10 Keys to Becoming a Successful Writer: An Agent Spills Secrets

Now is the best time to be a writer, but technology is forcing writers to reinvent themselves. They need a new model for becoming successful. The goal of these ten keys is to provide the model. 1. Passion—your love for creating and communicating about your work 2. Purpose—personal, literary, publishing, and community goals that inspire you to achieve them (This column written by prolific literary agent Michael Larsen of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents.)
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Now is the best time to be a writer, but technology is forcing writers to reinvent themselves. They need a new model for becoming successful. The goal of these ten keys is to provide the model.

1. Passion—your love for creating and communicating about your work

2. Purpose—personal, literary, publishing, and community goals that inspire you to achieve them

Column by Michael Larsen of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents.
He has represented hundreds of books, and authored the guide
HOW TO WRITE A BOOK PROPOSAL, 4th Ed. He runs the
San Francisco Writers Conference, which takes place every
President's Day weekend.

Micheal-Pic

3. Prose—devoting yourself to the holy trinity of content: reading, writing, and sharing

The holy trinity of communication is people, platform, and pre-promotion.

4. People—crowdsourcing your success by building win-win relationships with engaged, committed communities of people you serve who want to help you, because they know, like, and trust you. Using your passion to serve others is the ultimate key to success and happiness.

5. Platform--continuing visibility with your communities and buyers for your kind of book

6. Pre-promotion--test-marketing your work in as many ways as you can

7. Promotion— serving your communities by sharing your passion for the value of your work

8. Professionalism

  • a positive perspective about publishing
  • being a contentpreneur running a business that creates, promotes, and re-purposes a steady stream of scalable content in as many forms, media, and countries as you can
  • building a brand
  • maximizing your ability to innovate and be creative, and your use of technology
  • being a life-long learner

9. People, Planet, and Profit—making the effects of your efforts on the holy trinity of sustainability—in this order--the criteria for determining what you do

10. Perseverance—the holy trinity uniting the ten keys: content, communication, and commitment. Having courage, a plan, patience, discipline, faith in yourself, a long-term perspective; failing your way to success; simplifying your life; and celebrating your victories

These keys challenge you to balance yin and yang—creating content and communicating about it. Integrating them will create synergy and a literary ecosystem that will flourish as long as you sustain it. You can adapt the keys to other fields and your personal life.

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Read the latest edition of Michael's book on
HOW TO WRITE A NONFICTION BOOK PROPOSAL.

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