Why Being an Author Really Is That Great

10/06/2011 04:37 pm ET | Updated Dec 06, 2011

Yes, all the rumors are true.

Being a successful author today is a big experience, one that involves a lot more than writing great books.

As tempting as it is to feel overwhelmed at the thought of growing your online following, speaking to live audiences, pursuing the media, networking and honing your expertise while you blog, earn a living, and write your next book, the sum of these many parts is far more fulfilling than tapping away on your keyboard week after week.

(I say that as someone who cherishes the hours I spend writing, whether it's my next book or my next newsletter.)

When authors say "I just want to write," I reply with the most important question every author can ask herself.

Why do you write?

That essential question connects you to your core mission, and your core mission is what will drive you to succeed well beyond the written word. Your core mission, which, in my case, is helping people find and nurture true love, not only makes you a better writer, it motivates you to learn new skills that enlighten your path to success -- as an author, speaker, expert -- and as a human being.

In my many years in publishing, I have found that the following two skills, however scary they may initially seem, are hugely important vehicles that successful authors use to help fulfill their core missions:

Mastering the sale. At base, selling is about doing what you set out to do in the first place -- help people. To sell yourself and your book, you must prove that your solution does in fact improve lives.

When you figure out what "triggers" the sale of your book, be it fear or encouragement or less suffering in some area of your readers' lives, you learn what draws your audience to you. Armed with that invaluable information, you can write, speak and yes, even tweet, in a way that honors their true needs.

Not to mention, by honing your ability to sell, you become far more attractive to the publishing industry. Agents and publishers are forever eager for authors who actively and willingly contribute to their own book sales.

Taking it on stage. It's no secret that public speaking is most people's #1 fear -- and I'll confess, it was mine as well, many years ago, when I fainted during the first speech I ever gave. (Thankfully, I was presenting to fellow students in a public speaking class.)

I can't tell you how many authors hesitantly venture down this path, only to be blown away by the immense enjoyment and deep satisfaction they get from connecting with their audience in person. In so doing, you not only give readers an opportunity to get to know you, you get to hear their stories, and help heal their pain.

And once you master this skill, public speaking can be a source of extra income, and a tax-deductible way to travel to exciting places and meet interesting people.

Perhaps most importantly, by letting your core mission inspire you to overcome your fear, be it of selling, public speaking, or both, you gain the kind of irrefutable self-confidence that quickly opens a new world of possibility before you.

So on those mornings when you anxiously begin crafting a media pitch or preparing a presentation, remember the real reason you're an author, and relish the opportunity to share yourself and your unique wisdom in as many ways as you possibly can.

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books.