By Judith Briles
I’ve often said that authoring can be (and is at times) a lonely number. When you are hunkered down, the less “outside” noise, the better. When you are wondering,
What was I thinking when I thought (and told everyone) I could write a book?
… it can be a scary thought. When you are taking on the role of publisher, it could be your Holy Moly moment.
Those of us who are long-in-the-tooth in the publishing world get all those feelings, thoughts and experiences. And one thing we all know, is that YOU are not alone. Ever. There are gazillions of authors and authors-to-be who go through those same moments. What was I thinking …
I’m a HUGE supporter of creating an Author Inner Circle. An AIC that serves as a trusted advisory board … just to you. Your AIC knows you, what your book is about, helps shape your publishing plans, and acts as a reality check.
Throughout the publishing journey, authors need feedback, reality checks and plain old-fashion butt-kicking. And authors need a little kindness. Few think about putting together an “official” type of board to serve in the feedback/reality check/butt-kicking honors. An Author Inner Circle … a type of Advisory Board. Do you have one? Have you thought about creating one?
Who Belongs in Your Author Inner Circle?
It’s a new year. How about creating yours? Your Author Inner Circle … trusted colleagues, friends, and always individuals who have “been there, done that.” Most likely, Mom, Dad and your siblings are not included. The exception would be that they are experienced in publishing on their own—otherwise, you take a pass on them.
What you want are individuals who “get it” … they have an inkling of what is going on in the publishing business. They are also someones who:
- have a kaleidoscope of business experience;
- are connected with others;
- have a sense of humor;
- will say it as it is;
- will call out the elephant in the room (which could be you);
- love to brainstorming and bounce off-the-wall ideas around;
- move you to action;
- get what social media marketing is about;
- will embrace your Vision for your book and where you want to go with it.
That’s a lot of someones … individuals who rarely will encompass all the ingredients as a single person.
Here are my nine someones that can make the difference between success and failure in your publishing endeavors:
- You want someone who has got an inkling of what is going on in the publishing business. We all know publishing is in a combo evolution and revolution. Who is out there in the midst of it?
- You want someone who gets your Vision for your book and where you want to go with it. She or he gets it; gets you; and becomes your cheerleader. The passion you have and amount of time, energy and money you invest in your commitment to your book project is understood and supported.
- You want someone who is connected with others and opens doors. Yes you do—someone with a phone call, text, or email request can get you to a source—someone who knows someone else that can smooth your way or offer assistance.
- You want someone who has a kaleidoscope of business experience. Absolutely—one of the key failure factors in the authoring/publishing business that most authors don’t recognize. This person gets a P & L, understands contracts and negotiating. If he or she knows publishing, it’s a bonus.
- You want someone who loves brainstorming and off-the-wall ideas. Eccentric, a tad wacky—you name it, this person walks to a different tune … most of them you don’t get, but once in a while, your unique and odd-ball someone hits it out of the park.
- You want some who gets social media marketing. But there’s a catch, this person has to be able to articulate knowledge/concept/game plan in your mother tongue what he or she is saying and you understand it. It doesn’t mean that you are going to be the full time implementer of what social media you are creating and using. For me, I write mine—but I don’t push it out. I have someone on my team that does that task daily.
- You want someone who has a sense of humor. Not only can authoring and publishing be lonely at times as you tunnel yourself into the completing of your book—there are booby traps along the way. Being goofy can be a good thing.
- You want someone who will say it as it is and not side-step any elephant in the room, including you. Let’s face it; we all get stubborn at times; quite myopic in the author paths we get into our head. You need a reality checker. Who is out there and has the guts to tell you that you are off your authoring/book rocker?
- You want a “Go-Go-Go” person who gets you into action. No butt-sitting allowed or procrastination allowed.
As you start to build this team of individuals, take little steps. You may instantly know who will fill several of the slots I suggest. You may have other categories based on your genre that need to be added. Some, you will interact with one-on-one via phone, in person, or an online platform. Some, you might gather over Zoom, Go-to- Meeting, Skype or other online video mediums. And some may be let’s get together for breakfast or lunch.
This is a time I will say to you, just do it … it’s a new year for you and your publishing.