Since I teach a lot of online courses, I tend to seek out and study other online training offers. These may be blog posts, courses, webinars, workshops, conferences, and so much else.
Many of these appear to be very high quality, full of value. But it’s also not uncommon for me to see:
- People selling incredible results with a minimal amount of effort.
- People basing their training programs on what amounts to a “case study of one.” For example, they landed on Amazon’s Top 100 list with three of their books, and will now show you how to do it with yours.
I recently saw a pitch for a training program to teach you how to write a bestselling book in less than a week. Yep. It was specifically described as being “easy.”
In today’s post, I’m here to take my turn at teaching you how to make your book a bestseller, then use that system to make all future books bestsellers. And I’m giving you this for free. Because that is how generous I am. And humble. (Please don’t forget how humble I am.)
Here’s my simple formula for your overnight success:
- Write a really, really good book. But don’t take too long to do it or you won’t be guaranteed to hit the bestseller list in a week (i.e., you’ll mess up the formula). Write a lot of words, every day, really fast.
- If you already have a “success story,” that’s a big plus because you can use it to gain credibility. If you don’t have one, you should go get one. This will help you become a bestseller.
- Have a big personality. (Practice in front of the mirror if you need to.)
- Befriend “Influencers”™.
- Have an email list. You may not be able to sell a lot of books if you don’t have a big list.
- Ensure everyone you know (personal and on the list) is prepared to clear their schedule so they purchase your book and/or post a review on Amazon the day your book is released.
- Make your book free or cheap, or offer an unbelievable special promotion. Like, give away $300 worth of stuff to anyone who downloads your $1.99 ebook.
- Ensure the ebook moves purchasers into a marketing funnel for your services/products/platform which is where the real money is. If you don’t have other services/products/platform, you need to create those.
- Continue selling success — rinse, repeat.
See how easy that is? You’re welcome.
Yes, I intend for all of that to be satire. Too often, I see “easy dreams” sold to people in high pressure sales. “You will miss out if you don’t act now.”
One thing that is NOT satire is my deep respect for Chuck Wendig and Hugh Howey. Each of them recently shared details around their writing process, which I will outline here as incredible case studies of the dedication and stamina involved in the reality of being a writer.
But note: this information is worth thousands of dollars; please see the PayPal link below to send me that money.
Let’s dig in…
Chuck shared his daily writing process in this blog post, and here is the big teaser:
“I tend to write a new novel every one to four months. That’s first draft. Edits take longer.”
This is Chuck’s daily routine:
- He wakes up at 6 a.m.
- Chuck had a shed built in his backyard that acts as his writing studio.
- He addresses important email and social media tasks first.
- By 7 a.m., he is into writing mode. He uses Microsoft Word.
- He writes 2,000 – 3,000+ words per day. He says, “For me, 2K is a barely passing grade. A D+.”
- Of these, the first 1,000 words are more “sluggish” than the rest, and he gets these out of the way in an hour.
- By early afternoon, he’s done writing. That’s about six hours of writing time per day. This is just books and big projects, mind you. His prolific blog mostly gets written on the weekend.
- He tracks how many words he has written each day in a spreadsheet, and has weekly goals. These goals build up to an overall “writing plan,” because deadlines are a thing that exist.
- The afternoon is spent with “administrative or extraneous stuff, outlines, emails, spreadsheets, finances.”
- He checks in on social media throughout the day, including during short breaks in his morning writing time.
In this interview, Hugh Howey gives us full access to his writing process:
- He writes in the morning, and uses Microsoft Word.
- He writes on his laptop and brings it with him everywhere.
- He generally writes for 2-3 hours per day, and sometimes does full days (8-12 hours) of writing, which amounts to 5,000 – 7,000 words.
- He encourages people to view writing as exercise. “Open up the document, turn off the Internet, and start writing.”
- He has a reading habit that exactly follows these numbers; 2-3 hours of reading per day. He uses the Kindle Voyage for reading.
- He tries to do the same thing everyday so that he makes fewer decisions. This means the same daily habits, same outfit, same meals.
- He generally doesn’t listen to music while writing, but will do so occasionally to get inspired.
- He is a believer in venturing out to have new experiences, meet new people, find new observations to fuel his writing. “Observe the world. Carry around a notebook. Describe strangers. Describe settings.”
The final thing that Hugh shares about his writing process is that he writes wherever he is, regardless of what else is happening:
“I can write anywhere. Yesterday, I’m at a family reunion, and I’m sitting at a table with a lot of conversations, a lot going on. I wrap up a work and hit publish and published right there from a dining room table. I’ve published while up on a panel. Right before the panel started, I was putting the finishing touches on a piece. They were doing introductions, and I’m hitting publish under the table. Sitting on curbs, waiting on taxis, on a book tour — Sand, that entire novel I wrote while in Europe on book tour. I wrote that book across nine different countries without a word of that rough draft written in the U.S. You can’t have an excuse. ‘Well, I’m traveling today, so I’m not going to write.’ My attitude is, if you take a day off, you’re giving yourself an excuse to two, or three, or four days off.”
Again, I love how Chuck and Hugh share the reality of what their lives look like. Personally, I find inspiration in learning about their processes. Yet, there is one important caveat to keep in mind when trying to turn your own vision into success…
In the book Art & Fear, authors David Bayles and Ted Orland describe the value of knowing other artists’ processes this way:
“The important point is not that you have — or don’t have — what other artists have, but rather that it doesn’t matter. Whatever they have is something needed to do their work — it wouldn’t help you in your work even if you had it. Their magic is theirs. You don’t lack it. You don’t need it. It has nothing to do with you. Period.”
Despite this, I do think there are some universal takeaways from what Chuck and Hugh share here:
- Have a process. A process that works for you. Don’t wait for the muse.
- Learn to create even when the world is signaling cues that you could be doing something else.
- Write when unmotivated.
- Write, even when it’s crap.
- Publish; or at least have clear goals with deadlines.
Can you achieve bestseller status in a week? Perhaps. Is bestseller status guaranteed if you follow someone’s ‘secret’ formula? No. No, it’s not. But if we look at case studies like Chuck Wendig, Hugh Howey, and so many others, I believe we can all agree that good habits, hard work, and perseverance can pay off.
What is YOUR writing process like? Do you have a tried-and-true formula for success? If so, can I buy it from you for $19.95?