I spoke to an author the other day who has
three self-published novels floating out there, waiting to be discovered and
embraced the way a person longs to be found by a stranger, purely loved for who
he is. He has explored a few areas and come up empty, trying each one
reluctantly and with reserve. But life doesn’t work that way. Wonderful people
with lots to offer struggle desperately to find the right mate — and so many
authors do not know how to woo readers and establish a loyal fan base, though
they may feel deserving of it.
This author knows what he wants, but is uncertain how to get there. He feels jaded by the book industry, and doesn’t believe anything really moves the sales dial, whether it is advertising, book signings, social media, or whatever. He has not given up, but he has not exactly immersed himself into the possibilities out there.
I can understand his frustration. Book marketing is like dieting: it is hit and miss. Nothing works for everyone and not everyone works hard or smart enough to get what they want. Some people can lose hundreds of pounds while others struggle to lose and keep off 15 pounds. Some become best-selling authors while others can’t sell more than a few hundred copies. Why is that?
Well, without going too deep into the worlds of psychology, business, or publishing, here is what it takes to have a chance at publishing success. No guarantees, of course. Success is a personal thing – you define it, you dictate its terms. It is up to you to set and reach your goals. But you need to try, have the right frame of mind, and take real steps every day towards achieving your dreams. Here are the key areas to explore:
This may be the biggest factor for success.
Sure, skill, knowledge, connections, and money play huge roles, too, but unless
you have the right attitude to achieve, you will fail.
Skills and knowledge are absolutely needed to
succeed. Raw talent, education, and your ability and desire to learn will
dictate success for sure. But not everything comes with your DNA or upbringing.
You can continue to educate yourself – read books, take courses, watch
instructional videos, attend seminars – and improve your abilities.
Success takes work and work takes time. Do you
have enough time to dedicate and devote to your passion? Craft a budget for
your time – look at what needs to be done, plan out a schedule of actions and
activities, and commit to them.
Money counts for a lot. It compensates for
your time, ability, skill, or desire. What you won’t do, can’t do, or don’t
have time to do can be made up, to a degree, with money. It buys you
advertising, travel capabilities, access to influencers, and professional help
with marketing and promotions. Invest in yourself.
By definition, luck is something that just happens, seemingly randomly, but we know the more situations one puts themselves into, the more chances good luck comes their way. One is lucky to win the lottery, right? But one can’t get lucky unless they buy a ticket. Go buy your ticket, many tickets – and increase your chances for luck to come your way.
People are power. Go on social media or
connect at in-person gatherings (whenever they return) and build up your circle
of connections. Your network introduces you to people who can help you with
resources, advice, support, etc. Grow your network and you grow yourself.
Do you sound energized, passionate, and
enthusiastic? People can tell a lot by how you sound and move. To lead and
inspire others, you need to sound excited.
Your book’s success is dictated, to a degree,
by its level of competition. It competes with other books – and lots of other
things for people’s attention, money, and time. You can’t control the level of
competition – but you can make sure you provide the best quality book and
present it in the best possible light. Where possible, avoid writing in a crowded
genre unless you can truly deliver something new, unique, or best-in-class.
How your book is written, edited, packaged,
priced, cover-designed, and put together dictates its long-term viability. Sure,
a crappy book with a great marketing campaign can get lots of readers and
sales, and some very good books can get left behind unless one pulls out all of
the stops. As a baseline for success, make sure you put out a quality product.
Books can only sell if someone is selling
them. Sure, people can go to your web site or perhaps amazon and Barnes and Noble
to get it. But can they find it in multiple forms (hardcover, trade paper, mass
paper, e-books, audiobook, gift edition) at multiple price points/discounts,
and in multiple ways – online, in various stores, at events, the airport, indie
Pool of Potential Readership
How big of a pool is your readership
demographic? Your book is likely not for everyone. Do you know who will likely
buy it, where to find them, and what will push them to buy your book?
Dedication and Consistency
You may do everything possible to promote your
book today. And tomorrow. Perhaps for a few weeks. But it is not enough. It is mindset
that you must commit to – and make sure you are constantly working hard, smart,
and passionately at making yourself a success.
Yes, be courageous simply by taking a risk,
trying new things, saying no to some, saying yes to others, and taking action
to move forward even when the outcome is neither proven nor predictable.
You must believe in yourself and act like it.
Speak with energy, confidence, and a sense of urgency. People need to see and
feel that you care -- and that you have a strong will.
Accept A Loss Now To Win Later
You may very well spend more money than you
make from your book. You may spend countless hours and wonder if you could have
done better taking a minimum wage-paying job instead. But you do this because
it is a short-term investment for a long-term payoff. You are promoting a book
and a brand.
Motivation & Goals
It has been proven that those with goals – and
who reset them after achieving them – do well in life. But it takes some effort
to feel motivation. Many are self-starters, highly motivated either out of fear
of failure or a drive to succeed. What motivates you? Keep at it.
This goes both ways. Your ability to be
inspired will help you be successful – and your ability to inspire others will
allow you to successfully sell your book and build your brand.
Yes, sometimes doing nothing,resting the body
and quieting the mind is exactly what should be prescribed. Pace yourself with
timeouts and mental breaks.
You will strive higher, work harder, and
overcome challenges with the support of close friends, helpful relatives, a
love interest, or others. Lean in on them.
Open To Advice
See a therapist. Listen to a motivational
podcast. Read an inspiring book. Hire a professional coach that can advise you
not only on life but about the book industry and media landscape.
Invest In Learning
You don’t know it all. Neither do I. But we
both know you can learn new things that will help improve your skill set and
position you for greater success. Your education doesn’t end with formal
schooling. Learn about the things you fear, are unskilled at, or really don’t
know much about.
Check Your Beliefs, Assumptions, Values
Get in touch with what you really think of
yourself and the world. Come to an understanding of how your beliefs may limit
your actions. You are only as good as the information you have input – maybe you
need to search further to find the way to succeed.
So, to be clear,
there is no exact one-size-fits formula for all authors. And if an author does even
half of the above, he or she still is not guaranteed success. But, if you
continue to try and not give up, if you look long and hard for a yes rather
than quickly accept a no, if you try something new with potential for greatness
rather than tried and true for failure, and if you remain optimistic and hopeful,
you increase your chances of succeeding.
Good luck to all authors – but only if you actively try!
Read, Read, Read!!
Why Writers Need A Day Of Judgement
Is Today A New Year For Authors?
Book Marketing Lessons Form TV’s NYPD Blue
The 6 M’s Of Authors Successfully Marketing
Authors Need to Know Why They Write
Do Authors Take
Responsibility For Book Sales?
How Can Authors Master Zoom?
Here’s How We Protect Free Speech On Social
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