Something happened yesterday that made me think about the strong role human nature plays in our level of success as authors. While some authors do well, others fail to meet their own expectations. In fact, the majority of authors fail in this publishing climate and that has been the case for many years.
Why? Because most authors do not understand the concept of book promotion and are not interested in educating themselves. They are in denial and prefer to stay that way. But the core reason for their reluctance to conform may be more deeply ingrained than most of us realize. It may be an attitude some of us learn from childhood—stay close and private, don’t trust, and certainly avoid unnecessary interactions with others.
Yesterday, while I was walking, a driver acknowledged my wave of thanks for stopping at a crosswalk to let me pass. She smiled and nodded. I was rather shocked. Even though I step up my pace when I’m crossing while a motorist waits, and even though I generally wave in thanks, most drivers simply ignore my courtesy and my gesture and drive on.
Later during my walk, in an area where there are no sidewalks, I walked around the street-side of a parked car. When I saw a car coming toward me going east and heard another one coming from behind me heading west, I trotted quickly around that car to give the motorists room. The oncoming driver acknowledged my courtesy with a nod and a smile.
“That’s it!” I said to myself. That’s what’s missing with so many authors whose books are not selling. They are not engaging their readers through their marketing efforts and sometimes even through their writing. They are not considering the reader. They don’t know what their audience wants, where they are, and how to approach them. They aren’t communicating. They may be “speaking” but they aren’t being heard.
It’s like some of the authors I’ve observed in booths at book festivals. They sit quietly behind their stack of books in hopes that someone will come along and buy one. They don’t notice or, perhaps, they can’t relate to, the authors who are actually selling books by engaging passersby.
Folks, if you are an author or plan to become one and you want to sell books, consider your obligation to your reader. Forget about what you want. Think about what they want.
It’s sort of like dating. I’ve heard women say, “I just can’t find anyone I can connect with. All I want is a nice guy who treats his women right and who will take me to nice places…” Once that woman changes her tune and starts thinking about what she can bring to a relationship, she is more apt to make a love connection.
Today’s sermon…I mean post…should give you something to ponder. And while you’re at it, think about your behavior when you’re behind the wheel. Do you acknowledge the gentleman who eases back to let you enter a busy street? Do you give someone room to make a lane change where appropriate and safe? Do you give a walker a little extra space where possible? And when you’re walking, do you hasten your pace when crossing a street and thank the driver who stops for you? Do you walk as far away from the street as possible so as not to be in the way of traffic?
It’s all a matter of putting yourself in the other person’s place. Understanding his or her situation or perspective and respecting it. You can’t sell books if you don’t know your audience and care about them enough to accommodate them.
Patricia Fry has a series of books for authors. Be sure to order your print, Kindle, or audio copies of “Publish Your Book,” “Promote Your Book,” and “Talk Up Your Book” from amazon.com. Also available in print here: http://www.matilijapress.com