In today’s market publishing a book isn’t a hobby, it’s a business.
Yet an alarming number of first time authors are showing up on my virtual doorstep totally unprepared for what it takes to become successful and actually make money.
Yes, of course I’m here to help with that, and there’s a lot we can make up for, but if you’re feeling unprepared you need to be realistic about how much tougher you’ve made this journey for yourself, and the work it will take to get back on track.
So I’ve developed a short list of ‘rules’ that will prepare you to release your first book, or your next book, but more strategically.
Rule #1: Be a smart businessperson
When you first decide to publish a book it shouldn’t only be about the writing.
Yes, that sounds less romantic than the dream of being an author, but it’s true.
Sure, focus on writing a good book, but there’s a list of other requirements as well, like a great editor, a stellar book cover design and a book marketing plan.
You wouldn’t go out and buy a bunch of inventory and then try to figure out how to open a retail store and who your shoppers will be, right? Of course not, that’s insane, and totally backwards!
So writing and publishing a book THEN realizing you don’t know anything about book marketing or promotion, or your audience, is equally as crazy.
Rule #2: Don’t slow down your production schedule
Again, it doesn’t sound sexy, but it’s important.
Publishing a book is your first step, but publishing your next book, and your next, should be on the horizon.
If you want to sell more books you need to release more books, that’s how this works. Successful authors in today’s market don’t have just one book.
Of all the book marketing strategies that have come and gone, the reality that books sell books still holds true.
Rule #3: Don’t waste your time
Obviously no one says, “I want to publish a book and waste tons of time!”
But sadly, that’s not the reality.
Too many authors frantically market their books in waves when they feel like they have extra time, or when sales totally drop off, but that’s not how it has to be.
Book marketing requires a quality over quantity approach. Yes, you need to be consistent, but you also need to be smart.
If something is working for you, even a little bit, focus on maximizing that strategy and spend your time there.
Likewise, if something isn’t working, and you’ve tried a couple variations and played with the timing a bit, drop it.
Rule #4: Be a market expert
Publishing a book also requires a dedication to being an expert in your market.
What I mean is, authors who sell more books truly understand their genre, the people who read their genre, and what makes them tick.
When was the last time you brainstormed your buyer market demographics?
And are you sure you’re on the right social networks based on those demographics?
Do your potential readers prefer series or standalone books? What problems do they have that you can solve? Would they rather read novels or novellas?
All of these factors should dramatically affect your book marketing and will definitely determine whether or not you sell more books in the future.
Rule #5: Build your confidence, cut out the guesswork
Deciding to publish a book is a big deal, making that book successful is a big job.
But you can cut out a lot of the guesswork while also building your confidence if you commit to learning.
For example, if you know you should be on Goodreads and Instagram, commit to learning how to use all the features on those platforms, and keep up with resources that focus on maximizing your presence there. For example, Goodreads has a fantastic blog for authors and advertisers.
I talk to too many authors that say, “I don’t know if I’m doing this right.”
And while I get that, unless the big checks are rolling in there’s always room for improvement, but you owe it to yourself to at least be able to say, “I’m doing everything right, but it’s just not working, I want to figure out why.”
It’s a lot easier for me to help authors take their books to the next level when they’re already pretty savvy about their market, their potential buyers, and the platforms they should be using. Or at minimum, committed to learning, and learning during our time working together! (And, if you’d like some personalized coaching, let me know!)
If you’ve already published a book and feel lost, and you resonate with a lot of the above – there’s still plenty of hope!
This post was not designed to encourage you to throw in the towel, but instead, it was designed to give you a reality check.
Perhaps it’s not worth trying to go back in time with your latest book, but instead commit to doing it 10x better with your next release.
That’s the beauty of being an author, we get a chance to do it better every time we decide to publish a book.