Keep it Simple

I had spoken at a writing conference with about 140 authors, all in different stages of their career. Some were just starting out and some had been at it for many years. There were authors who self-published and those that were traditionally published. Some were 16-years-old, some were 40, and one author was 82.

During the conference I purposely sat in the back of the room, to get a feel on how the audience was reacting to the speakers who went on before me. An editor spoke first about writing mechanics. Next was a manager at Borders, who talked about what makes a sell-able book. Then was a marketing team.

Finally, it was my turn.

As I walked up to the podium, I glanced at the faces of the authors. They were consumed with information. Honestly, how much more could these authors take before they were overwhelmed? So I decided to keep it simple.

“There are only four things an author needs to do, in order to have a career. How well you do these things, will depend on what kind of career you will have. Here they are…”

Now, I am going to share this simple information with you. Write this down and post it on your wall.

1. Read

2. Write

3. Market

4. Publish

That’s it.

Authors who are successful in reading, writing, marketing, and publishing, will have a career.


* Do not miss a day of reading. You may not write everyday, but you better read everyday. If you do not have time to read, then you do not have time to be an author.

* Read in your genre, read uplifting books, and read outside your genre. This will help expand your talents.

* If you watch TV at night, read during the commercials. Have a book with you at all times.

* How much you read will determine how successful an author you will be.


* “Experts” that tell you to write everyday, are wrong. You need time for those ideas to build in your head. You need breaks. If you push a manuscript, the story will seem “forced.”

* For some reason, I never look at word count. Maybe because I have enough pressure to write 100,000 words, I don’t need a counter. Maybe because the characters take over my book and do the storytelling, so word count doesn’t matter. Remember that you are an author and the plot will decide on how many words each week has been written. When the book is finished, check your word count. It is what it is.

* The quality of your writing, both in mechanics and storytelling, will determine how successful an author you will be.


* Don’t think that marketing yourself started the last five years. Authors have always been willing to promote their work. Before Internet, book tours, and marketing campaigns, authors would read their work at a pub or book club. The point is that others need to know about you.

* You do not need a degree in marketing to promote yourself. Keep a budget and stick to it. Find out the best ways to invest your money. If all else fails, word of mouth is free.

* How much marketing and the quality of your marketing will determine how successful an author you will be.


* You cannot have a career as an author unless you are published. Authors know this, which is why self-publishing is flourishing. It’s okay to self-publish, if you are successful with the elements of reading, writing, and marketing.

* If you are talented and working hard with reading, writing, and marketing, then you might want to give traditional publishing a shot. Literary agents and traditional houses look for authors with value. Authors that are avid readers and know what it takes to write a great book, along with a marketing plan that reaches a target audience, are gold to those in the publishing industry.

* The company you decide to publish with, will determine how successful an author you will be.

Read. Write. Market. Publish.

Those are the only four things you need to do as an author. If you keep it simple, your goals will be more reachable.

You have the talent, but authors cannot make it on talent alone. Improve your reading skills. Improve your writing. Improve your marketing.

When the time is right, enjoy your success in publishing.

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

Six Chapter Preview:

Manager: Melissa Link


Ron Knight

Facebook Twitter 



  1. I think I look forward your next blog entry. Every day I look to see what is next. Thanks so much for the encouragement and for being an inspiration.

  2. Ron Knight says:

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ll look forward to seeing you each day. Let others know about the blog, so they can be encouraged as well!