Will Durant once said we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Or maybe it was Aristotle. Or Ben Franklin. The line, and the sentiment, have been attributed to a number of people over the years. But that's not the point.
The point is that success in any endeavor is more a matter of habits you develop and maintain than one of applying flashy tricks or seeking shortcuts, hacks, and other discrete acts. Self-publishing is no exception to this. You can employ a handful of techniques once in a while and drive temporary spikes in your sales and profit, but you will have a very hard time creating a lifestyle as an author or as a profitable self-publisher if that's all that you do.
Instead we need to strive to develop the 9 habits that thrive self-publishing success not through individual big ticket actions, but by the accumulation of small things everyday. We asked the most profitable, the happiest, the most satisfied self-published authors we could find and discovered nearly all of them had the following habits in common.
About Developing Habits
The thing to remember about habits is don't just push a button and change the way you do things instantaneously and forevermore. If you expect that of yourself, you will become deeply frustrated by your progress through these nine habits, and really any other habit you want to change your life.
Instead building a new habit passes through four distinct stages:
- You start with unconscious incompetence where you are so far from the habits that you're not even aware when you aren't asked.
- From there, you enter into conscious incompetence, where you're usually not engaging the habit you want, but at least you're aware of it.
- The next stage is conscious competence. Here, you're usually doing it the way you want to be doing it. The bad news is it takes effort and focus to succeed.
- In the final stage considered mastery you are unconsciously competent. You do it right automatically. The habit has become part of you.
Also remember your progress from one stage to another won’t be in a straight line. You’ll move forward, then back, then forward, then back again, making slow and incremental progress toward unconscious competence. Don’t beat yourself up when this happens. It’s how these things go.
9 Habits of Self-Publishing Success
Image by Comfreak.