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Derek Doepker is the #1 Amazon Bestselling author of Why Authors Fail, and several other books. Derek leads hands-on training workshops, courses and retreats to teach authors how to turn their passion for writing into a sustainable business.

Derek began his self-publishing journey as a serial entrepreneur trying to turn his passion for health and fitness into an income he could live on. He tried blogging and YouTube videos before turning to Kindle publishing.

Derek gained success with his third book 50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew . Derek says that book was successful because he shifted his intention for the book. Rather than just wanting the book to be an Amazon bestseller, he focused on writing a book that he would be proud of. “If I died in 30 days… I wanted to leave something behind that would be great.”

That book went on to do almost $6000 of royalties in 11 days (in December of 2012). At that point Derek realized he turned a corner. He knew he had to share his experience with others so they could avoid making the same mistakes he did.

Derek created Kindle Bestseller Secrets and has published several best-selling Kindle books since he started.

Our conversation covered several topics all around author mindset. Here are some of the takeaways.

  • The things you might classify as failures are simply steps on your journey.
  • You only fail if you give up and stop trying.
  • “Overnight Successes” usually take longer than we see.
  • Most people don’t need more information, they need more implementation.
  • In order to succeed you actually have to act on what you know. Just reading books and gathering information isn’t going to help you.
  • The only way to learn how to write books is to try writing, and learn what works and doesn’t work for you.
  • Another mistake authors make is to only go half way in their efforts. For instance, they spend all their time writing, editing and polishing manuscript and then they don’t want to spend the money on getting a good cover.
  • Having a good cover is one of the most important things you can do to help your book be a success.
  • Be yourself. Don’t try to please everybody. Who you are and how you write is what makes you different from everyone else. That’s how you find the audience who wants to hear from you.
  • The principles of success are timeless. Study success principles to future proof yourself.
  • In order to be a success you have to be willing to fail. Our failures teaches us the most valuable lessons.
  • The Key to Success: Always do the best you can and learn from the results, whatever they are. Then move forward.
  • Professional authors are persistent. They keep going until they get the book right.
  • in order to get good at something you have to be willing to be back first. No one is going to see your first draft except you.
  • When you’re writing just write. You can edit and be critical after you get your first attempt down.
  • Have the willingness to do something that’s below your potential. That way you have created something. Then go through the process of perfecting it.
  • Never compare your first draft to someone else’s final draft. And never compare your first draft to the final draft of your last book.
  • Readers aren’t buying what you say as an author, they’re buying how you say it.
  • Readers are buying your perspective, not your information.
  • The first step to getting over a fear of rejection is to acknowledge that you care what other people think. After you acknowledge it,the next step to getting over a fear of rejection is to answer the question: what do I care about more than my fear of rejection?
  • You can choose what you focus on. Rather than focusing on people who don’t like your work, focus on writing for the people who do.
  • One fear a lot of authors have is they have spent a lot of time and/or money to produce the best book they can and it will be a failure. It’s certainly possible to see that as a failure and to say, “I spent all this time and money and have nothing to show for it.” But if you are committed to your author journey and don’t give up, the truth is your “failure” was an education.
  • In the United States hundreds of thousands of people go to college and spend thousands of dollars not knowing for sure whether or not their degree would help them get a good job.
  • If you want to be a successful author, take your failures in stride and just take the next step. Be committed to being better than you were yesterday.
  • Value lessons more than successes and you will never lose again.
  • Create a case study. Document your journey trying to do something. After you’re done you may be able to sell it to other people trying to do the same thing. This can remove any inhibitions you have about trying something new. Because if you try something and it fails, you can document that and other people will benefit because of your experience. By trying and failing you’re adding value to whoever you get to buy your case study. They get the benefit of your experience.
  • Sometimes it only takes one successful thing to make up for all of the things that didn’t work.
  • The statistic is 9 out of 10 businesses fail. So if you start 10 businesses 1 will succeed.
  • Many authors want a proven plan for success before they’ll start on the authors journey. They want to remove the uncertainty and risk. Plans are important, but what you have to realize is that even if your given the plan of a very successful author, there is going to be some personal trial and error that needs to take place.
  • When it comes to things like being a writer or running your own business, you only gain certain skills by experience. Also, everyone is different. You’re only going to learn what works for you by trying different things.
  • When you’re overwhelmed and things feel impossible, a good question as yourself is: what is the next step I have to take?. Focus on enough next steps and you’ll eventually get to the finish line.
  • If you can’t figure out the next step to take and find somebody who you can ask.
  • There’s always a way to overcome any problem or obstacle you have right now. You just have to find the person who knows the answer, and then implement it.
  • Be willing to be ignorant and be relentless in your search for answers.
  • If you can let go of your ego and focus on serving others with your work it becomes much easier to move forward as an author and in your life.
  • There is no right or wrong place to be in the world. There is only where you are right now.

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The Parable of the Starving Man

Imagine a room full of people. In this room full of people there is one person who is starving. They are sick with hunger. Maybe they’re diabetic. But they need food right now!

There are some people in this room who are just hungry. If food was offered to them, they’d eat it but it’s not urgent to them.

There’s a third group of people who aren’t hungry at all. If they were offered food, they wouldn’t take it.

Now imagine you’re a waiter. You are given a tray of food. Would you be afraid to go in that room and offered her tray of food, knowing that someone is sick with hunger, just because some of the people in that room don’t want the food you have to offer? Of course not. You would be happy to offer your food to the starving man. Chances are you wouldn’t even notice the people who are interested.

It’s the same with whatever you’re writing. There is an audience that is hungry to read the books you have to write. The only way to find that audience is to write your books and then look for them.

Links and Resources Mentioned in the Interview Authors Fail is Derek’s book on author mindset. This book discusses the 17 reasons why beginning authors fail and how to shift your thinking so you can run a successful author business.

50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew — Derek’s first best-selling Amazon book. — Derek’s FREE course on how to get your book in front of thousands of people with no list or marketing budget.

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