What are the ingredients of a New York Times Best Seller? Ken Atchity has the answers and they are not what you expect. He is a movie producer, author of over 20 nonfiction books and novels. He has spent his lifetime helping writers get started and improve their careers. Writing was in his blood from the beginning. ‘I never understood writers’ block because I never had it,” he says.
What is the right mindset for being successful as a self-published writer?
It’s about what Winston Churchill said: “Never give, never give, never give up!” Don’t doubt yourself, keep working and learning more about your craft.
You wrote over 20 non-fiction books and novels. Are you still learning?
Yes, I am. I am always learning. I love writing because it’s a way of focusing your learning. I write the book first, then I do the research and spend years revising the book.
Some writers confessed that they don’t read books when they work on something new…
While you write your first draft, there is no need for you to read something else.The time to start reading other things is after you’ve finished it and improved it. You can always study yourself to death and never finish the first draft. And that’s the danger of it, or being influenced by other voices. It is much better to get your voice clear in the first draft and then give yourself a limited amount of time to do further research to make sure things are accurate. You would be surprised how often your imagination gets things pretty much right.
What do you appreciate most in a book?
I love books that take you to another world and keep you there the whole time. A storyteller who knows his craft will do this by not making a single mistake. A mistake is something that takes you suddenly out of that world.
You helped several authors to make the New York Times Best Sellers list. What are the ingredients of a bestseller?
That list is a victim of the changing times we are living now. In today’s world, a person needs to be famous or write about someone who is. The most recent three NY Times Best Sellers were about John Kennedy. But this list is not the only judge. Selling books on the Internet is a direct and immediate way to see if you could find an audience for your book.