According to Todd Henry, author of Louder than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice and The Accidental Creative – How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice, the four keys to success or failure are spelled out in the acrostic device FATE (Focus, Assets, Time, Energy). This is excellent advice for Indie authors, and it makes sense to focus on your work, create products (assets), spend your time wisely, and exert your energies toward your primary goal. It sounds very business-like, but it didn’t sit quite right with my INTJ personality. While I can appreciate the traditional description of FATE, and I actually have a post-it with these words above my monitor, I couldn’t help but peek a little bit outside the box. When I think of FATE, I also think of the following things.
F – reedom
Think Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, there is no fate (but what we make). Carve it with a Bowie knife into your writing desk. You have the freedom to plan out your own destiny because of your creativity. You have an incredible mind that can make entire worlds exist from nothing. Just imagine what you can do with that gift in the real world if you are willing to go along for the ride?
A – dventure
Being successful does not have to be boring. If you are truly doing what you love, the entire process should be an adventure, yes, even the marketing and financial side of things, because these are some of the steps by which your success can be measured. Of course, if you don’t care about making a living from your writing and you simply want to entertain people or record a memoir for posterity, then your adventure is nearly ready-made. But if money does play a role in your success, it is still an adventure. You might need to learn new skills, develop ways of marketing to reach your intended audience, fight battles with competitors, put yourself out there in the spotlight so people know who you are. It sounds terrifying, but it is guaranteed to be adventurous.
T – rust
This might be the most important. I’m not talking about trusting others here, I mean you need to trust in yourself, in your own abilities and creativity. Everyone knows in their heart of hearts when their work is good or bad. You can tell when other people are trying to sugar coat something or let you down easily. So do it with yourself, it’s that little twinge of anxiety or shot of guilty adrenaline that puts a metallic taste in the back of your mouth when you know you are lying to yourself. Likewise, it is the warm glow that makes you grin and sit up a little straighter when you are proud of your accomplishments. So listen to your body, trust it. If you’ve learned the craft and done your research, you’ll know if you’ve done a good job or if a particular strategy is worthwhile, and that brings me to the next point…
E – xploration
You won’t succeed unless you are visible. How many times have we heard, ‘I uploaded my book to Amazon and nothing happened, it’s been two months and I’ve not sold anything’? In fact, this is happening to me right now, but I meant for it to happen so I could set up an Amazon and Goodreads author page on the quiet before I am ready to fully get myself out there. It’s actually a good test, there truly is nothing but tumbleweed out there without marketing and self-promotion. Explore the marketing and promotional choices available, try as many as you like until you find a few that are the best fit for you and focus on them. The same goes for writing. I know the consensus is to choose a genre and stick with it, but what if you like multiple genres? I write in multiple genres, horror, paranormal, action/adventure, fantasy, lesbian, sometimes a combination of these. I am exploring the breadth of my creativity, and I feel if I am honest and market myself and my brand as a multi-genre author, people will not be surprised. They might even like it. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
What other words fit the FATE acrostic in this creative bubble of ours? Tell us below.
Henry, T., The Accidental Creative – How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice, Penguin Publishing Group, 2011.
Henry, T., Louder Than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice, Penguin Publishing Group, 2015.
Henry, T., 4 Keys To Success (Or Failure) – Spend these four resources wisely if you want to see brilliant results, in Inc.com, March 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.inc.com/todd-henry/the-4-keys-to-success-or-failure.html, Access Date: 01 February 2018.
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