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The Golden Age of Authors: Why Books Are Alive and Well

This is, after all, the Information Age, and what better way to share information than through books? Here are six reasons why today is the ideal time to pursue your dream of being an author.
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Great news, writers! Recently released statistics about the book biz show that the sky is not falling. In fact, sales have been on the rise for quite some time.

Here are a few of the facts, according to a report from the Association of American Publishers (AAP):

Publishers' net sales revenue has grown annually; 2010's $27.94 Billion is a 5.6% increase over 2008. And, publishers' 2.57 Billion net units sold in 2010 represent a 4.1% increase since 2008.

Americans, young and old, are reading actively in all print and digital formats

2010 total net sales revenue in the consumer-focused Trade market is $13.94 Billion, increasing 5.8% since 2008 (and excluding 2011's e-book sales surge). Both Adult Fiction and Juvenile (non-fiction and fiction) have seen consistent annual gains.

Click here to view the full report on the AAP website.

As a successful author, and someone who has worked with dozens of top-selling authors over the past 20+ years, I can't say I'm surprised by these numbers.

This is, after all, the Information Age, and what better way to share information than through books?

In truth, I've never known a better time to become an author.

Here are six reasons why today is the ideal time to pursue your dream of being an author:

It's all you. Thanks to the Internet, you can now control your destiny to a greater degree than ever before. Between Facebook, Twitter, online book launches, YouTube, and far more online resources than I can list here, you've never had as much power to spread your message, grow your audience, and build a rewarding career as an author/speaker/expert.

All the secrets are out. When I first started in publishing, discussing the How To's of succeeding as an author was like flashing your g-string at the company party. Today, industry insiders like me are happy to share the strategies and tactics successful authors use to get their books in as many hands as possible.

Being you has never been so valuable. Self-expression is in. Personality pays. These are the fundamental truths of today's wild world online. If ever there was a time to hone your expertise and build your following, it is, most certainly, now.

Everyone's nobody until they're Somebody. Tim Ferriss, Deepak Chopra, Suze Orman -- they all experienced the ultimate in anonymity until the day they became Somebody. Thankfully, the Internet has placed those reins firmly in your hands. Look at Justin Halpern, who got a major book (and sitcom!) deal, thanks to his outrageously popular Twitter feed.

Your book opens doors. A successful book can be your gateway to bigger, better opportunities. From growing your business to leveraging media attention to launching a new career, a top-selling book gives you far more credibility, and your expertise far more value.

Success is not a magic pill. When you're not where you want to be in your career or your life, it's easy to idolize people who have achieved what you aspire to. The truth is, people like you become bestselling authors every week. They didn't suddenly land on the New York Times bestseller list. They dedicated themselves, usually over a period of years, to achieving their dreams.

It's no secret that the publishing industry is facing a tidal wave of change. Kindles, iPads, social media, and countless other factors are quickly changing how we consume information, which affects when, why, and how the industry delivers content.

For authors, however, the bottom line is simple: the more available books become--whether on our bedside tables or our iPhones -- the more we thirst for them.

Rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting for The Answer, I urge you to jump in and share your wisdom with the world. We honestly can't wait to hear what you have to say.

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. She hosts an annual book marketing conference every fall where writers network with top publishing experts:

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