11 Tips for Building an Author Career

Let’s get right to it. Here are eleven tips that every author should use to build a career:

Be Visible

There was a time when authors had to attend writing conferences, do lectures, and put up a table at state fairs to be noticed. You can still do all of those things, but social media has changed how you can be visible to others. If you used correctly, you can build fans, along with a network of contacts. (HINT: It’s all about whether your content benefits others.)

Brand Your Name

I was working with a public relations rep on a press release. In certain parts, he only mentioned my first name, instead of saying my full name. I told him, “My brand is Ron Knight, not just Ron.”

As an author, you need to think the same way. Your author name is your business name. Market and brand that name to the world.

Try everything

Here is the best way to explain the phrase, try everything:

I came up with an idea for X. It did not work, so I tried Y. I realized that I needed a combination of X and Y to create a new idea that turned into Z.

You have to try several ideas and use a combination of those ideas to create opportunities.

Guard Your Character

I’m not talking about the characters in your book, but rather your personality, disposition, moral fiber, integrity, reputation. The fastest way to ruin that is to post something personal and hateful on Facebook or Twitter. You can sink an entire career on one thoughtless comment.

If you want to be a rich author that the entire world looks to as an example of worthiness, then you must first be an example of worthiness.


UP Authors preaches four basic principles of becoming successful:

~ Excel at Reading

~ Excel at Writing

~ Excel at Marketing

~ Excel at Publishing

You need to improve everyday in those four areas until you are excelling in those four areas. Once you are, success will follow.

Write for Readers

This can be difficult to grasp, but successful authors are not in the business of writing for themselves. You must understand that readers know what they want. If you are writing for yourself and hoping to obtain readers, your chances of success are about zero. If you are writing for a large target group of readers, then your chances of success are favorable.

Succeed, Expand, Succeed, Expand

There are two schools of thought:

~ Concentrate on one area of your writing and succeed.

~ Excel in one area of your writing, then expand to other areas, excel, then expand some more.

Which choice do you think will bring more opportunities?

Solve Problems

Is there a problem with publishing? Find a way to solve it.

Is there a problem with how books are presented to readers? Find a way to solve it.

Is there a book that can help single mothers? Find a way to write that book.

Is there a better way that authors can work together? Find a solution.

If you are a problem solver, people will follow you anywhere. If they follow you, they will buy books from you.


Is there anyone in your life that you can share your ideas with? I have a manager that I share ten ideas a month, along with all my manuscripts. She tears apart my ideas and tells me what is wrong with my manuscripts. She keeps me humble and pushes me to find better ideas and polish my writing.

Most of all, she says “no” sometimes when I have an idea, which challenges me to rework that idea until I can get a, “yes.” She is hard on me when it comes to writing, which forces me to keep improving.

You need someone to keep you in line and motivated to excel at the highest level.


Everything we discussed so far is about your willingness to adjust. When things go wrong, adjust. When the publishing industry drastically changes, adjust. When you are having a rotten day, adjust your thinking. Nothing is going to be perfect in your life, or your career.

Fiddle with different ideas. Correct your mistakes. Modify, tweak, and adapt. 

Enjoy Every Moment

When I see authors post their frustrations about their lack of success, I feel bad for them. I want to write a perfect blog that will give them the advice to change their approach and find success with their writing. But I suppose there is only so much advice and motivation I can do for any author.

You have to enjoy the ups and downs of writing for a living.

Ron Knight 



Ron Knight

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  1. Hi, Ron. As usual, I like what you have to say…possibly because I share many of those convictions?

    The hard one for me is “Write for readers.” I’m afraid my readers are an amorphous group of semi-scholarly, totally poetic, history-culture-mythology-loving Renaissance men and women who possibly do not even exist, outside of my tortured brain. I delude myself with this thought: Somewhere there are people who liked my stuff well enough to accept it for publication, so those same kinds of people will possibly read and enjoy it once it’s published. And I admit that those people are pitifully few, and I shall never be rich beyond my wildest dreams.

    Ah, well, life goes on. And still I write, and blog, and share, and market, and plan, and befriend, and philosophize, and …

  2. Ron you are absolutely correct on your name being your brand. I’ve had readers email that they crossed genres (I write fantasy Romance and Interracial Contemporary Romance) because Cora Blu wrote the book. Even had a reviewer list all my books in her review on Amazon.
    You never know who your audience truly is. You can only put out the best product everywhere, and be as professional as possible.
    Cora Blu

  3. Great blog post! I especially like the four basic principles of becoming successful:
    ~ Excel at Reading
    ~ Excel at Writing
    ~ Excel at Marketing
    ~ Excel at Publishing
    You need to improve everyday in those four areas until you are excelling in those four areas. Once you are, success will follow.

    I agree with Erin that writing for readers is the most difficult for me. My brand is sexy, wild, daring, and risky. I deliberately take risks that alienate lots of readers. Only those interested in reading risque’ material will indulge. I have a small readership in a small niche, but I feel it’s better to stay true to who I am as a person and writer. I’ve accepted that it won’t mean big bucks for me. I’ll have to see my success in other terms than monetary ones.