Wait ‘Til the Next Book
There’s a saying in sports, reserved for teams that fall short of their championship aspirations: “Wait ‘til next year.” The same could apply to authors, with a modification: Wait ‘til the next book.”
It’s not easy giving this advice, but the truth is at some point, after trying your hardest to promote and sell a book that is no longer new, you need to admit that fame and glory will not come to you for that book. Throw in the towel and try again -- on another book.
I know well the phrase when it comes to sports. I experienced it just the other day with my son’s fall baseball season. After going 7-4 and finishing in third, we were poised to make a run through the playoffs. But we got smacked around in the postseason opener, 27-16, and just like that, the season was over. My son, at age eight, learned the hard way, what it means to wait until next year.
He may have taken it better than I did. As the manager, I felt responsible. I knew the kids could play better than they did. Even though my son hit a three-run home run, that didn’t take the sting away from defeat. You know what it is, it’s knowing that chances to win it all and shine like a star can be so rare in one’s lifetime. When I lose something, I know it’s an opportunity lost forever and that few may remain to be a champion.
Authors, I know, feel deeply attached to their book. To admit defeat cuts deep into their soul. To have their words rejected is to have their being denied love. The book to a writer is the swimsuit competition to beauty contestants -- no one wants to think they are ugly. But the ugly truth is every book has an expiration day -- for some it’s sooner than most.
Authors should consider giving up on their book when:
· Sales are anemic, despite efforts to publicize and market the book
· It fails to get a majority of positive reviews
· You’re not clicking with social media
· People tell you the book’s deficient: bad editing, boring story, factual errors, price is too high
· You gambled on an idea and it flopped
· You realize, deep down, that you could do much better on the next book
However, authors shouldn’t be quick to walk away from their book. Before making a harsh decision, ask yourself if you made a good effort in each of these areas:
· Did you have a distributor sell your book (if self-published)?
· Did you promote your book to the news media?
· Did you set up bookstore appearances or speaking events?
· Were you actively promotion it via blogging, Facebook, and Twitter?
· Did you have a web site and did it highlight your book?
· Did you get reliable feedback from people whose opinions you value and trust?
· Did the book present well? Catchy title, good price, nice layout, attractive cover?
Sometimes it’s hard to say why a book falls short of expectations but at some point you have to move on and focus on the next book. I would say once a book is six months old and you feel you’ve exhausted all possibilities, move on. For some, that decision may even come sooner.
My son may have moved on from the loss that I still feel disgusted over. Perhaps his kind of resiliency is what authors need. We all must admit defeat when it comes our way and then put our energies into the next season or book. There will be new battles to win, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be the victor next time.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013
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