Book Writing, Self Publishing, and Marketing Coach

What Do You Think It Takes To Be A Successful Book Writer?

Maybe your story is like mine.

I write because I love it! For me, “successful” has taken much of my adult life. Success in my book (pardon the pun) means writing for my audience who needs a variety of help in getting their books written, published, and marketed.

That’s because in 1986, a college and adult school teacher, I decided to leave the many meetings and clerks who could only say, “no.” I evolved to make book coaching my full on business and wrote and published 14 books on author skill topics including my signature book, “Write your eBook or Other Short Book – Fast!”

I did what I love and I’m still doing it.

Success means I have made enough income and also met over the years beautiful people who write great information, 82 clients who published with me. I’m grateful for this ride of a lifetime and continue to offer what writers need, much of it free.

Over the years, my writing improved partially because I wrote a lot.

I taught “how to write a book” seminars for years leading up to this benign divorce from the schools. I knew I needed to position myself and bond with like minded experts and “go to” people like myself. I joined publishing groups and scheduled speaker “Influentials” such as Dan Poynter and John Kremer. Creating my virtual office website, I grew my brand, my books and blogs, and through seminars, my coaching business thrived. Studying with many gurus over the years, I kept on learning what works today. To stand out from the crowd, I keep writing strategically to keep my name alive in a noisy online world. Every year, I still update my site, recently adding my blog to books as helpful resources. These two are the perfect content marketing marriage for financial success.

Yes, I want my audience to make a difference when they write and also to make enough income to be happy, living a full life. The goal goes beyond book or coaching sales. What will that income bring to enlighten our lives? For me, it’s traveling every year to new places - exotic ones like Egypt, Turkey, India and Africa. And many Caribbean islands where I snorkel, swim and play with Bill, my life partner. It’s also enjoying my many friends and family who support and love me as I am.

Sharing is Caring!

Please share your ideas on successful book writing!
(I bet I left a lot out of this blog)

What do you want your book sales to do for you?

Or maybe you don’t need the sales?

  • Ellen Vipalette

    I think it takes desire and motivation first and foremost, then it may take education and for some , coaching.

  • Robin Leigh Morgan

    With ALL the new authors and their books coming out every day, the ONLY way to become a SUCCESSFUL WRITER/AUTHOR, besides being a celebrity already can be summed up in ONE WORD. Unfortunately that one word happens to be L*U*C*K


  • http://peterdsowatskey,com Peter Sowatskey

    I’ve finished 7 books in the past ten years and have 8 about to be finished.
    The simple formula is time+idea+Who, What, Where, When, and How.
    I learned that when I was in Military Police School Ft Gorden GA 1958 for writing patrol reports.
    What I didn’t learn until recently is you need to split your time, at least evenly, between writing and platform development. Now you have it all-Peter

  • http://www.googlesites/booksbyagmoye A. George Moye

    I feel I’m successful because I love to write and entertain my readers by writing things that interest them also to allow them to escape everyday life in books without having to go crazy to do it.
    I have retired and plan to use whatever income comes from my books to travel and enjoy life with my wife Sammi.

  • Dr. Brian John


    Thank you for your inspirational message and the numerous resources you have available.

    Clarity, focus, and unwavering belief that I could do it, and a constant flow of gratitude. These have been my guiding principles in getting published. NOW I am learning to market and share my message with others. Your tips provide tremendous clarity at a time when I really need it.

    Dr. Brian

  • James L Young

    For me, as a journslist and free lance writer of more than three decades, I found a niche in writing insurance continuing textbooks/courses for what amounts to a captive audience.

    True, the big publishers are out there grabbing most of the action, but there are enough insurance professionals for a small self-publisher to make enough money to make it worthwhile, for me anyway.

    Currently, I’m updating/rewriting two courses per the CA Dept. of Insurance requirements and have several more in the works. Also, I have publisher/author friends who have other courses I resell.

    My current database has been building over several years, and most of my current clients have been with me several years. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done in the area of marketing for me, personally.

    Every lead in my database receives a customized c.e. proposal for their two-year renewal requirement. It seems pretty simple at first glance, but I have found ongoing relationships and building trust to be the keys that make my business work.

    To conclude, I’m grateful to Judy Cullins and other “gurus” who selflessly give us their expertise so more of us can be successful. Thank you!

  • http://ldonothaveoneyet Alfonso Montes C.

    Thank´s for the info. l will start soon to write may frist non ficcion book in spanish. l apreciate to much your incondictional help.

    Sorry for may inglish.

  • Judy Cullins

    Ellen, Yes, educate yourselves for book success. Thanks for your comments. And remember to write to please your audience, not just you.

  • Judy Cullins

    Robin, I have to disagree with you-that luck makes success. Just ask any successful author and she will tell you all the persistence and work it takes-plus making the right connections with influential people.

  • Judy Cullins

    Peter, Thanks for mentioning the auuthor platform. The work really begins once the writign is done. I market every day-3-5 different High Level Activities,

    Just put book marketing in the search bar and High Level Activties and read several other helpful articles.

    Thanks for coming and be sure to subscribe to use to get ongoing free how to’s.

  • Tanya

    I am working on my first book in addition to working as a self-employed copywriter, who has far too many priorities! It takes commitment to write a book and tenactiy to go through the editing process with a good editor who will challenge you. What I want from my book sales? I really want to donate a good portion to a non-profit that I have a personal connection to, and great a legacy for my granddaughter. For me, I want my book to be the catalyst and platform for becoming being a highly paid professional speaker.

  • Dr. Keshia L. Gaines

    I am not sure why everyone else writes books, but my book “Why are Students Not Learning on the School Bus?” was written to help change public education as we now know it. Even though this is my first book, there is alot of prestige that comes with being a WORLDWIDE published author. It is definately work all the hard work and I look forward to writing my second book!!!

  • Miriam A. Walker


    To be a successful book writer I think we need to write for ourselves. In the case of fiction, be true to our story. We also need patience to continuously hone our talent or craft. We can also celebrate the love of writing and the discipline we have attained to actually write a book through to publication.

    Regard self publishing as a win-win investment.
    Delight in your readers and their feedback. Enjoy the life long learning journey from experience, and from the real characters you meet along the way!

    Thank you Judy for your encouragement and the opportunity to share views.

    Miriam A. Walker

  • Minna Bryant


    One, any “success” must be defined by the person seeking it. If that definition includes major publishing houses, big royalty checks and a mention in Oprah’s book club, then go for it.

    If it’s something else, go for that.

    You’ve done a wonderful job of defining and achieving the success you set out to achieve.

    My guiding definition of being a successful author includes making sure a reader walks away with something that guides them farther on the right path for them.

    My internal definition includes the ability to sustain the lifestyle I’d like to live from writing, sharing and doing. Yet I’m not making that requirement be specifically from the sales of any writing.

    I’m just starting on this journey and I’m certain my definition of success will expand from this place, yet that will always be the core.

  • Alejandro De La Garza

    Successful book writing comes from the heart. It’s pretty much inborn. You have to be passionate about something in order to succeed. I don’t rely on the possibility that I’ll become rich and famous as a published author. I’ve always loved to write – both fiction and essays or editorial-type pieces. It’s how I best express myself. It’s also very therapeutic.

  • SL Dwyer

    Write well.

    No matter how much you love writing, or how many hours you spend editing and marketing, in the end it is all about how well you construct a story.

    A successful writer has learned their craft and employs all that knowledge into a great story.

  • Judy Cullins

    Keisha, Congratulations on your first book-Coming from teaching, I appreciate your angle. I’ve always been outside the box in edudation. That’s why I became a book coach 25years ago.

    I wonder what you are doing to market your book?

  • Judy Cullins

    Alejandro, Thanks for for insightful comments. Passion is certain part of the success formula.

    I’m just wanting to make writers aware that they need to market their books if they want success.

    If you haven’t subscriber, se why it’s so good for you!

  • Judy Cullins

    Minna, What an astute comment. Yes, success is in the eye of the beholder. What are you writing now? And Passion is certainly the first ingredient.

  • Judy Cullins

    MIriam, Thanks for expressing your views. When you write for yourself, do you plan to publish and eventually make income from your writing?

  • Judy Cullins

    Tanya, Yes your book will be a good draw to the speaking bureaus. They often choose authors over others when scheduling speakers. And, speaking is another way to reach your audience. For me, it’s teleseminars, book coaching, and interacting with my audience here and on LInkedin.

  • Judy Cullins

    Alfonso, Congratutulations! on writing your first book in Spanish. What’s the topic and who will want to read it?

  • Alejandro De La Garza

    Judy, is that seminar conducted by you? I must admit I’m not a salesperson, so marketing will be a challenge for me – although if it’s my own book, I know I can change course quickly.

  • Judy Cullins

    For all of you, I want to encourage you to also write stories in your blog posts to illustrate a point. Look for my new blog post on this soon!

  • Richard Davison

    I like your writing(s)and the very helpful information you give to others. My spin on what it takes to be a successful book writer is that of reognizing (finally) what gift or gifts God has given us and wanting to follow His direction. The unselfish wanting to give back is very important here and I see, always, the you are at the top of the list in wanting to “give back” and help others. I’m sure that you will stand in history as a great writer! So far I don’t have a web site but I’m considering the importance of it. I do blog, however, and this Facebook address if one for my children’s non-fiction book. Anyone reading this can then click on to my Facebook information as author and join my family and me there. Many thanks.

  • Sally Saylor DeSmet

    How to be a successful writer? Well, it is certainly subjective as we all define success in our own way. What may be success to me, may be a failure to you.

    I write from the heart - at least in the first draft. The second draft I write from the brain. I write every day, first thing in the morning - so I exercise my writing skills, I suppose. I literally grab a cup of coffee and my Mac Air right away. It works.

    For me, I want my book to reflect my outlook - and i want it to mean something. Of course, my book is a psychological drama - so it should mean something.

    All of you will be successful, and most importantly - feel successful because your ideas are thought-out. Your passion is clear — go for it, and I will look forward to reading your work.


  • Judy Cullins

    Alehandro, Not sure which seminar? So will send you to one of them now-small group with showcase examples in person.

    This is one inexpensive way to get coaching. Let me know what you think?

  • Judy Cullins

    Richard, Thanks for stopping by. Glad you got value from this post. Giving is ny “middle name” since Mom and Dad didn’t give me one!

    I’m also giving you and others here my free weekly gems with my free audio “5 tips to write your eBook that practically writes itself.” availaable at

  • Judy Cullins

    MInna, I just reread your comment on

    “My internal definition includes the ability to sustain the lifestyle I’d like to live from writing, sharing and doing. Yet I’m not making that requirement be specifically from the sales of any writing.”

    I feel the same Minna. This really touches me-What interests me outside writing (although I write journals for each country I visit) is world travel-I started young and saved from my teaching income. Then as I made more income from my coaching and books, I could go farther than Mexico. This traveling lifestyle continued from Afica, Egypt, India, and the Carribean islands. Still more to see I know.

    As I get older, I’ve been investing-today in Gold to hedge vs the dollar disappearing.

    Dream and Prepare!

  • Judy Cullins

    Hi Sally, Thanks for your comment on writing from the heart the first draft. And the brain the 2nd half.

    Love your passion! Me too. Remember to include those High Level Activities that get the word out to your audience. We all want our audience to read our books.
    It’s a two-way succes team.

  • Minna Bryant


    It’s funny, while I’m not making the financial requirement for sustaining my desired lifestyle to be from my writing, the writing is what keeps opening the doors wider into the lifestyle I desire.

    This wasn’t the case until I truly defined the truest success, the one that is perfect for me.

    As you said, one of your interests outside writing lies in world travel. The path to truly fulfill your desire for world travel has been educating people, first through teaching in an institution and now through teaching and coaching via the internet. It wasn’t a straight path. Most paths won’t be straight.

    It takes lots of introspection, internal truth telling and courage through the fear, doubt and worry to get there. I’m betting you didn’t make it a requirement that your books and or your writing alone create your current lifestyle. It is and will continue to be a combination of things, events, actions, etc.

    Dream and Prepare is the start. Define and Act are next if we want to be a success.

  • Judy Cullins

    Minna, My business of book coaching is my passion, my life’s mission. I’m good at manifesting money too, so investing has always served me most ways.

    Keep those doors open, and watch your own success!

  • http://www/ Hope Irvin Marston

    I agree with what most of you are saying. Speaking from just having my 35th book published in July (SACKETS HARBOR POWDER MONKEY - THE WAR OF 1812), may I add two more prerequistes? Time and patience.

    I see too many manuscripts that need refining. They appear to have been whipped off the top of someone’s head and mailed to the publisher the next day. Not only are there typos and grammatical errors, but the story lines don’t make sense. Since I attended a Novel Revions Workship taught by Darcy Pattison, I’ve spent 250 hrs. revising a novel. I’m not done or bored with it. This is a story I’ve worked on for at least eight years. (I’ve had others published meanwhile.)

  • http://www/ Hope Irvin Marston

    Oops. My “aging” eyes didn’t catch the error. It’s Novel Revisions. (I’m the pot calling the kettle “black!”

  • Judy Cullins

    Hi Hope, Thabnks for the suggestions of time and patience. Most of my clients want their books published yesterday-and without even thinking of their marketing plan.

    Aa for eyes aging. They don’t have to. Try “palming” every hour or so to rest and relax your eyes. The eyes see by contrast and so relaxing them is all important.
    I did write 2 books on this several years ago.

    For 1 min every hour
    1.close yes and put palms over them.
    2.trace figure 8′s on an imagined door 25 each time
    3.change figure 8′s to smaller and then larger
    Feel refreshed and ready for more work!

  • Judy Cullins

    For tip above
    In #1 I meant to say eyes not yes, haha.

  • Francis Lentz

    Learned a great deal by reading many books on “How to Write” (fiction) Highly reccommend “Structuring Your Novel” by Meredith and Fitzgerald.After the necessary groping that comes with writing, I put this reminderr at the top of my notes. …cam/d/im/n/b/…cam meant seeing in my headd what a film camera would”see” if filming the scene….d/ meant do I want to use dialogue meant is interior dialogue useful. …n/made me ask myself is straight narrative an option on this page…and b/meant, do I want to put a beat(short narrative sentence)here/ then I mixed them after looking at how much of each I had on the previous page. This all gave me a “model to make the writing concrete. ……My novel(if I maybe so bold to “advertise” is called “CODE CENTAURUS” Sample chapters are on Amazon etc. my website is forgive the typos) Hope this helps Best,Frank L.

  • Judy Cullins

    FRank, First congratss on your book “Code Centaurus” And, thanks for your comments. What stood our was the need for structure for fiction too. Glad you said that.

    I have a system of quetions and answers for ficion in Ch 2 of my book, Write your eBook or Other Short Book on my home page to see.

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