How to Be an Author: Happy and Successful


Ep 04: How to Be An Author

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How To Be An Author

INTRO: You’re listening to the Writer Insider, Episode 4. Welcome to the Writer Insider and I’m your host, Susan Kiley…This podcast is designed to uplift, inspire and add a little extra presence to your everyday.

Welcome to the show guys…thank you so much as always for listening.

Thank you to everyone who jumped over to YouTube to watch the episode last week unfold, and to those who listened to it here. Thank you! It’s so great to be able to share this with you in both formats because I know you’re going to listen to the format that makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle.

Before we get started, I’d like to quickly mention if you have a topic you’d like to discuss or if you’d like to be a guest, you can reach out to my team at and in the subject line put: Be a Guest.  I’m always on the look out for new and exciting people to interview and get their take on writing, entrepreneurship, life…

Let’s Get Started!

How to Be an Author


Okay, okay, that’s not fair…or is it?

I am asked constantly, “How do you be an author?” And my response is generally, “How do you be a mom (if they have kids in tow)” or “How do you be a singer?” That’s the easy answer, and my attempt at letting the person asking the question isn’t truly the question they are wanting answered. And there becomes a lot of gray area of what is an author. Is it a best-selling book? And honestly, as a ‘best’ selling author, I would never say that I’m a best-seller know it all, but I’m very good at a book full of stuff, enough that I think I can be a teacher of someone else. 

So, when an aspiring author asks me how to be an author, or a person I randomly meet and begin chatting with wants to know the secret… I tell them.



If you want to be an author, you must write. I don’t care if you use a pencil, a pen, a crayon, marker, or type…heck, you can even use voice-to-text recognition software. Whatever medium you choose, you must start and write.

When the perplexing washes over the persons face I then tell them they are not asking the correct question for the answer or answers they are looking for. The question (s) they really want to know, “How long did it take you to write your book?” My response, “Which one?” And the frustration of the person seeking answers sets in.

The thing about becoming an author or being an author is all personal relevancy. My first book took, Someday took a decade. Not because life got in the way, writer’s block (which that is a whole different podcast and blog post), or that I couldn’t find a publisher. The reason Someday took a decade, and you still won’t find a copy of the book currently on Amazon, is because I feared rejection. I feared people would hate it. I feared the truth — someone else’s opinion — became my truth.

Though Someday remains available but unavailable, I continued to write. I wrote for years, books upon books in many genres.

I studied.

I helped others.

I wrote.

I studied.

I helped others.

Do you hear the pattern? Do you hear the answer to the initial question?

I write. I write every single day…something. Will what I write see the day of light? Hmm…a version of what I write will eventually see the light.

It’s like my blog. I’ve held a blog since I was a product creator of a baby product. But you won’t see those posts anywhere, well, you may be able to crawl around in space and somewhere find one of them. Why? Because I always started, stopped, started and feared what others would think, or how the words I wrote would even matter.

That’s the problem with those who want to be writers and those that are writers. I always wanted to be a writer. I was a writer. Then I quit. Then I wanted to be a writer again…but I was always a writer, correct? I wrote daily, a habit I’ve continued for decades.

As you’re listening or reading the transcript, are you shaking your head because you’ve heard versions of this exact answer before? Yup! Here’s the thing. I’m not blowing smoke at anyone when I give the smart-alecky answer: WRITE. To be an author you must write.

If you’ve heard this exact answer from other authors, well that should probably tell you that writing is how to do it, however…this isn’t truly the answers you are seeking.

Your questions are:

  1. How to start?
  2. How to finish?
  3. How to get better?

Now you’re really shaking your head and potentially annoyed at the whole reading and listening to FINALLY get your questions answered, correct?

Okay, here goes.

How to Start (writing) A Book?

  1. Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard or voice to software
  2. Do step 1 daily
  3. Keep doing steps 1 and 2 until you’ve written a book

A follow-up question would then be: How Long Should a Book Be?

As long as you want it.


There are guidelines depending on the topic you are writing (genre: fiction vs. non-fiction and sub-category), but I’ll leave that for an entirely different podcast and blog post because there is so much that goes into a book length based on your topic and also if you plan to traditional publish or self-publish. The short answer is: As long as you chose for the book to be.

The second question, How to Finish (writing a book)?

  1. Put your thoughts and words onto paper.
  2. String words into sentences that become paragraphs.
  3. Paragraphs will turn into chapters and chapters into a completed book.

Again, there is a lot more that goes into FINISHING a book, but for simplicity, to finish your first book, you must WRITE. You will write and write and write more until you no longer have anything to say about the topic you’ve chosen.

You’ll know when you’re finished.

Someday came from a single word transformed into multiple sentences and paragraphs and then into chapters. When I had finished telling the story, I was fifty plus chapters in and had nothing more to say…at the moment! (gives a little laugh)

No, Someday is not fifty chapters now.

I edited the heck out of it before publishing.

The point of finishing your book is writing until you have nothing left to say—until your characters have resolved and run off into the sunset.

Again, I will do an entire podcast and blog about the topic of finishing a book.

Let’s move onto the third question most people do not ask but really want an answer to.

How to Get Better (writing or writing a book)

  1. Write.
  2. Study writing.
  3. Read… A LOT!

I love reading, learning and doing. I began reading a ton of stuff in the genre I wanted to write in — the genres I felt I had something to say and would be really good at (in my opinion of course). I also studied how best-selling authors were doing it. I studied all different authors and their different books. And I wrote.

A little side-note. I also got into a group of very talented writers. They were superb. I had a knack for ripping their stuff to pieces and creating amazing dialogue. I speak in dialogue (horrible habit that annoys the heck out of my significant other), but I’m really good at dialogue within my writing.

To get better at writing dialogue or even editing, I focused all my time on how to be a better editor and how to write dialogue. I studied the heck out of those two things. I’ve never had issues with ideas or what to talk about —heck to the no there!

Think about this… over 90% of the population of the world will NEVER do.

So, if you write words daily they will become sentences and those will become paragraphs. You will turn those paragraphs into chapters and those chapters into a book. You just became the less than 10% who WILL write a book!

Think about what I just said: You just became the less than 10% who WILL write a book!

There’s a lot more than what I quickly went through and I will, over the course of the year go through what it takes to write a book, start to finish. There’s a faster way, of course, isn’t there always?

I teach others privately and in group settings how to go from start to finish with a book. And no, it’s not giving a person a pen and a piece of paper, well unless they need that to start. I always let anyone I work with know there is no correct this is the absolute must for a person to do to write a book. The only absolute for writing a book, finishing a book and being better at writing is: WRITING.

You must write …

That’s all for this episode and post.

Remember this…You’re just one word away…

I appreciate each and every one of you for listening and reading the transcript or the blog post. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. You can always email me at and I will personally reply (generally depending on where I am with my current book or project).

If you are looking for additional resources, please go to RESOURCES on the website: and check out the FREE stuff.

That’s all I got for ya today!