In today’s fast paced world of print-on-demand, eBooks and self-publishing many, if not most, first-time authors don’t begin thinking about how to get their book into the hands of readers until they are ready to publish.
As tempting as it may be to sidestep the entire notion of building an author platform, the harsh reality is that it is going to be nearly impossible to get a book by a first-time author into the hands of enough readers to make a difference (financially or emotionally) without some kind of reputation and audience base that is going to be ready and willing to buy their work.
So the question is, what can you do NOW if you’re an author with a book and no following or brand? Should you even try to play catch up, and if so where do you begin?
If you want to thrive in today’s rapidly changing marketplace and achieve your goals as an author you must learn to treat your writing as a business. Written for the author with a book but little or no following or brand, Beyond Your Book will show you the way to begin now to establish your name as an author, communicate the value of your work, and develop trusting relationships with your readers.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I spend a fair amount of time in online author groups and I kept seeing the same questions come up over and over and knowing how overwhelming it can feel trying to figure out how to get your first book into the hands of readers I wanted to share what I’d learned to support my fellow writers.
The Business of Being an Author
When you write and publish a book, you join the ranks of those in the business of being an author. The only question is … what will you choose to do you with your business? Way before you start thinking about things like target audience and marketing your book, you need to answer one key question that will determine how you go about achieving your success.
What do you want to accomplish as an author?
Is it your heartfelt desire is to build a life around your writing? Possibly your writing is a means to an end, such as a way to establish credibility for you in your career as a (fill in the blank). Maybe you are a writer, who is driven to tell a particular story, and may or may not ever write another book once that desire has been fulfilled. Or, maybe you are just in love with the romance of being an author and happy to write for yourself, family and friends.
Coming to terms with the answer to this question is critical to determining how you will go about developing your author business, because building a brand and marketing strategy for someone whose intention is to continue writing and publishing books will vary dramatically from the author focused on telling a single story.
Fearlessly Commit to Your Dream
I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, and I’ve seen it time and time again. When asked to define their purpose for starting a business, first-time entrepreneurs will often respond with, “Oh, I just thought I’d give it a try.” So, let’s be clear about that answer – it is a major cop out – nothing more than an excuse to avoid having to make a commitment, because a commitment means you risk failure. When you say you’re just giving something a try, you are leaving yourself an easy out because you can always claim you really didn’t care that much. That is no way to live life!
Learning to be honest with yourself about what you want from life is the first step to creating the life of your dreams – I know, sounds hokey, but trust me, it’s true. To a significant degree, how you approach this exercise will depend on your mindset about being an author; and this in turn will affect how much effort you put into achieving your success.
Your Mindset Will Either Help or Hinder Your Journey as an Author
Let’s stop for just a moment and make sure we’re clear about what mindset actually means. Your mindset is simply your fixed mental attitude, or the way you tend to view life in general and respond to life’s challenges and obstacles.
There are basically two types of mindset.
A mind that is unwilling to bend or grow, and tends to avoid challenges, gives up easy, ignores critical feedback, feels threatened by the success of others, and views effort to grow as a waste of time.
A mind that desires to learn and grow, finds lessons and inspiration in the success of others, learns from constructive criticism, sees effort to grow as the path to mastery, persists in the face of setbacks, and embraces challenges.
Nothing – and I mean nothing – will hold you back and prevent you from achieving your dreams and goals like a mind that is unwilling to bend or grow. Your attitudes can be changed, but in order to do so you absolutely must accept that you have choice and control over your life. Even when faced with unexpected obstacles, you have the power to choose your attitude and response.
And when it comes to the business of being an author, unless your goal is to write for your own enjoyment, and you don’t really care how many books you sell, then it’s time to accept the reality that – regardless of how you publish – if you want to become known as an author and sell enough books to make a difference (emotionally and financially) then you will need to become the driving force behind the branding and marketing of your book.
There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.
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Marquita Herald is a resilient living specialist, author, publisher, and creator of the Emotionally Resilient Living website. She tells stories to inspire readers to embrace the ability we each have to create our own life experience by developing greater capacity for emotional resilience.
Her professional experience includes 20 years traveling the world on behalf of the Hawaii tourism industry, followed by a decade as an award winning life and small business coach. She is the author of 6 books and 2 new books scheduled to be published in fall, 2014.
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