Author success does not come all at once. In our last post, we took a look at some of the common stages an author’s career might go through over the course of finding their own brand of author success. This week, we’ll continue on through the last four levels of success an author can strive to achieve.
Level Five: The “Corporate” Level
I call Level Five the “corporate” level because the tactic of bundling and add-ons is a common strategy used by almost every corporation. At Level Five, achieving success means grouping your existing products into bundles, box sets, groups of products, and otherwise lumping things you’ve already created together in order to maximize revenue and offering supplementary content to entice buyers.
Level Five isn’t about creating new products, it’s about bundling existing work together in cool, innovative (and profitable!) ways.
How to Reach Level 5:
- Strengthen your personal author platform to maximize control over your sales process.
- Leverage the products you’ve already created, packaging them together in new and attractive ways.
- Guide readers along a specific journey on your site and optimize sales paths.
Level Six: Beyond the Book
At Level Six, you transcend the traditional confines of a book. You’re leveraging the brand you’ve built and the characters you’ve created in new and unexpected ways — ways that absolutely delight your readership.
You might develop merchandise, soundtracks, and other unique products that are spin-offs from your literary work.
How to Reach Level 6:
- Transition from seeing yourself as an author to recognizing yourself as a brand.
- Engage deeply with your readers. Know your brand evangelists and engage them to help sell your brand.
- Brainstorm and dream of unique merchandise or products related to your books. Soundtracks, bobbleheads, themed merchandise, and more.
- Use platforms like Patreon to engage fans on a deeper level. Offer them exclusivity and involve them in the creation process.
- Segment your mailing list to tailor your marketing and engagement strategies to different subsets of your fanbase.
Level Seven: Personal Access & Consultation
Level Seven success means you’re now offering personalized access, perhaps even in the form of consultation or mentorship to budding authors or die-hard fans. You’re recognizing that your time and expertise hold value beyond just the written page.
How to Reach Level 7:
- Recognize that to some fans, you are their all-time favorite author and they’d pay for personalized interaction.
- Offer unique experiences: writing retreats, personal consultations, or even group workshops.
- Think like a consultant, offering your expertise and experiences to those willing to learn.
- Package your knowledge into consumable formats, whether that’s a personalized retreat, online course, or a workshop.
Level Eight: The Brand Empire
Level Eight — the Empire Level. This one’s about being more than just an author; it’s about being a brand or even a movement. Your works have potential far beyond just the written word, and you’re looking to expand and capitalize on that.
How to Reach Level 8:
- Aim to be a keynote speaker or run personal events.
- Expand your writing universe, potentially even bringing in other writers to contribute.
- Diversify your offerings: consider recording courses, selling movie rights, licensing, and more.
- The key difference is delegation: while you oversee and maintain the vision, you’re not necessarily creating every piece of content or product.
- Build and lead a team. Surround yourself with professionals that can help carry out your vision, from editors to marketers to merchandise creators.
- Envision your end goal and create a plan to achieve it. Understand that Level Eight doesn’t necessarily mean global domination or selling out arenas – it’s about achieving the pinnacle of success that you personally envision.
And there we have it — a whirlwind tour through the labyrinthine voyage of an author’s career. While the stages outlined reflect the patterns and milestones I’ve discerned over the years, the true essence of your journey lies in the heartbeats between these levels, in the stories that are uniquely yours.
A few takeaways, as we draw this exploration to a close:
Every Author’s Path is Distinct
While frameworks and guidelines can offer direction, they aren’t prescriptive. They’re like maps in an RPG game — they outline the terrain, but the adventures you undertake, the allies you forge, the challenges you encounter, and the victories you celebrate are wholly yours.
The Journey is as Significant as the Destination
While ‘leveling up’ is exhilarating, there’s unparalleled wisdom in the struggles, the ‘writer’s blocks,’ the revisions, and even the rejections. They mold you, fortify your spirit, and enrich your narratives.
Connect and Collaborate
Whether you’re at a mixer, a writers’ conference, or even in the digital realm, seek out peers and mentors. Share stories, swap experiences, and learn. The literary world isn’t a solitary island but a vibrant archipelago. The bridges you build can lead to unforeseen and wondrous territories.
Stay Rooted, But Let Your Aspirations Soar
While it’s pivotal to remain grounded in your authentic voice, it’s equally crucial to dream big. Whether you’re an indie author penning heartfelt stories or aiming to build a literary empire, let your ambitions be your north star.
The literary realm is dynamic. New genres emerge, reader preferences shift, and narrative styles evolve. Stay attuned to these winds of change. But more importantly, evolve with them. Not for mere relevance, but for growth, for the sheer thrill of exploration.
In conclusion, your authorial journey is an epic saga in itself, punctuated with myriad chapters, each replete with its plots, subplots, characters, and arcs. As VP of Author Success at Draft2Digital, my job is exactly that — committing to your success as an author.
Here’s to your journey, your legacy, and the infinite tales awaiting your touch. Write on.