How many times have you compared yourself to other writers? Lots, I’d wager. If you write horror, I’m sure you try to measure up to Stephen King. Or if middle grade or young adult is your genre of choice to write, then do you try to be as good as J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyers or Rick Riordan? If you do, you’ll hit a brick wall every time because all those authors are being who they’re meant to be and excelling at it. Sure, they’re the trail-blazers, and many times pacesetters in their genres. But if you constantly compare yourself to bestselling traditional authors or successful indie authors then you’ll never be happy.
Stop. Doing. That.
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to a career in publishing. What you can do is learn to use your strengths and embrace your weaknesses, and then delegate what you can’t do. Choose an author you admire as a pacesetter, but don’t constantly compare yourself to him or her. Learn from them. Watch what they do, and do what you can or what you feel comfortable doing. Take risks, but don’t compromise your integrity. I’m not the greatest public speaker (nor do I want to be). The thought of doing a school visit shakes me to the core. But I’ve moved out of my comfort zone to do them. Not many, but some. On the other hand, I try to go out of my way to help other authors achieve their goals and dreams by tweeting or sharing their books, or hosting them on my blog. After all, there’s strength in numbers!
I read a post from Kristen Lamb about why you should use your author name to build your brand. She shares the formula to create a brand in the post. So using my own name, the formula would go like this:
Name (Sharon Ledwith) + Product (Books: The Last Timekeepers series) + Emotional Experience (the payoff readers receive).
The more books you write and get published, the bigger your platform gets, and the more readers will seek you out. Think about the music industry. If say, Katy Perry (one of my favs) only had a few songs on tap and never bothered creating a body of work, she’d never be the successful singer that she is today. Same with Adele or Justine Timberlake. One hit wonders are just that— they burst onto the scene, and then fizzle out just as fast if they don’t continue to build their brand. So don’t write one book, create a backlist.
When I first started contemplating a career in writing I used Diana Gabaldon (who writes the Outlander series) as a pacesetter. I tried to write thick, juicy books loaded with descriptions and character development like she did. Um. Yeah. Throw me in the time portal now so I can unlearn that. Although I did learn many things from her style and writing, I could never be her. There’s only ONE Diana Gabaldon, and that’s fine by me. I think I’ll concentrate my energies on being Sharon Ledwith, stop comparing myself to other authors, and write more books for my readers to escape to the past and have a blast!
BTW—Speaking of more books, Book 2 in my time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret comes out October 17th through Mirror World Publishing! It’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait! And if you can’t wait, here’s the Amazon PRE-ORDER link if you feel inclined to check out my newest time travel adventure. Cheers and thank you for reading my blog! I truly appreciate it!