If you are waiting for the Author Lottery winning ticket … STOP.
- Stop waiting for a traditional publisher to wave a magic wand.
- Stop waiting for the media to call you.
- Stop waiting for buyers to find you.
- Stop waiting for bookstores to order truckloads of books.
Instead, START planning. Start planning for:
- how to get the media’s attention.
- how to attract the buyers who you wrote your book for.
- how to partner with bookstores.
- how to contract with a publisher.
Or, START planning on what is on your Author and Book Wish List. Bookstores may not be important; being signed by a traditional publisher may not be of interest; or being featured within the media may not be critical. Getting buyers is.
Creating a successful Author and Book Marketing Formula doesn’t required advanced degrees in anything but determination and commitment on your part. No one cares more about your book than you do. No one knows more about the characters, their motivations and secrets and your storyline than you do. And no one has your unique insight and twists on your subject than you do. It’s your Game Plan to develop and execute.
These six steps will move you into a fast-forward mode:
- What do you want?
Write it down—how can you get what you want if you don’t articulate it? Clearly and succinctly. Be outrageous. Be bold. It’s what you want. By putting what you want into writing starts the momentum moving that will fulfill what you are looking for.
If you want book sales for a long time, how is a “long time” defined? Are you looking for a few months; or are you looking for book sales for many years?
If you want the media to knock down your door, what does that look like? Being featured in the local/regional news? Having the Today show fly you to New York and being interviewed by Matt Lauer? Fielding calls from the Wall Street Journal, People magazine and the National Enquirer within days. What?
- Declare what you want.
- Write it down to remind yourself.
- Post it so you can see it.
The visual reminder avoids the squirrel syndrome—any head-turner (big or small) that pulls you away from getting what you want/need to do or happen.
Clarity is critical. The why comes from your passion. What brought you to writing your book in the first place? What drives you to continue the journey?
Without it, anything you do to support your book with fizzle. With the vision of what you want, coupled with passion of why you want it, it’s the commitment on your part that will make the what happen.
Is it Time? Money? Assistance? More Info? What do you need to get you what you want?
The wise author takes a magnifying glass to the what is wanted; then starts crunching the costs. One of the challenges writers and authors bang into daily evolves around money. Money meaning that it’s needed to pay living costs; on-going education costs (workshops, conferences, local networking events); research costs (any travel, reproduction costs, licensing costs or fees); publishing costs (consulting, set-up, design, printing, distribution, marketing) … and any costs that keep you (and your family) going.
- Do you have a day job that underwrites what you need?
- Savings that will carry you?
- A book angel who believes in what you and your message is about and will support its coming to life?
- Speaking gigs set up that will sell books onsite?
- A website that is creating plenty of revenue?
- Technology that works with you and your vision?
Don’t forget the care of you. You and your body need it.
When I’m deep into writing a new book, I schedule in two-hour massages twice a month, monthly chiro visits, new movie time twice a month—from a few dollars for the movie to $100 for each massage. And those items are reflected in #1 above—written down with an image attached. Visual reminders.
Because we write and produce products (your book is a product), it’s common to think any part of the book creation is all done gratis by you—your time isn’t paid for. Yet it is. You take time from other things—there is a cost to it. Direct or indirect.
Stuff happens. Sometimes in overwhelming buckets; other times just a few. But stuff happens. When it does, how quickly can you refocus, prioritizing what you need to do to get what you want? Is it a quick fix or does it need a lot of your time? Will you need help? What will help cost money (or more of your time)?
Every year, I create and deliver a three-day author and publishing centric event. It takes buckets of time … some overwhelming. Potholes happen. This past weekend, one of my main speakers delivered an SOS call that a family accident would prevent her from coming to the AuthorU.org Extravaganza. Her talk was a critical one. Noodling for an hour, I had a few options. Reaching out to one of my Board members on Sunday, we solved it in three minutes.
- Did I have to now create new copy for the replacement for social media? Yes.
- Did I have to work with my virtual assistant to create new marketing material? Yes.
- Did she need to take down what was scheduled to go out and replace it? Yes.
All doable … and now done … yet it pulled two hours of my time—that could have been far greater if I didn’t have two stages of help. One didn’t cost me money, just a quick SOS email on my part followed up by a phone call. The second, a call with my VA the next morning to start the replacement changes. Her time I pay for.
Stuff happens. Some stuff you can anticipate … much you cannot. When it does, guesstimate …
- How much of your time is needed to assess it.
- Is it solvable?
- Do you need help?
- Will there be a cost?
Whatever you do in your Author and Book Marketing Formula, there should be some way to determine if progress is being made—creating results—or not. Removing items that suck time, energy and money are crucial to keep both you and your book moving forward. Otherwise, you support a sink hole and money/time pit.
Are you thinking of attending a publishing related conference or workshop; are you contemplating whether you should pay a membership and join a group? Conferences and workshops should educate you. Organizations should provide networking and include like writers and authors who have their own visions. What they bring to you is energy and encouragement. Money and your time are on the table—what do you project your take-aways to be? Can you measure them?
Is there a publishing consultant in your midst? Should you bring in a book coach for strategy or to coordinate what you are doing? Neither is free. How will you determine if the results are effective?
It’s a mistake to think that the Author and Book Marketing Journey is a solo venture. Destiny doesn’t just drop in—it needs to be invited and nurtured along the way.
The GOYT Factor … Get Off Your Tush … for your book success must be in play. Waiting for anything to come to you always puts someone, something else in the driver’s seat. Knowing what you want is elementary to your success. Knowing who it is for; what motivates them to be attracted to your book and why you want it is critical.
- Define who your target market is—men, women or both.
- Identify what type of buyer / reader they are.
- Determine what drives them: hope, fear, learning, escape.
- Tailor your marketing to them.
Author and book success come from you taking responsibility … it starts with your vision. Yes, I’m clear that all of this is an overwhelm—there is so freakin’ much to do. But if you aren’t clear on where you want to go and what you want to achieve, how can you get there? How can you clearly articulate your vision and get the help you need?
If book success is to be, it’s up to you. You are in charge. What are you currently doing to market you and your book, whether it’s pre-launch or post?
Judith Briles is a Contributing Writer for The Book Designer. She is an advocate for authors and writers and is known as The Book Shepherd. Delivering practical authoring and publishing information and guidance, she has authored 31 books, won multiple book awards and co-founded Mile High Press. Judith is the Chief Visionary Officer of AuthorU.org.
You can learn more about Judith here.