How to play to your strengths as a self-published writer
WM subscriber and Amazon bestseller CT Mitchell offers advice based on his own successful experience of self-publishing
After thirty years of procrastinating about becoming a writer, I finally started in February 2015 to write my first fiction book. Procrastination cannot be classified as a strength but it’s certainly something that grips most would-be authors, preventing most potential literary giants from ever joining the writing world.
Thankfully one of my strengths was to recognise this limiting belief and do something about it. Since then I’ve penned twenty five short reads and a novel as a self-published author in the mystery thriller genre; nine of which hit #1 Amazon UK & US in category.
Very early on I took the belief that in order for me to be a writer I would need to play to my strengths. Here’s my view on how to play your strengths to become a bestselling writer:
1. Think you can write To achieve anything in life, first you must think you can do it. Too many people look at the results first, then try to work out the action needed to get it. James Patterson is a prolific writer. So it would be fair to say that if you took the same approach you could enjoy similar success. But after punching out fifty thousand words and not getting a lot of sales, most writers become disheartened and either take a long break or give up. Belief is required to carry out any action. And belief comes from your thinking. There’s no right or wrong way. Your thinking is your reality. Let’s make it a positive one. Think you are a writer and you will be.
2. You’re not writing for an Oxford literary professor The best piece of advice I ever got. It immediately dispelled all my fears of ‘am I good enough?’ I wasn’t worried about if anybody would read my work. I no longer cared about bad reviews. The shackles of self-doubt were over. I wrote to entertain readers. My job is to bring entertainment into people’s lives. Give them an escape. Make them laugh, give them enjoyment. I may never win the Pulitzer but I would have brought enjoyment to thousands of people and that’s a pretty good legacy.
3. Write what you like I read a lot of crime fiction as a kid. My bookshelves are still stacked with Agatha Christie novels. I love watching British mysteries like Morse, Touch of Frost and DCI Banks. Mystery writing was going to be my strength.
4. Length doesn’t matter Having no writing experience, I could barely get 10,000 words down on paper. All my other writing mates were punching out 50,000 or even 80,000 words with ease. I felt inept but only for a minute until I discovered Kindle Short Reads on Amazon and cracked my first paid #1 Amazon UK in category after three months of writing. Stick to what you are good at.
5. Writing is a business I’ve come from a business background. I understood right from the start that I needed to write AND market my work. Nobody else was going to have my best interests at heart other than me. Writers need to be good marketers as well as decent wordsmiths.
Determine your own strengths.. Set your writing plan around them and then take action. Keep your mindset on your long term goals and just keep putting one word after the other. Good luck!
C T Mitchell is an Australian mystery author of 25 entertaining short reads and novels, 9 of which have hit #1 Amazon UK & US in category. Grab two free short reads on his website www.CTMitchellBooks.com
Register and sign up for our newsletter for late-breaking news, more competitions and exclusive content