While most people talk about the tactical things around writing a book: what software you should use, when you should write, what tools help, how to format your book… not enough people talk about the mindset behind publishing.
Mindset tips for authors are different than other mindset tips out there.
Writing a book is incredibly hard and not an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination. Just like other creative careers, it is brave to even consider it as an option.
In this article, we will be going over mindset tips for authors, how you can get ready to write and commit to the journey of bringing your book idea from just an idea to a published book.
Let’s go over some different mindsets you can use to help you along your path to becoming a successful author.
Table of Contents
1 – Do not compare your publishing journey to another author
One of the big traps that most people, especially authors, fall into is comparing their publishing journey to other authors.
What worked for one author won’t work for you. Just because someone got a book deal in a month and yours is taking a few years does not (necessarily) mean there is something wrong with your book.
Look at even the difference between Stephen King and George R. R. Martin and how different their paths have been. Both are wildly successful but both publish at completely different rates, have different page counts, and a lot of other variables.
Many authors can let this take over their mind, plague them with doubt about their own career, and ultimately slow their own growth because they are so focused on everyone else instead of becoming better authors.
Sure, you should not stick your head in the sand and ignore when something clearly isn’t working. However, you need to focus on your own path.
Every single path is different, so accept that for your own sanity.
2 – Take advice from people who are on or respect your journey
Do not take advice from people who have no idea what it is like to publish a book or write at all, especially if the advice is negative. Write the book you want to write, and at the same time, be open to advice.
You will encounter people who think it is crazy to try and publish a book at all. You will encounter people who do not like your niche, the way you write, the ending to your book, etc.
At the same time, you need people who can give you real feedback without simply telling you that your book is perfect and there is nothing you need to fix in it.
You need feedback along the way, as we all do. However, you will want to think carefully about who the advice is coming from.
If you are writing a horror story, do not ask your cousin who is creeped out by spooky stories to read your book, because of course they will hate it!
You don’t want to stick your head in the sand as an author and ignore all critical feedback, especially if it can actually help you grow your career, but you certainly do not want to let every piece of feedback get to you.
Take what actually applies to you and your situation and move on.
3 – Separate yourself from your work
You are not your work. If people don’t like your work, it does not mean they dislike you.
Feedback is rarely personal but many authors can take it personal since creative work feels like such an extension of yourself.
A written book feels like something so personal but you must learn to separate the feedback from who you are.
It can be easy to get defensive over every rejection (and there will be a lot along your publishing journey), but what makes a true professional is someone who can hear it, learn from it, apply it, and keep writing no matter what.
Remember this especially when you hire an editor –aka the person who makes all the red marks on your manuscript– they are there to make your work better, not to make it worse.
4 – Turn pro
This idea comes from Steven Pressfield, and all of his books are amazing for artists, but it centers around the idea of taking your creative work seriously instead of messing around.
You take your routines seriously, your writing seriously, and you don’t let anything (even yourself) get in the way.
“The thesis of this book is that what ails you and me has nothing to do with being sick or being wrong. What ails us is that we are living our lives as amateurs. The solution, this book suggests, is that we turn pro. Turning pro is free, but it’s not easy. You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind. Turning pro is free, but it’s not without cost. When we turn pro, we give up a life with which we may have become extremely comfortable. We give up a self that we have come to identify with and to call our own. We may have to give up friends, lovers, even spouses.”Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro
Turning pro means you will do whatever it takes to write your book and get it published. Period. End of story.
That means there is dedicated time on your calendar to write, you will sign up for self publishing courses if you need to, you ask for feedback, and you keep diligently working toward publication.
It’s not something you put off until “one day”, instead you are making huge moves this week.
5 – Treat your routines as sacred
There is not a single successful author out there who only writes when motivation sparks. They all have a routine that is sacred that they treat as seriously as a regular 9-to-5 job.
You cannot write when it feels right and expect to have any kind of serious career.
Even if you have not made a cent from writing or you have not even finished your first book, you still need to honor your routine.
For a great book and interview on the power of mindsets and the science behind them, check out Michael Hyatt’s new book, Mind Your Mindset.
6 – Learn the basics of business
Whether you choose to go the self-publishing or traditional publishing route, you will need to learn some of the basics of marketing.
It is worth it to also build your brand as an author and start to publish on social media, on a blog, or start a newsletter.
Your strength is writing after all, so keep writing in your marketing efforts.
This practice will also give you the knowledge to write new books and create new offers for your audience as you interact with them more.
Lastly, learning marketing will make it much easier to sell your books down the line.
7 – Staying the course even through hard times
While it might seem fun to be a professional author, and it can be, there is no doubt that you will go through times that test your resolve
There will be times when you are suffering from writer’s block for prolonged periods of time but need to keep showing up to the keyboard.
It takes a lot to be rejected for a book deal and then get right back up the next morning and keep pitching your book.
If it helps, know that every single author who has made a career out of this (or even a successful hobby) has gone through this. They have felt stuck, been rejected, thought about quitting, but kept putting words on the page no matter what.
Pushing through those moments will be the reason you do or do not make it as an author. You might need to take a few days off just to let the disappointment wear off, but you must get back to it.
What to do next
Ready to step up to the plate and get your book written and published?
This guide will help you make it happen: