You’ve got to pay your Dues by Taylor Ellwood

There’s an AC/DC song I really like: “It’s a long way to the Top if you want to Rock and Roll.” I like that particular line, because it reminds me of a simple truth. You’ve got to pay your dues if you want respect and recognition. As both an author, and an editor, I’ve had to pay my dues, to get the recognition I’ve gotten. I’m still paying my dues. And what does that recognition look like? It looks like paid speaking gigs, with travel costs covered. It looks like online courses that have people clamoring to sign up. And its also the feeling of being recognized by someone who enjoys your writing and feels that it has changed his/her life.

One of the common misconceptions that authors have is a belief that a publisher will get that author paid gigs and recognition. Another misconception is that once a book is written, people will line up and automatically recognize your genius. In both cases, the truth is that the author has to do a lot more work then just writing the book. Don’t get me wrong, writing a book is an accomplishment, but if you just rest on your laurels, you’re not going to get very far.

A publisher’s main task is to publish the book. This includes editing and layout for the book, putting together a cover for the book and then printing it. The good publishers will also send review copies out to publications that can help promote the book. And sometimes they’ll have a publicity person that will help the author with ideas on how to promote and market themselves, as well as provide some copy editing help. In rare cases, with larger publishers, you’ll even have the publisher set events up and help pay the author’s way, but in those cases, its usually reserved for the star authors who have paid their dues and earned that kind of service.

An author who is just starting out needs to do the following, if they want the fame and recognition they feel is their due.

1. Get set up on social media sites. Set up a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a google plus account, and post on them regularly. Let people get to know you and make yourself accessible enough that people will want to advocate for you.

2. Write articles and/or stories. Write articles for publications that go out to your target audience, or if fiction is you thing, write stories. You can also put out free mini e-books as a way to get people’s interest up.

3. Offer workshops at local shops and events. Go out and offer classes on the material you’ve published. You can also create online courses. Either way you do need to get the word out if you want people to show up. The only way people know is if you tell them.

4. Pay your way if you want to present at a conference. I paid to present at some of the conferences I presented at, when I first became an author. The organizers didn’t know me and I needed to prove myself before they were going to pay my way and cover my costs. If you want to get into an event, pay your way, or wait until you’re a lot more famous before querying about presenting.

Here’s the end result: If you want recognition and fame, you’ve got to pay your way. You have to be your number one fan, and marketer, if you want people to notice you. Now go out there, be bold, and climb your way up to the top, so you can rock and roll!


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