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What Makes An Author Successful?

From Sarah Dessen to R.L. Stine, many bestselling authors have certain things in common that give them an edge over the competition. Read on to find out more!


The below five personality traits are inherent for most fruitful authors who have told beloved stories. Without these unique aptitudes, an authors destiny is less likely to be fulfilled. They are the primary foundation for the generation of excellent stories.

1. Meticulousness

When describing nature, a writer should seize upon small details, arranging them so that the reader will see an image in his mind after he closes his eyes.
- Anton Chekov

A proficient author is no stranger to descriptive writing. When you paint a picture with words, you want to include as many setting and character details as possible without slowing down the pace of the story. As a writer, you have to have a keen awareness for the minutiae that make your story believable and bring it to life.

2. Self-Mastery

True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.
- Mortimer J. Adler

They say that patience is a virtue, and for a writer, truer words could never be spoken. The seemingly endless process of rewrites and edits a publisher may ask of you will be tedious (never mind the standards to which you hold yourself). The ability to be patient and to endure when things get hard is important. In other words, you have to grow a thick skin.

3. The Ability to Express A Theme/Idea

Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly – they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.
- Aldous Huxley

Keeping the reader in mind, many talented writers can bring a sophisticated idea to life in a story, poem, or essay. This skill can be gained with with time and practice. If you can make a complicated idea more accessible or clarify/reveal it through literary techniques such as metaphors, people will be intrigued and satisfied at the end of your story.

4. Advanced Literacy

If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
- Stephen King

You don’t have to be highly educated to to be a good author. A love for books can be as valuable as a degree. If you don’t read great stories, how will you know if you’ve told one? Being an avid reader is a great way to learn the ins and outs of storytelling because, in a way, when you read the work of another you become their apprentice - studying what they have written and reverse-engineering it for your own purposes. Every top-shelf writer I know is a serious bookworm.

5. Versatility

All the best writers take risks, offend people often and say f*ck you to the critics.
- Karla H. Krueger

A writer with any experience at all will be quick to tell you that change is its very own industry standard. A writer open to changes is a writer with the potential to go far. Authors who refuse to revise a story to make it better risk losing the opportunity to improve or possibly publish. Acumen for adapting storylines to meet modern trends or timeless motifs is helpful, though of course writers must listen to their own voice. Navigating these challenges can be difficult. You must be willing to make risks to be successful. Remember - if the risk is little, the reward is little.


Everyone has preferences for what types of books they enjoy. Some readers like romance, while others prefer a good hard-science fiction novel. What makes a story good isn’t always what sells it. A book with subject matter pertaining to a trending topic (or written — or ghost-written — by someone with a famous name) may sell better than a literary masterpiece released at the same time. Each writer must decide on his or her own goal; selling a lot of books is not always the same thing as writing a great book or one that truly satisfies the writer. For publishers, the best-case scenario is when the two coincide, of course.


A big part of being a successful author is having a skilled marketing team ready to promote both your name and your book. A larger publisher may furnish such a team for you but authors who choose to self-publish are responsible for managing these tasks for themselves. In last week’s article, found HERE, we discussed the importance of devoting a portion of your self-publishing budget to Public Relations and Marketing. These things are crucial to the success of a book because they help people discover the writer and book in a crowded literary market


This one is deceptively simple. Not only must an author write beautifully crafted stories, but they must do it over and over again. Some of the most auspicious writers are those who write incessantly. It only takes one bestseller to propel an author’s career to the next level, but often that bestseller comes after years of learning, practice, and previous tries. Write well, and write often. Your time will come.

I hope you have found this article to be helpful. If so, please feel free to share it with your friends and help them grow! As always, have a positive and productive week!



Huntsville Independent Press is the premiere publishing imprint of the Southeast United States, and we want to help you, the author. HIP provides, at no cost to our signed authors, a better solution for the publication of your story. Our contracts are non-restrictive and offer higher royalties for our authors. No HIP advance is taken out of royalties. Your advance from us is a one-time payment for the privilege to publish your book and is not a loan. Our passionate team of editors work diligently to ensure that the uniqueness of your story is preserved through the editing process. While you’re here, feel free to look around to see if Huntsville Independent Press is the right home for your work. We are always happy to have talented authors find a publishing home here with us.

Written by:

Joshua Adams

Senior Editor

Huntsville Independent Press

This article was brought to you by Huntsville Independent Press, a premiere traditional publishing house servicing southeastern writers in any way we can. If you enjoyed this piece or found it helpful, please consider donating to our house @ $HIPHuntsville on Cashapp or by using the GoFundMe link found on the Support Us page. All donations go straight to author advances first and business expenses only. In that order. Together we can build a fair-to-authors company with ethical practice and a supportive passion for the art of the written word. Thank you so very much for your time!


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