Someday in the future, maybe five years, maybe ten years, maybe twenty years from now, the best-seller lists will name authors that no one has heard of now.
Those future best-selling authors don’t spring up out of nowhere, they’re alive and breathing as we speak. They’re out there, right now, getting kids ready for school, driving to the day job or composing another blog post.
Future best-sellers also working on their craft. They’re hard at work, making the most of the time they have to create the art that someday will be acknowledged by the world.
What exactly are they doing then?
They probably write every day. If they don’t, then at least they write regularly. They treat their art with respect and understand that it takes a lot of practice to be excellent. The most successful authors of the future aren’t afraid to put in the hours to achieve their dreams.
They take their social media seriously. The future best-sellers understand that engaging with others on social media is important. Social media connections aren’t as important as writing, but it is important to meet reader after reader, to learn the ins and outs of various media platforms, and to update it regularly. The publishing teams behind these authors will be more enthusiastic about supporting these future successes because they’re active now.
They’re reading craft books. If they’re not reading craft books, future best-selling authors are reading craft blogs, or taking classes or looking for ways to improve their art. Future best-sellers understand that there’s always something to learn and they’re looking for as much wisdom from the world of writing as they can. This diligence will show up in their art. They’re counting on it.
They aren’t afraid of criticism. Tomorrow’s best selling authors are sitting in critique groups today asking for feedback. They are pondering word choice, point-of-view, how many adverbs are too many and which dialog tags to drop. Future best-sellers are willing to listen to other authors around them and make necessary changes. A writer who can’t handle constructive criticism won’t go far in this industry, and certainly will have trouble becoming a future best-seller.
What else do they do?
They’re learning how to be organized. Future best-selling authors take care of business well. Even though this may not come naturally for them, they keep good records. Successful writers need to file taxes, track expenses and stay on top of invoices. If you are a writer and you aren’t willing to take care of the business end of things, you probably can’t hope to be nothing more than a hobbyist.
They don’t make excuses. The best-selling authors of the future make writing a high priority. They don’t wait for “inspiration to strike” or “the perfect two hours”. These writers push themselves when they don’t feel like writing, when the words don’t come or when their confidence is shot. This willingness to override excuses gives them a perseverance that often separate the professional from the amateur.
They are accessible to their readers. I’m not a prognosticator, but I’d guess that in five, ten or twenty years the book market will be even more saturated. That means that it will be all the harder for writers to stand out. One of the ways that they can is to engage with readers now. A wise author builds relationships with their readers and in the future, these readers may turn into raving fans.
They don’t dwell on failure. Every single one of us is going to fail, that’s a given. But the most successful of us will look at our failures as opportunities to learn and become stronger. Future bestsellers will have a history of ups and downs, piles of rejection letters, embarrassing anecdotes, and spelling mistakes. But the best of us will refuse to let those failures become our identity.
Future best-sellers are all unique and have their own figurative and literal stories to tell.
Some future best-sellers will have to write thirty books before their big national break. Others will break-out with the second or third book. Some will become commercial hits. Others will find notoriety in more critical circles. But all of them worked hard, all of them overcame obstacles and all of them weren’t afraid to learn.