Authorship is a business. When you produce a book to sell, you have entered into a business. Your book is a product and, whether you land a traditional royalty publisher, you self-publish or you go with a pay-to-publish company, you should consider yourself the CEO of your book.
Along with a business comes tasks that aren’t always that much fun. Book signings are fun. Book festivals are fun. I even enjoy going out and speaking to groups of authors. And, of course, the writing is fun. But there are activities that go along with publishing that aren’t necessarily all that much fun. This weekend, I’m taking care of some of those things I consider challenges. Today, I will fill out my state tax form—which means tallying book sales for 2012. Yesterday, I arranged for a card reader for taking credit cards on our iPhone. I hate that kind of work. I compiled the SPAWN Market Update yesterday—which is a monthly task that I actually don’t hate. But it is a bit tedious and not as much fun as working on my novels or working with a client. I entered a contest with a couple of chapters from my unpublished novels. That is something I don’t usually do. I’m not much for entering contests. But then, there aren’t many contests that offer a fair playing field for nonfiction. I mean, it doesn’t seem fair to put a book on book promotion against one featuring dog hotels, how to make fishing lures and Spanish architecture. I’d rather this book be judged among other books on book promotion or publishing or even marketing or business.
Along with the tasks that come around once a year or every month, of course, is the major work of book promotion—the constant research to locate marketing outlets and opportunities; the job of making contacts; the work involved with following through with material, information and making arrangements, for example. It’s ongoing, time-consuming and it takes a lot of energy and effort to promote one single, little book. And the promotional efforts should begin even before the book is a book. And they will continue until you no longer want to sell it.
Are you writing a book for publication? Here’s a short list of some of the things you can be doing toward the success of your book now:
• Make sure you are writing a book that is needed/wanted by a large enough segment of people. If not, either lower your expectations for sales or change the focus of your book.
• Study the publishing industry so you understand your publishing options and how to choose the one that is right for you and for your project. (Read “Publish Your Book” by Patricia Fry early in the process of your project.)
• Start socking away money NOW for a professional editor. Save my contact information. I would like to have the opportunity to give you a sample edit and an estimate. PLFry620@yahoo.com.
• Talk about your book to everyone you meet everywhere you go on and off-line.
• Start blogging to attract attention to your book project.
• Build a website around the theme, subject of your book.
• Collect book promotion ideas and links in an electronic or paper file.
• Collect names of potential customers—which means you’d better be collecting business cards and email addresses online, presenting sign-up sheets when you go out and speak or do workshops and noting those people who can help get word out about your book when the time comes.
There’s much that you can do to make your book a success before your book is a book. Any savvy businessman or woman would be doing this and more. Don’t forget, you are the CEO of your book.