Academy of Wayward Authors email 44 of 45: Your Graduation

This is the second to last email in this season.

I have a request to make, and that is for you to email me about one business, craft, or mindset book that changed your life.

I’m interested in building my library and helping you to do the same. This also ties into season four.

For the next season, I’ll share my library and what I’ve learned from the various books. There will be a practical application as I share how I go about my newest creative endeavor, Author Nation.

When you read this email, I’ll have already taken over the show that Craig Martelle used to run.

This will be one of the best seasons because I’ll share how I change a business. Author Nation is a complex system with many moving parts, and you’ll get exposure to my planning and organization process and see where I got the ideas. As a subscriber, you’ll get it first, starting January 6th.

That’s all to come. This email is meant to recap and reassess where you are now as someone who has made it through the Academy. This is the first of two parts.

Maybe you didn’t do all the exercises or find everything I shared right for you. That’s OK. I bet even if you didn’t do everything you planned to, you still have seen some change.

Almost a year has passed. What has changed for you? Has the future that you imagine begun to manifest?

We started with a focus on finding the future you. We looked at tools to help you quiet your monkey mind and become purposeful in your craft. We talked about the Default Mode Network (DMN), which makes us react and traps us in emotion, ego, and the routines of the status quo. We also covered that earning a living as a writer is a symptom of your devotion to creating a story.

I introduced you to the FitMind tool and shared how the one thing that could hold you back was yourself, and if there weren’t personal progress, there wouldn’t be professional progress.

You may need to change your beliefs, perceptions, the stories you tell yourself, and all the parts of your identity holding you back.

We then discussed business systems and how to break down work, plan what was important, and execute. A lot of the discussion was about not getting distracted by doing more things rather than doing the vital few better and better.

We take the rocks and make them into gems. We do repeated work on the big things that matter—polishing the rocks into precious gems, not chasing butterflies. Did you figure out what the rocks are for you in the coming twelve months?

I then shifted to marketing, or as I think of it, building the asset of attention. Authors love this topic, which gets them into trouble if they don’t think through the attention they seek.

I reached back in time to tap into the legends of direct advertising and worked to make it relevant for publishing today. There is a long tradition of using emotion and story in promotion that we can learn from and apply in ways that align with our brand. Most authors fail because they never take the time to determine their brand promise. Your marketing needs that coherent message.

We also discussed how topics like direct sales and AI will influence marketing. While these topics raise fears and emotions, they are just the latest bugaboos.

There was a time in this country when whaling was a vital industry, and people fought to keep it in the status quo. Sailors took labor action to improve the conditions and pay of those working in the industry and resisted the disruption of kerosene and electricity.

But how many amazing things were invented by those who now had a few more hours in the day to read at night with a cheaper and more reliable light source? What industries and tools were offshoots?

When you are in a place where you can detach from the fear of the unknown and uncertainty to apply a bit of clear thinking, you can get closer to that future. You see, change only happens in discomfort and stress. If your thinking and business practices only work in the status quo, it’s a matter of time before you’re out of business.

My greatest hope is that if you find yourself in an unsatisfactory status quo, your plan isn’t just to get away from whatever it is but instead to see that you have the tools to identify where you want to go and get there in a deliberate way.

Leaving KU just because you don’t like the payout rate isn’t a plan. Starting a new series with a wide or direct strategy when it includes thoughtfulness around what unmet market desire you’ll serve and how your brand promise is the obvious choice is a plan.

Both result in you leaving KU, but only one is more likely to be a sustainable business.

Next week is our final exam from the Academy. Let’s see if you’re ready to graduate.

Thank you for your attention,