There are certain things that I constantly harp on. And sometimes I repeat my mantra over and over to the same clients, audiences and students. When speaking to groups of writers in various cities, often a hand will go up during the Q and A session and the individual will ask me something that I covered quite sufficiently in my spiel. How did he miss it? Why don’t some of my clients/students get what I so carefully and thoroughly pass along to them? Am I a poor teacher?
No. Some authors are in deep denial. They ask the same question again and again hoping for a new answer—one that they can accept and digest—something that is more within their comfort zone.
Some new authors don’t want to write a book for their audience. They want to write it strictly for themselves and, once they pay to have it published, they wonder why they can’t get people interested in reading it.
Many authors won’t accept responsibility for promoting their books—they don’t believe they should have to do anything other than write it and make it available. Later, they chalk up their failure to the fact that bookstores won’t carry their books or that they didn’t get that big break on the Jay Leno show like they should have.
Authors don’t believe me (and other professionals) when I say they need a platform—a following, credibility in their field or genre. When their book doesn’t perform the way they hope, they figure it’s because their editor screwed up, their cover designer led them astray or their webmaster didn’t build a good enough site.
Authors, pay attention to the experts—those professionals you trust. Listen to everything they say, not just those things you want to hear. Avoid reading falsehoods into what they tell you. Stop resisting those things that make you feel uncomfortable. Look at the big picture so that you can understand what you’re being told and why. Take the initiative on behalf of your book project. In fact, from day one—when you decide you want to write a book for publication—you should consider yourself the CEO of that book. This means that you must make educated decisions—that you need to take full responsibility for your project.
Now, do you want to pursue a project that is doomed to failure? If not, you’d better begin your education. Start by studying the publishing industry, read good books on the subject, attend writers’ conferences and writers’ group meetings where there are speakers from the publishing community. Once you truly understand the highly competitive business you are about to enter, you’ll be able to make better decisions on behalf of your book. And you’re more apt to be among the twenty-two percent of authors who sell more than just 100 books total.
Start by reading Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author. Available at Amazon.com http://www.amzn.to/Tze53Z and most other online and downtown bookstores.
Plan to attend the huge Tucson Festival of Books and sit in on some of the panel discussions with industry professionals—agents, publishers, successful authors and others. I will be on four panels over the weekend (March 9 and 10) on publishing, finding a publisher, building your platform and marketing.