Generating Opportunities

It only takes one great opportunity for an author to propel to the next level. Most authors concentrate on sending query letters, self-publishing, or eBooks. Those are only three of the hundreds of possible ways to succeed as an author. 

Take a second to think about what an opportunity is supposed to look like. I believe it could be one of two situations: 

~ The author suddenly has a favorable option. This means you have several paths to choose, but something appears as the clear and most productive choice. 

~ The author is suddenly given an alternative option that exists because of a circumstance. For example, this occurs when you are unexpectedly given a big break.   

Favorable options and surprising changes results in opportunities. Authors must put themselves in a position to receive those opportunities. 

The bad news is I cannot tell you where to go, or what to do, because opportunities are different for each author. The good news is that every author has several unique opportunities to launch their career to another level. 

I know an author that took a seasonal job at UPS for just the month of December, met a valuable contact, and launched his career. 

I know an author that helped a third grade class develop their own stories, which gave the author an opportunity to sell his books in all the schools. 

I know an author that had a funeral for her book that she could not publish traditionally. At the funeral, she sold thousands of self-published copies. 

(Yes…she had a funeral for her book.) 

Here are my favorite ways to create opportunities: 

~ Become obsessed with finding solutions to improve the quality of others. Successful fiction writers give readers, fans, businesses, literary agents and publishers something that they need, or want. I call this, “Relationship Building.” If you commit to doing this, I promise you that opportunities will come flooding in. 

~ Read non-fiction books. Fiction helps with your storytelling and writing mechanics, while non-fiction helps you discover opportunities. Read all kinds of non-fiction books; sales, finance, inspirational, psychological, science, marketing, how to groom your pet, log cabin building, famous ghosts, and so on. This fills your brain with ideas, which creates opportunities. (Bonus: It also gives you great ideas for characters.) 

~ Write in different ways. Write books for elementary kids, middle school students, high school students, young adults, and adults. Write different genres. Write a play, based on each of your books. Write poems. Write songs. Write short stories. Write blogs. Write fiction and non-fiction. Write articles in a newsletter. Write content for websites. Ghost write. The more you have to offer, the more opportunities will arrive. 

~ Understand that your words may limit opportunities. You do not want to offend, or limit your audience by stating your personal opinion. This is especially true in blogs and social media. When I’m having a bad day, you will not know about it. How do I feel about certain authors on the bestsellers list? You’ll never know. I will never publicly criticize anyone, or state my personal opinion, unless it directly helps others.

Every single post, comment, blog, email, and speaking engagement, I try to think about making the lives of others better, which increases my opportunities. The same will happen to you, if you keep your author life upbeat and personal opinions private. 

~ Reach deep into your soul and discover what is hidden. You must learn to use every gift, talent, and resource that you possess. Then, you need to stretch farther, improve and excel in every one of your gifts, talents, and resources. Self-Discovery generates ideas, which creates opportunities. 

~ Never bang on a door, just politely knock. There are times when you need assistance to take your career to the next level. When that time comes, do not beg for help, or come on too strong with your personal goals. Slow down. Simplify. Smile. Show respect. 

Take a moment to look beyond what you are doing. I’ve heard people say that eBooks will destroy publishing and I’ve heard that eBooks will replace everything. People say that self-publishing is bad and people say that self-publishing is crucial to the future of authors. People claim that traditional publishing is the gateway to success; others believe that traditional publishing is a failed business model. People say that bookstores are necessary; others believe we do not need bookstores anymore. 

Do you know what I believe? There are plenty of opportunities in eBooks, self-publishing, traditional publishing, and bookstores. As an author, go beyond speculation and figure out how to use them all. Then, find more opportunities. Keep looking. Continue the search. 

And remember, the best opportunities for authors are in the strangest places… 

Ron Knight



Ron Knight

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