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Today’s post is from BQB author Terri Ann Leidich. Terri Ann has written two nonfiction books that are currently available in both print and eBook format: For a Grieving Heart and From a Grieving Mother’s Heart. Her debut novel, Family Inheritance is scheduled to be released in October of 2014.

“How Serious Are You About Becoming a Successful Author?” That’s a question I’ve started to ask myself on a pretty regular basis as my book goes through the processes of getting ready for the marketplace. There are millions of people who dream of becoming successful authors, and a good portion of them don’t sell more than a few hundred or a few thousand books, no matter how they’re published. Why? What makes the difference? And am I ready to do what it takes?

While it’s a good dream to think that my book will be published, get into the marketplace, and be a best seller without any effort from me, it’s far from reality, especially in today’s world when hundreds of thousands of books are entering the marketplace every year. As I began putting together my marketing plan, there were many pieces that I just wanted to skip over: contacting book stores is scary, networking is not my forte, websites are not my area of expertise, social media feels like a foreign language to me. I like writing and I like speaking . . . can’t I just do those things and forget about the rest?

It sounded like a good plan for about three seconds until I realized that it would be like planning to bake a cake and only wanting to beat the eggs and sugar together because I didn’t want to sift the flour, measure out the rest of the ingredients, or put the cake into the pan to bake. I might have a good time beating the eggs and sugar and they might look really good when I was done, but just that step and those two ingredients wouldn’t turn into the cake I wanted.

Sure, I can sit back and expect my publisher to make me a success. But then I look at authors like Nicholas Sparks and Anne Rice who have great websites, a constant presence on social media, do newsletters, make appearances, attend book signings, and all of the various things that an author needs to do to be successful. I’m sure these successful authors have people to help them, but they didn’t start out that way. I remember hearing a story that John Grisham sold his first 1,000 books out of the trunk of his car. Am I willing to do that and all of the other things that these well-known authors have done and continue to do? How big is my dream and how much of myself am I willing to put into creating that dream?

“Creating the dream” is exactly what we are called to do if we want to become successful authors. Someone else can’t create that dream for us, no matter how much we want them to or how much pressure we might put on them to “make it happen.” So, I continue to ask myself “How serious are you about becoming a successful author?” And, the answer differs a bit from day-to-day because I’m human and life can emotionally and mentally punch me around a bit but my overall intention is clear: to be a good writer and do everything within my power to create my dream and become a success.

Exactly what “success” will look like for me is yet to unfold. Not every author makes it to the New York Times Best Seller List and not every author makes millions on their books, even though I’d be happy to be a part of those numbers. Yet many authors touch lives, change hearts, and bring smiles to readers all over the world. That kind of success is definitely something I am willing to work for.