Create an Online Course

3 Steps to Create an Online Course From Your Book

Authors don’t just make money from books. Often, the majority of their income comes from what is behind the books. Recently my friend Gregory was four weeks out from publishing his first book. He had spent the better part of a year writing and preparing to launch his book. Just a few weeks out from the launch he realized he had neglected to think about something important: how was he going to monetize the back end?

The journey of self-publishing hits a major milestone with the launch of a first book, but it does not end there. While a well-launched book can certainly earn a good income, if you do not monetize the back-end of the book by consulting, speaking, or creating online courses then you are not realizing the full potential of self-publishing.

As they say, a book is the new business card. But, you can’t just have a business card – you need the business behind the business card as well.

There are several ways to monetize the back end of a book:

  • Services
  • Software
  • Consulting / Coaching
  • Speaking / Workshops
  • Create Online Course (fastest and most scalable)

While I am biased, my absolute favorite method is to create an online course. It doesn’t take 6-12 months to develop like a software product would, and it doesn’t rely on your personal time like offering services, consulting, and speaking.

Knowing that I specialize in online courses, Gregory reached out to me for help with producing a course for the new book he was about to publish. I’ll be sharing 3 steps to create online courses from your books. With these tips you too can maximize the results of your next (or a previous) book. Imagine if you take every book you have published, which people are buying for $5-$10, and quickly transform the same content into a parallel product for which you can charge 10 to 100 times that amount.

3 Steps to Create an Online Course From Your Book

As the owner of a course production company, people often have the same question when it comes to turning a book into an online course:

What’s the difference? Why would people pay more for the same material?

Great question. There are a couple key differences between a course and a book (aside from the obvious differences in format).

Step 1 – Understand the differences between a book and a course

  1. Tone – If you were to read your book out loud, verbatim, that would be an audiobook which has a very different feeling to an online course.
  2. Focus – Again, using the audiobook example, your audiobook might be 15 hours long, while you course is 5 hours long. A large part of the value of a book is exploring the “why” of a topic or possibly the history, while a course is designed to be extremely actionable. That means the content requires great focus.
  3. Specificity – Books are filled with great stories and great ideas. They plant important seeds in your mind, and might even have some simple exercises at the end of the chapters. That being said, it takes a lot of effort to apply what you learn from a book. A significant part of the value of an online course is how easy it is to take action. If it’s a course about networking, you can provide email templates, step-by-step guides to follow, software tools you can use. It’s designed to be immediately actionable, while a book on networking might discuss more general concepts on networking such as why it’s a good idea to go to a conference, to make good eye contact, to introduce people to each other, etc.

If you want to see some real life examples of the differences, check out the audiobook and the online course version of Gregory’s book to compare (you can do a free preview of each to see what I mean). Both are based on the same content, but the tone, structure, focus, and specificity is quite different.

Step 2 – Build an online course from a book or a manuscript

Here is the exact process we used to build courses in dozens of different industries, following our Course In A Box Method:

1.) Decide the Format – There are many ways to build a course. You can build a text-based course, a video-based course that focused on live filming, or on recording your screen while you teach someone to program, or by recording slides as you teach. Usually it’s a mix. You can also have courses two hours long, or 20 hours long. With or without PDF handouts. With or without bonus content (such as expert interviews).

Here is what we decided on for Gregory’s course:

  • Ultimately 3 modules, with 3-5 lessons each
  • The lesson length would average about 10 minutes (although it ranges from 5-15)
  • The content style would primarily be a mix of recording well-designed slides, mixed with bonus content like expert interviews, follow-along PDF guides, etc.

Pro tip: How do you decide the course length/structure? One module should bring people through a major milestone. For example, setting up a website before beginning to write content and market the site in later modules. One video should have one clear, stand-alone step in the process. For example, video 3 of module 1 for Building Your New Website might entail setting up the site hosting, video 4 might be configuring wordpress, etc.

2.)Turn the manuscript into a course script – This means cutting the fat and changing the tone as discussed above. Your course should clearly get people from point A (where they are now) to point B (where they want to go) and this should be clearly reflected by the course script. Even if your book is quite long, you can do this in about a week if you maintain focus

3.) Turn the script into a slide plan – This is a document which matches up the main ideas in the script with slides that you will be recording. Most people jump straight from script to slide design, but this (quick) intermediary step ensures that your course has a good flow to it and stays organized

4.) Turn the slide plan into slides – Create a slide template that you like, then customize slides to match your slide plan. Or better yet, outsource this process to a professional.

5.) Record the scripts as an audio file – Sit down and read your script as enthusiastically as possible.

Pro tips:

  • Don’t try to record your screen with the slides at the same time, the quality will be lower. Record the audio separately then match the slides in post production.
  • Leave a pause and say “SLIDE X” between slides. This will help with the next step, editing.

6.) Combine the slides and audio file into a video file – Self-explanatory. It is not recommended that you do this yourself, as a professional likely would do it better/faster. Invest a few hundred bucks to get it done right the first time.

7.) Find useful places to add extra materials PDFs, expert interviews, new examples, templates, etc. Just ask yourself every time you say do this, “how can I help them do that?”

8.) Clean up, edit and structure everything into a finalized course – Did everything stay organized? We recommend using a google drive folder structure that we link to below to keep things organized.

9.) Upload the course to your website – If you want the simplest option possible, go with Teachable. This is what we used for Gregory’s course as well. If you want something more sophisticated, go with MemberMouse (another popular option we use with clients).

Step 3 – Connect the book and the course

Now that you’ve completed the course, how do you get people from your book to find your course, and vice versa? The simplest way is to directly link from your book to your course website. However, sometimes people will complain about that approach “they are just trying to sell their other products!!!”

Another way is to direct people to a companion website which offers additional resources and downloads for free — in exchange for their email address. Then you will want to set-up an email autoresponder which offers additional value and guides them through the process from having read the book to wanting to delve deeper and buy the course.

Pro tip: Add this download link to the beginning AND the end of the book, and preferably a few times in the middle. Not everyone finishes every book they buy, so you want to make sure they see the link even if they stop after the first chapter. In fact, you can even include the page with the link in the “free preview” of the book on the kindle store to get even more people to see it.

What kind of results would this really get?

  1. Let’s say you get 5,000 downloads as part of your book launch, then 1,000 purchases per month after that
  2. 20% of those people who grab the book also check out the link
  3. Then 50% of the people who visit the page submit their email address
  4. Finally, 10% of those people who join your list also purchase your course

Results:

  • You now instantly have 500 more people on your email list, and 100 more people per month ad infinitum
  • 50 people buy your course during your book launch, and 10 more people buy every month
  • If your course is priced at $500, then that is $25,000 in additional revenue during your book launch, and $5,000 every month after that

…and that, my friends, is the power of combining a book with an online course.

I know writing a book is hard (I’ve written several myself) and by the time it’s done and published you may feel done yourself. But, don’t forget that offering a course is your chance to either kick start or rapidly grow your business. The best way to maximize the value of your book is to lead people from your book to discover other parts of your brand.

Give the people who love your book the opportunity to work with you further, either through an online course or through one of the other methods discussed above.

Leave a comment with questions about this process, or share your results creating an online course from your book. I look forward to hearing about your success.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

How to Be an Author: 8 Personality Characteristics You Want to Nurture

No matter what topic you’re writing about, creating a book from scratch requires a unique fortitude and strength of character. In the words of Dorothy Parker, “I hate writing, I love having written.”

The harsh truth is that writing can be hard, lonely, and can quash your confidence. The good news is that if you try to develop certain personality characteristics, then writing can be joyful, productive, and fulfilling. It’s all a matter of attitude and perspective. Here are 8 personality characteristics that we recommend for all aspiring authors.

1. Patience

“Patience is bitter, but its fruits are sweet.” —Jean Jacques Rousseau.

Writing a book is not an overnight process. It takes time!

When you decided to become a pro author, you decided that you wanted to write forever. Part of learning how to be an author means you have to cultivate discipline and focus, and display patience. Without those characteristics, you’ll certainly throw in the towel before any of your books see a publication date.

The good news is that patience, like any skill worth having, is something that can be learned with practice. Suzannah Windsor Freeman, author of The Busy Mom’s Guide to Writing found that infinite patience was the key to her eventual success. Freeman says, “When I talk about writers and impatience, I’m talking from a long history of personal experience. If your dream were to be a concert pianist, you wouldn’t expect to sit down and just play. You’d take lessons for many years, practice every day, and sacrifice a great deal in order to achieve that dream. So, why do we expect ourselves to be able to write well without the same level of commitment and patience?”

The basic takeaway for authors is that the best way to cultivate patience is to work every day, practice your craft, and learn over time. With those strategies, you’ll get your book written and published before you know it.

2. Consistency

Becoming an author means that you need to be consistent with your schedule and honor the writing process. Writing is now your job, and you’ll need to treat it as such. This can be a hard thing, especially if you’re not yet earning a paycheck for your work.

Consider the following strategies to make yourself more consistent as you start the writing process:

Channel Seinfeld

When up-and-coming comic Brad Isaac met superstar Jerry Seinfeld, he asked if Seinfeld had “any tips for a young comic.” Isaac recalls, “He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

Set Rewards

If you have a dog, you know they’ll do anything for a savory treat. Guess what? Us humans like our treats, too. Scheduling rewards for each milestone in your writing process is an amazing way to motivate yourself. You’ll look forward to celebrating your small steps, and you’ll look forward to your next well-deserved treat.

Have a Place of Your Own

Having your own place to write puts you in the right frame of mind for creativity. Find and create your own space where you’re most comfortable and happy—an office, a coffee shop, even a nook in your kitchen. Then use that space as your writing space. Your brain will start to make the creative connection for you.

Whatever flavor your current work takes, you need to show up, stick to a plan, and stay consistent. Treating authorship like your job means that you’re making the commitment and doing the work.

3. Outgoing Nature

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but becoming an author is a team effort. You’ll need to network, market, and make speeches and appearances. You’ll need a village behind you to cheer you on.

Your village will take many forms. You’ll need friends and family supporting you. You’ll need pros to help you make your books the best they can be. And you’ll need social media promoters and influencers to help spread the word about your work. Your village will ultimately be the key to your success.

Make an effort to expand your social circle. Force yourself outside your comfort zone—attend a party or event you would not typically go to. Try something new—eat at a restaurant alone and make conversation with those around you. Over time, as you practice, the more comfortable it’ll feel.

4. Optimistic Outlook

To be an author you’ll need to believe in yourself. A sunny, positive attitude will help you move past the roadblocks and keep you focused on your next goal. Optimism can also help you finish your book and weather any inevitable bumps—such as writer’s blockalong the way.

How do you keep looking for the silver lining when it’s raining? Psychologists say that optimism can be learned. By developing “explanatory flexibility,” you can become more optimistic. What does this mean? It means that you should avoid the pessimistic, self-explanatory style, “This is all my fault” or “This isn’t fixable.” Instead, adopt a realistic optimistic self-explanatory style. This forces one to “evaluate the causes of negative life events without surrendering our sense of power and control over them.”

Which is to say, the stories we concoct about our own failures and deficits can impact how we think of them. So, learn to train your brain to reframe the way you think about bad things. You may be surprised at the outcome.

5. Thick Skin

Developing a thick skin is an important personality characteristic if you want to become an author. Knowing how to use criticism to better yourself is key. You’ll want to develop a way to view constructive criticism as feedback that will make you a better author.

Feedback from editors—or even readers—can elevate your book, as well as your writing style. At the same time, you’ll want to know how to separate the wheat from the chaff and let the flippant, unkind remarks roll off your back. There’s a fine balance between allowing criticism to fuel better work and letting it torpedo your effort, tanking your self-confidence.

Building a thick skin is no easy task and, like many of the other personality characteristics, takes time to build. Experience Life has a list of 5 great strategies to build resiliency. Make your best effort to integrate them in everyday life and you’ll find yourself better able to roll with the punches.

6. Strong-Willed

No matter what you write about and how amazing it is, there’s going to be somebody who objects or takes offense. Whether that’s family, friends, critics, or the general public—you can’t please everybody all of the time. Don’t waste time trying to make everyone happy. Focus on what you want your message to be for your unique audience.

All writers worry about what will happen if they expose shameful secrets. Guess what—many famous authors have launched successful careers by exposing their own vulnerabilities! Readers respond to real, human voices, so don’t be afraid to share yours.

Brace yourself for the inevitable—some people might hate your book. So-called “experts” might disagree with you and make you question your writing and your professional knowledge. But if you want to be an author, you must be impervious to haters and objectors and publish your book anyway.

Janette Walls, author of The Glass Castle, worried about exposing her raw childhood memories. But Walls found it was one of the best things she’d ever done. “One of the lessons I’ve learned from writing this memoir is how much we all have in common,” says Walls. “So many of us think that certain things only happened to us and somehow they make us less of a person. I’m constantly urging people, especially older folks, to write about their lives. It gives you new perspective. It was hugely eye-opening for me and very cathartic. Even if the book hadn’t sold a single copy, it would still have been worth it.”

7. Generosity

Writing a book is an innately generous task. Those who share their words and their experiences with the world tend to possess a certain generosity of spirit.

Know that by sharing your words and your story, you’re helping someone else. Your unique experiences will connect with readers. People draw strength from those who’ve walked in their shoes, and lived to tell about it.

Professor and father Randy Pausch was faced with a terminal illness at a young age. Rather than wallow and fade away, he used his last days to create a legacy. His book, The Last Lecture, resonated with readers as a tale of courage and inspiration. His generosity to share his life with his readers was a gift to anyone facing a similar diagnosis.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love while going through a devastating divorce. Her memoir about food, travel, and love made her a household name. She connected with readers by sharing her painful story of loss and regrowth. Her amazing story was even made into a movie!

8. Determination

Writing can be akin to running a marathon. The first few miles are fun. Then your legs cramp up, there’s a gross port-a-potty to use, and you still have 13 miles to go. But, at the end you get a shiny medal and applause, and it all seems worth it! Just as you need to stay determined to make it past mile 26 in a race, you’ll need to stay determined to finish your book and promote it.

There are a couple of strategies you can leverage to build determination. First, consider beginning with an outline. Outlining before writing gives your story structure and helps keep you stay on target. And second, build your mental strength. Just as one would strengthen their muscles in the gym, one can also strengthen their willpower.

Find ways to intensify your determination and become your own warrior of your message. You will hit roadblocks. But you need to keep going and learn your way around them.

Nurturing certain personality characteristics can mean the difference between seeing your name on the best-seller list and giving up completely. Actively striving to build these characteristics will help you not only become a better author, but also a better person.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

Self-Publishing Success Summit

We’re Starting! Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016

Mark your calendar: our Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016 begins streaming live at 4PM EST Sunday June 12 and runs through Wednesday, June 22.

If you haven’t already reserved your free ticket, don’t wait another minute.

Click here to get your FREE PASS to this amazing event.

Have you ever thought of writing a book or becoming an author? If so, then you do not want to miss the biggest online publishing event of the year. You’ll learn the ins-and-outs of writing, marketing, monetization, and building your business.

All lectures are given by our exclusive roster of bestselling authors and entrepreneurs.

We’re talking…

Gretchen Rubin, author of New York Times bestsellers Better Than Before, Happier at Home, and The Happiness Project. Rubin’s books have sold over a million copies.

Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion.

David Allen, author of The Getting Things Done Approach To Writing Your First Book.

Plus, many more stars. Click here to see the full roster, plus more info on each session.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s not much time left to get in on this event. Read on for more details on how to sign up and why you need to be a part of it!

Why Attend The Self-Publishing Success Summit?

Famous writers are lending their time, experience, and professional tips to help you.

Why?

Because all of these now-famous authors were once in your place. They want to help you transform from pie-in-the-sky aspirational dreamer to renowned successful author.

Self-publishing is an open-access opportunity. Anyone with a dream and an idea can become an author. The downside is that the field of self-publishing takes some specific know-how and business acumen to become a successful author.

With the Summit, you can get there. It’s a FREE one stop shop to realize your dreams and achieve your goals!

Our 2016 agenda showcases 40+ bestselling, ultra-successful entrepreneurs who are now enjoying the status, wealth, and industry recognition that comes with success as an established author.

Our celebrated line-up of pros will teach you what they had to do as rookies to get noticed. There’s no reason that you don’t have the same potential for recognition, wealth, and accolades. You just need some pro tips on how to play the game. By this time next year, your life may have changed completely!

What Your Free Pass Gets You

Simply sign up for FREE with your email address, and you’ll get instant access to our LIVE event. Here’s how you’ll use your free ticket (press the ‘play’ button located in the lower left):

Take action now and claim your free ticket for access to our experts’ success principles and strategies. These experts have charged thousands of dollars in speaking fees to share the advice they’re offering you for FREE…so we don’t want you to miss out on the chance to pick their collective brains.

Can’t Make all the LIVE Sessions? Save Big on an All-Access Pass

When you buy an All Access Pass to our Summit, you gain access to these videos right away—AND you have them for life. All of this world-class info is yours to reference over and over, whenever you want to access it.

To learn how to best use your all-access pass, watch this video (press the ‘play’ button located in the lower left):

The All Access Pass entitles you to the full library of resources and content, always. After the Summit starts, watch each video at your leisure, and in the order you see fit. They’re yours to enjoy and peruse forever. No time constraints or pressure!

Avoid regrets, and get your free ticket now. JOIN THE SUMMIT

how to get your blog noticed

8 Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed

When you’re an author, it can be hard enough to carve out time for writing books—but blogging, too?

With our tips, you’ll learn how to get your blog noticed. Add in some sweat equity, and you can create a standout blog that your readers will love to share.

1. Speak to One Person

It may seem as though it would make sense to try and attract as many readers as possible, but there’s a reason that focused, niche blogs tend to do so well.

To connect to your audience, it helps to think of one person you’re writing to who would love to read your blog. This person might be a good friend of yours, a favorite aunt—or better yet, a mishmash of people that represents the brand you speak to—otherwise known as a customer avatar.

Choosing this imaginary person you’re blogging for will help you keep your posts personal and conversational, and it will also aid in refining your niche. If your ideal blog reader avatar loves walking in fields and picking wildflowers, but you suddenly start writing about tailgating in parking lots before sports games, you might think twice.

If you can create a niche blog which appeals to a very specific audience, then the readers that find you will be passionate about the topic and your posts. A niche can forge a real connection with a specific audience.

2. Refine Your Blog’s Voice

Now that you know who you’re talking to (step 1) you need to think about who is doing the talking. I know it’s you—but which you? The one who shows up at church on Sunday with your hair combed and wearing a nice suit? The one who chats confessionally with her girlfriends over glasses of wine? Or are you a trusted advisor, doling out advice?

To find your voice, it helps to determine what exactly you want your blog to accomplish. As with all your other writing endeavors, you want your blog posts to have a purpose and a vision. Figure out the tone, flavor, and purpose for your blog, and the voice will become clearer.

3. Be Consistent

Any professional who uses blogging as a key revenue driver for their business understands that consistency is THE key to audience building.

Figure out your schedule for blogging, whether it’s twice a week or once a month, and STICK TO IT. When you blog consistently, your audience knows they can come to you for timely, relevant content on their favorite topics.

And new visitors to your site will tend to stick around—they’ll see that you update regularly and they’ll know your site isn’t a graveyard.

The most important decision you can make is choosing a doable schedule. Twice a week might sound easy, but you risk falling behind if you go on vacation. Make sure that no matter what, you can fulfill this obligation to yourself and your audience. This might mean posting less often than you think is “ideal.”

Blogging superstar Marie Forleo only posts once per week. Why? Because she says that promoting your posts and your blog is the most important thing you can do.

If you’re bogged down by blogging, it’s too hard to get the word out about your writing. And now let’s talk about getting the word out…

4. Guest Blog for Other Sites

Guest blogging is a win for all involved. When you write a blog post for another web site, not only are you helping them fill up their editorial calendar, you’ll gain new exposure from the web site’s audience.

How do you find web sites to write guest posts for? Check out this fantastic list of web sites you could guest post for, conveniently arranged by topic. Be sure to take note of any specific contributor’s guidelines. Not following the submission guidelines will probably result in not being chosen.

When you get chosen to write a guest post, be sure to include a short bio with a link to your blog, if allowed. Ideally, that link will be to a page on your blog that offers up a free, valuable piece of content in exchange for the reader’s email address. That way you can send your growing email list updates when you post on your blog.

5. Inform Facebook Friends and Followers

One of the best, easiest ways to get your blog noticed is through savvy use of social media. If you don’t want to use your personal profile to promote your blog posts, then set up a page on Facebook. This should include a title and description of your blog.

Use your Facebook blog page to share new posts and relevant news with your community. When the time gets closer to write and promote your book, use Facebook posts to countdown your writing timeline, celebrate the completion of your draft, and later, to share dates regarding book release parties and signing events.

Remember that when promoting your blog on Facebook, interaction is key to building a following and a community. Ask and answer questions, respond to comments, and invest in your followers’ interests. That way you’ll create a loyal audience who will look forward to sharing your posts.

6. Consider Instagram

Instagram is a visual paradise for those who love the creative aesthetic. If your blog’s focus can be boosted with images or videos, then consider posting on Instagram, just as you would on Facebook.

Promoting some types of blog content are a no-brainer on Instagram. For example, if you’re blogging about (and later authoring a book on) interior design or personal style, then Instagram is a social media platform match made in heaven.

7. Create YouTube Videos

For the brave among us, a great way to draw visitors to your blog is by posting a video about each post on YouTube. Not only will you get on-camera practice, which can help draw speaking gigs and media, you’ll also tap into a completely different audience than you’d be able to reach just by writing.

If this sounds “not you” or too scary, then spend some time making practice videos before pushing them live. Ask a trusted friend to give you constructive criticism.

Practice makes perfect! Just don’t expect to be perfect on your first try. It’s okay to stink up the place while you’re learning.

8. Share the Wealth with Buttons

Configure your blog’s settings to display “Share” buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media platforms which appeal to you and your audience. If your blog content is shareable with just the click of a virtual button, then your audience will be more likely to share with their own friends.

When you’re creating your blog set-up and drafting posts, do everything you can to make ease of shareability a priority. It may take more legwork up front, but it will be worth it in the end. Add a call-to-action at the end of each post, whether that’s to sign up for your email newsletter, or to share a post you’re particularly proud of on social media.

Knowing how to get your blog noticed is a matter of confidence—you have to put yourself out there to build an audience. With our easy steps, you’re on your way to making sure your blog becomes a must-share.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

How to Be a Writer

How to Be a Writer: 10 Traits of Professional Authors

If you’re here, you might be wondering how to be a writer for a living. When I see bestselling authors who have turned writing books into a full-time career, I have to stop and ask myself: “How did they do it?”

Stephen King has written over seventy bestsellers since the publication of Carrie in 1974. To this day he continues to write consistently.

James Patterson has sold more than 300 million books worldwide. He has been quoted as saying: “It’s pretty much seven days a week for me. You’re lucky if you find something you like to do and then it’s a miracle somebody will pay you to do it. That’s my situation. It’s not work for me. These are all stories that I’m really dying to tell.”

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, once jobless and with a dependent child, has sold over 430 million copies of her books.

What magic formula do these authors have? What super-talent have they been blessed with? What am I NOT doing now that I could be doing to turn my passion for writing into a real career?

How to Be a Writer

Now you might be thinking, “Well, good for them. But I just want to make enough money on my writing to earn a living, not 100 million bucks!”

But it’s not about how much money you can make at your writing. That might come later, but what really matters is this: practicing the habits and actions professional authors implement as part of their work life that leads to this kind of success. You don’t have to earn a fortune to be a professional writer; you just need to model what the pros do and the outcome will take care of itself.

There are a set of definitive traits pro authors have that make them masters of the trade. Good writing that sells is the result of these essential traits. For both indie and traditionally published authors, these 10 traits of professional authors are universal and a must-have for launching your author career.

Here are the top 10 traits of pro authors, and how you can adopt these traits to become a professional writer that gets books published, earns you an income, and creates a sustainable business you can grow and love.

Pro Author Trait #1: Develop a Daily Writing Habit

Pro writers have developed the writing habit. They write almost every day and have a word count goal for the day. Pro writers stick to a consistent writing schedule and put in the time to put pen to paper [or words into a Word doc]. This is one of the most critical traits. Without putting in your writing time, your book becomes a “someday” thing instead of an “it’s-happening-right-now” thing.

By nurturing the writing habit, you are creating content people will love to read and pay money for. You will exercise that writing muscle and churn out a great story, a memoir, or a book that offers solutions.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my daily word count goal?
  • How many words would I have to write every day to finish my next book by a chosen deadline?
  • How many books could I finish in a year if I stick to a writing habit of 1500 words per day? [You might be surprised!]

Pro Author Trait #2: Approach Writing as a Business

A hobby is something you do when you have time; the business of writing and becoming a pro author is what you make time for every work day. Authors who approach writing as a business are far more likely to succeed than hobby authors who show up occasionally with little direction and lofty ideas. A professional author is, essentially, a creative business person.

As with any business, your author business needs a schedule, deadlines, goals, and a plan. Authors spend time planning the material they are creating, how they will deliver it and, most important, they deliver when that deadline approaches.

As with any job, you have to show up every day at the time designated or else you don’t get paid. Writers who make a living at their craft go to work every day with the mindset that this IS their business and not just a dreamy project that they are going to pick away at. One of the fatal flaws many “hobby authors” make is in thinking that the writing success will just happen if they keep plugging away haphazardly. Maybe it will, but most likely, it’s your approach to the writing craft as a business that will determine your level of success.

Of course there is nothing wrong with writing as a hobby! However, if you want to turn this into a real thing, start to think and plan as a business leader. Pro authors make a living at writing because they are intentional with their business goals.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I a writing hobbyist or is this my future business?
  • Do I have a business plan for my author business?

Pro Author Trait #3: Write Valuable Content People Want to Read

A pro author does one of two things: either tells a good story [fiction] or provides solutions to a problem [nonfiction]. A great author can even combine both for a more compelling read!

It isn’t enough just to be a good writer, but you have to write with intentional purpose and provide valuable content people want to read. If you write fiction, you craft page-turners with crisp plots leading to a compelling climax.

For nonfiction authors, your readers have a problem and they need you to solve it. Knowing your audience and writing for them is the best way to make your content valuable and in demand. You can master your craft by giving people what they desire most: entertainment, information, inspiration, or a book that promises to change their lives forever.

Ask Yourself:

  • Who am I writing for?
  • Does my content provide a specific solution?
  • Am I engaging my readers?

Pro Author Trait #4: Delegate Business Work to Other Professionals

There are so many tasks that a writer can do that have nothing to do with writing: editing, cover design, formatting, book promotions, and social media engagement. The list is endless. For pro authors, the crux of your daily activities should focused around product creation. This could be writing a book, blogging, or creating a course.

But the fact is, time is limited. If you try to do it all, you’ll get burned out and start watching television to escape.

As with any business, you need a tribe of people assigned to different parts of the business so that you have more time to do the work that only you can do: writing books. This means creating content readers love should be at the forefront of your business. Delegating everything else to freelancers will save you precious time and eliminate the stress of feeling like “I have to do it all.”

Ask yourself:

  • Is there anything I’m doing that falls outside of content creation?
  • If so, could the extra work be done by someone else?
  • Could I find someone on Upwork or Fiverr to take care of it, or do I need to look elsewhere?

Identify where you can save yourself both time and stress by delegating the little stuff so you can spend more time doing what pro authors do best…write books!

Pro Author Trait #5: Become a Habitual Note Taker

Both fiction and nonfiction writers craft their books around the ideas they have day and night. And we never know when or where these ideas are going to strike.

Ideas are like rainbows; one minute they’re here and the next minute…poof, they’re gone! You need to be ready at all times to catch ideas as they come. If not, you’ll struggle to remember hours later what that “golden idea” was that passed through your mind.

Get into the habit of carrying a small notebook with you. When you go to sleep, keep your notebook within reach for ideas that come in the night, or as you doze in the morning. You can install idea-capturing apps on your devices such as Evernote, Simplenote, and Apple Notes. Make your idea capturing system easily accessible at all times.

Ask yourself:

    • Am I prepared at all times for capturing ideas?
    • How can I set up my system for note taking when I’m on the run? When I’m sleeping? When I’m at a party conversing with important people and suddenly get that idea I’ve been waiting for all year?

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Pro Author Trait #6: Read with Purposeful Intent

Writers read! Yes, we love reading. It stimulates your imagination and paves the way for more ideas. You can read books in your genre or read something totally unrelated. When you’re not writing, set aside time to read your favorite book. If you are writing a series of books on sales, you could read books on that topic. It could give you more insight into your area of expertise.

Reading just fifteen minutes before bed enhances sleep patterns, reduces cortisol levels, and improves cognitive functions. So don’t find the time to read; make a conscious choice to create that reading habit, even if it is only for a few minutes.

Ask Yourself:

  • How much time can I read a day?
  • What book can I start reading now that would improve my business or contribute to personal development?

Pro Author Trait #7: Retain Readers and Build a Loyal Fan Base

If you notice, almost all professional authors got that way because they focused on a particular brand or niche. Then they built a strong following of raving fans in that niche. Readers become fans and fans become regular customers who buy your other books.

The best way to create a loyal following is to write for your fans. Keep giving them more of what they crave by constantly creating content that offers value. When you write, know who you are writing for and create content they need.

By using an email marketing service such as MailChimp or AWeber, you can gather email addresses of your loyal fans and communicate with them regularly. Pro authors understand the absolute must of having an email list, and they build their author business entirely around it.

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I writing for a specific niche, or do I change topics often?
  • What do my readers like about my work? If you aren’t sure yet, find out why people are reading your stuff.
  • What email marketing service am I using to collect email addresses?

Pro Author Trait #8: Recognize the Importance of Rewriting

Every great author knows that the real writing isn’t in the first draft—the real work towards greatness begins during the self-editing phase. The first draft offers a framework for the book and the rewrite is the guts of the machine; it’s here that all the sweating and crying pays off.

Writing is 10% talent and 90% hard work. The pros spend about 20% of their efforts on the first draft and the rest goes towards rewriting, revising, pulling their hair out, and refining the manuscript until they get it to the point that it’s good enough to ship to the editor.

Many authors, even the pros, can get bogged down in editing. This is especially true when the perfectionist monster is on your back. But real pros know that an unfinished book is an unpublished book, and nobody reads a book that isn’t published.

In a very tiny nutshell, here’s how to be a writer:

Be a pro.

Revise your work.

Let a professional editor polish it.

Ship your product.

Ask Yourself:

  • Do I spend enough time on rewriting?
  • Do I get bogged down in the editing phase and need to ship it to the editor?

Pro Author Trait #9: Ship Product Consistently Despite Their Fears

As Seth Godin says:

“Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly. Skip meetings. Often. Skip them with impunity. Ship…The paradox of our time is that the instincts that kept us safe in the day of the saber tooth tiger and General Motors are precisely the instincts that will turn us into road kill in a faster than fast internet-fueled era. The resistance is waiting. Fight it. Ship.”

James Patterson published 15 titles last year. Indie author Patrick King publishes a book every 4-5 weeks.

Pro authors are always putting out content and creating. But shipping raises fear in many people. Let’s face it, it’s scary to put stuff out there for everyone to judge and criticize. But if you want to become the professional you know you can be, you have to ship your product as often as you can.

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I stuck because I’m afraid of shipping my book?
  • How can I get over the fear of putting my content out there?

Pro Author Trait #10: Become a Master of Rejection

If there is any one trait that a professional writer has it is this: the ability to keep pushing forward despite the critics, naysayers, and abundant forms of rejection. You’ve no doubt heard the stories of power authors like Rowling and Grisham, King and Margaret Mitchell. Getting rejected or having your draft torn apart by critics and reviewers can crush your confidence, but only if you let it.

The one trait that turns an average person into extraordinary is the ability of taking rejection and crushing through the barrier of being told “No.” The authors who make it develop grit. In psychology, grit is based on your passion for a particular long-term goal, alongside motivation to achieve your objective. In other words, you get what you want when you want it badly enough.

Ask Yourself:

  • How badly do I want to write this book?
  • Am I passionate about the story or content I am crafting?

How Bad Do You Want It?

Success as an author rarely happens by accident. It’s a combination of strategic planning, your mental attitude, and perseverance. Whether you are struggling to write your first book, or you already have a thriving business based on writing, by sticking to the 10 traits of successful authors, you can take your writing career to an all new level.

Now you know how to be a writer. But are you going to do it? Imagine where you could be in six months from now once you implement these traits and make it happen.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

Become a Motivational Speaker

Become a Motivational Speaker (Why All Authors Should)

There’s a common misconception about professional authors that prevents many people from realizing their dream of going pro. If you think an author’s only job is writing, you’re mistaken. If you want to become a professional author, there’s so much more to the job than jamming away on your computer all day. When you learn how to become a motivational speaker, you’re much better able to build a strong brand as an author.

8 Reasons Why You Should Become a Motivational Speaker

Once your book is published, your next move can help pave the way for your book’s success. When you branch out into speaking engagements, you may discover for yourself these eight surprising ways becoming a motivational speaker helps you as an author.

1. Becoming a Speaker Sets You Apart

The truth is, the world of self-published books is quickly becoming a saturated field. That means you need to do whatever it takes to bring attention to your book, including being assertive about marketing. We author and writer types are often reserved and introverted, and may not seek out public speaking opportunities. If you’re a speaker AND an author, you stand out from those one-trick ponies!

While some authors prefer to stay out of the spotlight, that’s not a wise marketing move. To find readers and make a name for yourself, you need to put yourself out there. Speaking engagements garner attention for your book, and set you apart from the (shy!) pack who aren’t as comfortable in the limelight.

The good news is that even if you aren’t a born speaker, you can learn the skills you need to become comfortable on the stage.

2. Speaking Engagements Make You a Better Writer

Learning the art of both forms of communication—writing and speaking—will bode well for your career. Reading passages from your book is commonplace at book launches, author events, and speaking engagements. The beauty of this exercise is that you get to see your words through a different lens—that of your readers. You can see the real-world, real-time impact your words have on others. Not only is this a cool feeling, it can help you tailor your next book to whatever your audience responds best to.

3. Speaking Establishes You as an Expert

People make value judgments, and if you’re speaking in front of a specific group about your passions, then you MUST be an expert, right? While writing a book can also establish you as an expert, there’s something about standing up in front of a crowd that solidifies you in that “expert” light.

Speaking engagements in your professional area or your book’s niche will earn you professional credibility within that community. Your perceived authority and prestige will be boosted by your association with the event you choose to speak at. 

4. Speaking Fees Generate Income

Speaking fees can add up when you consistently book speaking engagements. If you do it enough, speaking can become a significant income stream for you as an author. In fact, speaking fees can even surpass the money you make from book sales.

The more speaking engagements you book, the higher the rate you can demand for your services. The more you speak, the better you’ll be at it, thereby opening the door to lucrative engagements, like keynote speaking at large events.

5. Speaking Gigs Sell More Books

If you knock-it-out-the-park with your speech, you’ll have attendees clamoring to buy your book. “Back of the room” sales can boost your book’s success! Take your books to your events, and press-the-flesh in the back of the room. Sign, smile, and meet your fans, and you’ll make money while feeling like a rock star in the process.

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6. Becoming a Speaker Broadens Your Network

Public speaking enables you to connect with your fans and create new fans. If you make a connection with your speech, and you take the time to develop a relationship by answering questions and signing books, you’re marketing yourself, your brand, and your books.

By extension, this type of marketing will result in your fans talking about you to other potential fans. The word will spread that you’re a speaker who must be heard, and an author who must be read. Leverage these connections by collecting emails at your speaking engagements, so you can follow up on future speaking dates and book releases.

7. Speech Writing Lets You Test New Ideas

Perhaps you have a cool new idea for a blog post or a book topic. Write up a speech and try it out during a small speaking engagement, before committing it to print. This is how big-time comedians test their material: a surprise appearance at a tiny venue. They get to see up close the audience’s reaction to what they’re saying so they can refine their messaging.

You can join Toastmasters International if you’d rather not test material on a “real” audience.  Interacting with your audience and getting their read on your material can help you decide whether your ideas are publication-worthy.

8. Speaking Generates New Income Sources

CDs, DVDs, courses, workshops: all of these options are secondary sources of income from your book and your role as a speaker. The more prolific you become as a speaker, the more marketable your additional revenue streams will become.

Even if you start off speaking for free to ten students at the local community college, your speaking career can evolve to higher levels. If you’ve recently been published in a well-known publication, had a media appearance, or hit a best-seller list, you can up your speaking engagement fee and product prices accordingly.

Being a writer is great, but if you want to become a professional author,  then speaking is a great next step in making sure your book makes into the hands of your intended audience. When you share your message, you’re opening the door of possibility for new, exciting opportunities for you as an author.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!