Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Authors Seek Fame & Glory

I once had a client tell me that as a publicist I’m selling hopes and dreams to authors who hope to have a breakthrough.  He knows, better than most, that attaining fame and glory is every author’s dream.  He also knows how hard that is to achieve.

But he’s right.  Save a few humble or altruistic authors, almost every author wants his or her 15 minutes of fame.  They want to get great reviews, be interviewed by Oprah, and make it to the top of the bestseller list.

But fame is elusive. 

It seems achievable or at least possible.  If a book is great, why doesn’t it have a shot at selling well? Because the book is great, but your PR is not.  Because your marketing is not good. Because you have no social media presence.  Because you don’t have a network of advocates.  Because your distribution is lousy or your price is too high or simply because today’s not your day -- and the odds of success are low.

My son, who is eight, wants his fame expressed on the baseball diamond.  He is loving youth baseball and relishes every at bat as a ticket to glory.  It’s a simple formula: Get a hit, hear the cheers, and feel the adoration of your teammates.  He wants to prove to others – and to himself – that he matters, that he is Number One.

And he already is learning that every at bat is a test and that success can be elusive and is hard-earned.  Authors and publishers also know that having a successful book comes with challenges.  You need timing, support, luck, and positive critical buzz, and even then, it’s not enough.

I tell my son I enjoy it when he does his best, improves, learns and has fun.  If he does enough things right enough times he will win – or at least be a winner.  The wins come as a result of individuals collectively doing what they are supposed to do.  If he puts in the effort – with skill, luck, timing, and opportunity, he will find a way to win.  Same goes with authors.

Don’t be lead by hopes and dreams.  Instead, focus on your responsibilities to do what it takes to advance your book to the next level.  You can’t just hope for something or want something or even demand something.  You must go after it and do all that you can to make it happen.

Forget fame and glory for the moment.  Just ask what you need to do to get media coverage today, to generate sales, to build up word of mouth, and to get your book in the hands of people who can help you.  Repeat this process daily.  See where you are in a few months.  Then try harder.  Maybe you’ll break through.  It can’t just be willed to happen – it must be earned.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013 

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