What does it take to succeed as an author?

Andrea Waltz, coauthor of the sales book Go for No, posted a video this week that offers some great perspective on what it takes to be an overnight success as an author.

I encourage you to watch it—especially if you are feeling discouraged about your book’s progress or success.

She and her coauthor, Richard Fenton, worked for four years to sell the 5,000 copies of their book that they had ordered. They believed in their book’s message—plus they were financially invested and probably wanted to recoup their money. So they kept at it. They kept reaching out. They kept speaking to audiences and sharing their sales training, knowing that it could impact people’s lives.

But as Andrea notes in the video, book sales were an ongoing struggle. As good as its message was, the book just didn’t sell.

Things changed when a businessman approached them with an offer. He loved the book but hated the cover. He told them he would buy 5,000 copies of their book if they would change the cover.

What would you have done?

I’ve worked with a few (not many) authors in the past who would have rejected the offer. They didn’t want to change a thing. Their cover concepts and the exact wording they used meant more to them than success as an author in terms of sales or professionalism.

And you know what? That was their choice.

But that might not be the right choice for you if you want your message to make the greatest impact possible.

Successful authors pay attention to trusted advisers.

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. 
—Proverbs 15:22 (ESV)

I have no idea what kind of counsel the Go for No authors received when they first published their book. But I do know they paid attention to the advice they got from that businessman.

The first time I heard about Go for No was when the book—with its new cover—crossed my desk at SUCCESS magazine.

After reading it, I knew it was a great fit for the magazine’s readership. So we shared it. I think we may have even worked with them for some guest expert articles. The free publicity helped them spread their message to even more people.

That would not have happened if they hadn’t taken the advice of someone who recognized their expertise and their blind spot.

And it surely wouldn’t have happened if they had given up after year three of lousy book sales.

Successful authors don’t quit.

I’ve continued to follow Andrea and Go for No on social media, and what stands out to me about the authors and the brand are their persistency and consistency. They believe in their message’s power to help people succeed, so they don’t quit.

That’s my encouragement for you today: Don’t quit.


Rewrite or edit.

Get a new cover if you need to.

Get advice about what steps to take next.

But if you believe in your message, don’t quit.

You can do this.