You’re looking for a new book to read. Stacked on a table in your local library or bookstore is an array of choices: new fiction and nonfiction by a variety of contemporary authors. You spot a book by one of your favorites. “Ooh, there’s a new Veronica Thunderpants novel. I love her,” you say to yourself as you grab the book and head for the check-out line.
What is it about Veronica Thunderpants that causes you to gravitate immediately to her work? How did you hear about Ms. Thunderpants in the first place? We’re willing to bet that, although Ms. Thunderpants is an award-winning, compelling writer, there’s more at play than just writing. For one thing, Thunderpants is a great name, and we are enjoying typing it over and over. But there’s more to it than the writing and the great name. This author, probably along with her publishing team, has worked hard to cultivate a persona that would appeal to a certain audience—for instance, women of a certain age in Middle America.
What’s the formula for this kind of success? There are many roads, but being a successful author today often involves:
- Working hard at finding a unique voice
- An awareness of who her audience is and what they like to read
- An appealing public personality, presented through media, online, at speaking engagements, etc.
- Authenticity and authority—people need to trust the author. This doesn’t have to be 100 per cent genuine. Remember the saying attributed to George Burns: “Sincerity—if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
There’s more to author success than this, and every story is a little different. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what attracted you to a certain beloved author.