had the honor to promote briefly, years ago, delivered a breakthrough book that has sold at least 25 million copies worldwide.  The audio version was the first non-fiction audiobook in U.S. publishing history to sell over a million copies.  It has spawned imitators and influenced two generations.  So what are these seven habits that will transform one’s life?

1.      Be proactive.
2.      Begin with the end in mind.
3.      Put first things first – prioritize.
4.      Think win-win.
5.      Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
6.      Synergize and combine strengths with other collaborators.
7.      Grow -- physically, spiritually and intellectually.

Authors would serve themselves well to adopt the principles of leaders like Covey and other self-help gurus of the past century, including Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale, Tony Robbins, Echhart Tolle, Earl Nightingale, Zig Ziglar, and Og Mandino.  But if we had to synthesize the habits, skills, or mind frame of authors who want to be successful, look no further than these seven principles:

1. Make marketing your brand as high a priority as writing books.  Your words will be wasted if no one reads them.  Write for impact – then call attention to your work.  This means you either promote to the news media or perish.  It means you need to execute on social media, too.  It means you need to make public appearances and speak.  It means you need to creatively and consistently market your voice, persona and books. Act with a sense of urgency and conviction. There are no barriers.  If you can’t do something, hire someone to help.  Barter with people who can help you.

2. Don’t forget to actually write a really good book.  Don’t put your ego or greed before your book. You can’t expect fame, riches, or even to influence some readers unless you actually invest your time and money to writing, researching, and editing a book that meets a high-standards test for quality.  Good enough is not enough.  Strive for greatness.

3. Act as if.  Act as if your book is great and helpful.  Act as if people should want to talk to you and buy your book.  Act as if you will be successful.  But always act and not get drawn into endless planning, fantasizing, or hoping. Action beats any idea.  Action is what leads to more action.

4. Understand the landscape today.  You are competing – daily – with 4,000 new books published.  You also compete with the millions of books in print and available to consumers.  You compete with free content and at libraries online.  You compete with other forms of entertainment (plays, TV, movies, etc.) and sources of information (seminars, news media, professionals).  You compete for the attention, funds, and interest of others who could be doing a thousand things other than read a book (games, play a sport, travel, work, chores, exercise, walk the dog, tend to a sick child, help a parent, see a doctor get a new car…you get the point).  So, don’t let the world overwhelm or burden you – there’s still room for enough people to buy and read your book.  Figure out how to navigate through the competition and maze of life – there is a marketplace for your book, but you need to carve it out.  Readers and consumers won’t seek you out or even know to look for you.  But they do have needs, desires, and emotions to fill – and they are open and receptive to those who can deliver a solution.

5. Network.  The only way you truly grow is when you have advocates – people who can do something for you.  The more people you meet and get to know, the better chance you’ll find people who are willing to help you.  You ‘ll find people who are willing to help you.  You might not even have to ask them, but many you will.  So, don’t be shy and remain isolated on the sidelines.  Get out there.  There are free gatherings all over.  There are paid events and seminars, too. Of course, you can network online endlessly.

6. Remain open and receptive to new ideas and different ways of doing things.  Keep educating yourself and improving whatever skills you’ll need to be a better writer, marketer, speaker, and networker.  School is just the beginning of your education, not the conclusion. You don’t get a degree for the learning you do beyond high school, college, or graduate school, but it is the most important learning that you will do.

7. The last principle is luck.  This has two sides – one is yes, you may get lucky and there’s no harm from benefiting from that!  The other side is be opportunistic. Luck comes to those who expose themselves to others and try new things and to those who convert every situation into an opportunity.  What does this mean? It means you never stop thinking and asking: How can this person help me?  You meet someone on a food line?  Find out what they do.  Talk to your uber driver-maybe he knows someone who can help you.  Ask your network of friends and family for specific favors such as introductions to other people.  Even when you have a good opportunity, such as someone being willing to give you a testimonial, don’t stop there. Ask for more: Can they email or tweet to their network?  Will they introduce you to someone who can market you? Could they give you the lucky break that you need? You won’t get lucky unless you ask and put yourself out there.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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