I recently travelled to Brisbane for the Hay House Australia Writer’s Workshop to learn how to win an international book publishing deal. I have wanted to write a book since I was a little girl and consequently left this workshop with a beating heart full of hopes and dreams. I know that my book can help big hearted people ‘find time’ to relax, play, discover their uniqueness, and become their own version of superheroes.
I know that I’m not the only one who dreams of becoming a published author. In fact, if you’re reading this post, there is a high chance that somewhere in your heart you have this hope for yourself too. So I thought I’d take a look at my notes and share some of the lessons I learnt throughout the day with you, in the hope that they’ll inspire your journey to writing a book someday too.
Hay House Australia Writer’s Workshop: Wisdom from published authors
We were blessed to hear a number of Hay House published authors speak at the workshop, including: Dr Wayne Dyer, Megan Dalla-Camina, Susan Pearse and Martina Sheehan, Bronnie Ware, Jon Gabriel and Anita Moorjani. A number of key themes arose as they spoke including:
- It is not essential to have been an A+ writer at school or even a ‘great writer’ to become an author. You need to have a burning desire to share a message that will flow out of you so naturally, and this way you’re writing will speak to others, regardless of whether you are technically a fabulous writer. Writing is listening – listening to your soul – and sharing what it has to say.
- Remember and trust that it will only happen when you are ready. If it is not happening yet, perhaps you are not ready yet. Be patient.
- Busyness is your enemy. Space is your friend. You have to make time for stillness, to take care of yourself, to deepen your connection with your higher self and spirit. Reclaim the quiet idle moments that we tend to fill with looking at our phone, thinking about our To Do lists, or watching TV.
- Don’t be afraid to share your message, even if it seems so very different and woo-woo. Write what you know. Allow your body to be a vehicle for the message it feels within. If you do this, people will resonate with what you have to say.
- If you don’t win a publishing deal, if they don’t ‘choose’ you – choose yourself. Write the book anyway. Get it out there. Self publish, create an e-book, find a way to make it happen. Once the ripples happen, and the words spread, who knows, a publisher might find you anyway (and we heard examples of this at the workshop).
Hay House Australia Writer’s Workshop: Wisdom from head honcho staff at Hay House
We were then blessed to have Hay House President and CEO Reid Tracy and Hay House Australia Managing Director Leon Nacson share their advice and knowledge on the publishing scene, how to get noticed, and how to self publish.
Some general tips for wannabe authors included:
- Beginner authors succeed due to themselves, not to book publicists. It is generally not financially wise to invest in a book publicist as a beginner. Gabby Bernstein’s God Is My Publicist resource was recommended as a good alternative.
- Always hire a professional book editor and cover designer.
- When designing your cover, test to see what it looks like small as a thumbnail on a website or phone. Also look at your category of book and see what covers generally look like. You want your cover to stand out amongst the category, but also look like it belongs in the category.
- If you self publish and are trying to get the attention of a publisher, selling approximately 3000 books in 6 months is a noticeable number in Australia.
- A general book size is 266 pages, and 20,000 to 70,000 words.
- Adult colouring in books are HUGE and highly sought after at the moment.
- Always be aware of who your audience is. Think of the reader, the journey you hope they will go on, and the transformation you wish they’ll have through reading your story.
- It takes about ten years and a lot of hustle to be an overnight success.
- Get familiar with your local bookstore – run an event or signing there. Ask for feedback from locals on your titles or ideas. Focus on becoming ‘famous’ in your local area, before you can expect to become ‘famous’ globally.
- Unless you are famous, most books don’t go straight to the top of the bestseller list. It generally takes a long time, lots of work, and lots of promotion to get them there.
- Subscribe to the Hay House Australia and Hay House newsletters to keep in the loop with the industry and offers.
Some tips for those who want to be signed by a publisher:
There is a misconception that publishers sell books. They don’t. Authors sell books. Authors write the book, publishers get it published and on the shelves, and then authors get the books off the shelves and into their readers’ hands through promotion and their platform. This led into one of the big lessons of the day – the importance of building your platform.
Some tips on building your platform included:
- It is generally better for your website and social media to be branded under your name, not some other descriptive name. If it is branded under a descriptive name, make sure you as a person are clearly connected to the website and brand – that people who follow you, know your name, and know your picture.
- Ensure you have a mailing list connected to your website. This means having a free gift or special offer advertised on your website for those who hand over their email address to you (for example, my subscribers have access to the free Making A Difference, Your Way workshop and workbook via my website banner). The more people you have on your mailing list the better.
- Send regular emails to your mailing list with quality content and value. The more engaged your audience the better. Publishers will be interested in knowing your mailing list numbers and engagement rates. (I send my subscribers a weekly email with free coaching, resources and inspiration using Mailchimp. Mailchimp shows me my subscriber numbers, open rates, click rates – and how these rates compare to the industry average.)
- Have a social media presence. This means building an engaged audience on social media platforms. Publishers will be interested in the size of your social media following and their level of engagement with your pages. (Pssst: If you don’t already, please connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest)
- Make sure potential publishers are aware of any other platforms or ways that you can reach your future audience – e.g., through a clinic as a Dr, your students as a teacher, community groups that you are part of, media affiliates, or any other means where you have a captive audience that would be interested in your work.
- Consider purchasing the book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World for guidance on building your platform.
- Remember that everyone starts from zero, even the highly successful authors that you know today.
- Even though platform is important, it isn’t everything – so don’t be too disheartened if your platform does not yet exist or is small. An incredible book proposal with a unique concept and brilliant message will still be enticing to publishers.
I hope that this post is helpful to you in some way. If it was, I’d love if you’d say “hello” below and tell me about your dream to someday be an author.
Let’s soar together,