Last Friday I learned I’ll soon be writing a second book for a traditional publisher. I couldn’t feel more proud and excited. And I couldn’t feel more afraid and overwhelmed about being a multiple-book author.
I probably have about seven or eight books I want to write and publish. Not all of them will end up with traditional publishers. Like the 10 short books I’ve already self-published, many of them will appear under my own imprint, I’m sure. And while no one else pushes me to write and publish all these books, I do.
Why Write More Than One Book
Here’s a fact you should know: The more books you sell, the more books you sell. That means the more books you write and publish, the more books you sell.
With each new book, you gain more readers. Those readers might also decide to purchase your other books if they like the first book they read. You also become a better writer, learn more about what it takes to become a successful author and increase your expert status. All of these factors add up to more book sales and a more rewarding career for you as a writer.
That’s why it’s important to consider becoming a multiple-book author. It’s also why most nonfiction book proposals include a Spin-Offs section. In this section you describe several additional books you want to write. This proves to the publisher you are not just a one-book wonder. Publishers want to invest in an author long-term; they want good publishing partners.
What it Takes to Write Multiple Books
I have to admit that the I never put a lot of effort into marketing my self-published books. They were primarily created to help me build platform as a speaker. I need a book to say I was an author and to get more speaking gigs. (However, they sell better today because of my traditionally published book.) Because a traditional publisher had invested in me and I made promises about the book, I felt the need to do more promotion–and to sell books. I had to live up to my commitments. That meant I had to do a lot of work in addition to or besides writing.
Many writers say they want to write a book a year–and some do. Many, like me, have written multiple books. Doing this is not as easy as it sounds (or maybe it doesn’t sound easy to you). Here’s what I think it takes:
- Determination: You must be determined to achieve your goals and to fulfill your purpose as a writer and an author.
- Commitment: You must commit to your goals, purpose and path as a writer or author, just like you would commit to a marriage partner.
- Perseverance: You must be willing to persevere despite difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement—no matter. And that means no excuses.
(I wrote about this more extensively here.)
You also have to be able to move through common issues that arise as you find yourself with more than one book to write and promote at any given time.
- Overwhelm: It can feel like too much, but know you can ask for and receive (pay for) help. Remind yourself you are creating the life of a writer and author.
- Fear: Fear of success as well as fear of failure can stop you in your tracks–even cause writer’s block. You need to constantly remind yourself of why you write and take baby steps forward. Remind yourself, “I can do this. I must do this.”
- Hard Work: Sometimes it will feel too hard. I have days when I work so long…(you don’t even want to know), but the fact that people read my blogs and buy my books, that my book has remained an Amazon bestseller for 29 weeks and that a publisher is about to contract me to write another book makes it worthwhile. (So does seeing a video like this ones in which someone features my book! Pay attention to the books on the desk and the one Don Power picks up.)
Plus, remember that at the end of the day, knowing your books (plural) are out of your head and in the hands of readers–or at least available for purchase–leads to an important aspect of being a writer and author: fulfillment. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is to write and publish multiple books (and, yes, in multiple genres). In this way I truly fulfill my purpose and my potential as an author.
And don’t let anyone tell you you can’t write a book a year–or shouldn’t–or more than a book a year. I say, write as many books in a year as you feel inspired to write. Just be aware of what it takes–and prepared–to be a multiple-book author.