Most authors have two simple goals: make a difference and make some money. We want our work to matter, and to achieve the financial freedom to write full-time. Unfortunately, becoming a best-selling author doesn’t necessarily directly to relate to either of those.
Two years ago, I launched The Art of Work, and it went on to sell over 50,000 copies in the first year. I wrote about how it became a bestseller, but I omitted one crucial element until now.
I told you everything that I did to launch the book and sell over 15,500 copies before it even hit the street. I told you about podcasts. I told you about guest posts. I told you about social media and speaking gigs and all kinds of other things that we think make a book a bestseller.
But the one thing I didn’t tell you was this.
You don’t change the world by following the rules.
If you want to make anything significant, you must challenge the status quo. You must embrace being a misfit, at least temporarily, if you endeavor to make anything original and useful.
The process of becoming an artist begins with embracing the things that make us stand out.
At some point in our history, it became unsavory to make a good living from your art. Indie bands that sign with a label are “sellouts” and painters who distribute their canvases on Etsy aren’t “legitimate”.
This is absolutely ridiculous! Isn’t that the aim of professional artists? To obtain the freedom to step away from cubicle day jobs and dedicate their time to impacting people’s lives with their craft?
You can spend a lot of time feeling bad about not being successful in one area of life or another. And you can always find something to be bad at. Trust me. I do it often.
The challenge here is to choose your craft. Focus on the thing — or portfolio of things — that only you can do. And do it well, without apology or complaint.