“My publisher did not promote my book much at all.”
“The distributor was not strong at marketing my book.”
“The media ignore me because I am not a celebrity.”
“I don’t have time for social media.”
You have heard these statements before. You may have even uttered one or more of these complaints. Life seems unfair to so many authors and all too often they fail to take full responsibility for their book sales. If they are not willing to honestly accept their role in book sales generation, they will end up unhappy and unsuccessful.
We live in a blame-someone-nation, where people rarely take accountability for a problem. We simply do not like to take ownership of a mistake, loss, or missed opportunity. It is just easier to deny yourself of any blame and to point the finger elsewhere. Well, I have to admit, I screwed up recently, and my way of taking responsibility was to eat a thousand bucks.
I will explain in a minute, but first let’s zero in on the problem if we are to see a solution. The problem with authors not seeing themselves as responsible for their book’s fate leads them to sit on the shelf, hoping, demanding, and needing others to step into that role. But no one else wears that role but you. Not your publisher, not a distributor, not a literary agent, not a bookstore. They may have incentives to see your book do well, but they expect and need authors to step up and make things happen.
Authors need to take initiative, invest time and money, and pro-actively promote and market their books. No one else will. Taking ownership means that you recognize your obligation, set goals, and then actively do things every day to improve your chances of selling copies of your book.
Armchair-quarterbacking others and venting complaints won’t get you very far. You will just be bitter and frustrated. In this world, being successful beats being right. Even if you feel 100% justified in complaining about how someone failed you or did you wrong, the only way to fix it is to take matters into your own hands and assert yourself. Sell books! That is your to-do list and mantra. Sell books! Nothing else matters.
Of course, it is not easy to confront the truth, accept failure or loss, and pay a steep price for it. I should know, I had to take ownership of a lousy mistake. It was not book related, but the example is relevant.
My wife sent me on an errand recently. She rolled up a rug from the dining room. One of our prior dogs urinated one time too many on it a while back. We tried cleaning and airing it out. But it still stinks. So, I took it to a local carpet store and asked them to cut a few feet of the carpet that had the heaviest stains and scent of dog. But I failed to show the carpet store the correct spot. They ended up cutting a chunk of the good part of the rug.
At first I thought it was their fault. But when I realized it wasn’t on them, I was confronted with a choice: Play the angry consumer and blame them or take responsibility and pay the price.
On the way back to the store I contemplated both scenarios. I justified putting it on them – they can afford a mistake and I cannot. But then I realized how wrong that would be and even though it was not convenient to admit my error and pay for it, I had to go that route.
The carpet still needed to be cut, reducing its size to the point it would no longer serve the dining room. But all was not completely lost. We repurposed it for my wife’s home office. I had to buy another remnant for the dining room. A thousand bucks later, our dining room has a whole new look.
Hey, look, doctors make mistakes. So do judges, cops, teachers, athletes, actors, and well, everybody.
But have no fear. Empower yourself and take ownership of your book’s fate. Learn from me:
· Honesty is the best policy.
· Make the most of any situation.
· Double-check before taking action.
· Act on facts, not guesses or assumptions.
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are the product of his genius. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo.