In 2011 I released my novel Night of the Cossack. This was the first fiction I had written.
Although I had nearly 40 years of marketing experience, I was not prepared for the challenges of marketing a book.
I had already sold over a thousand copies when I decided to do a book launch. What a disaster! I had previously marketed my center of influence—family, friends, acquaintances, frenemies, and critique group. I managed to sell a couple hundred more on Amazon with the help of some interviews on other author’s blogs.
I didn’t have a platform!
Maybe this is, more or less, similar to your experience.
That was five years ago. I’ve learned a lot since then. I have worked hard to develop a platform of 35 thousand plus followers, but that is only a number. It is not my target market and I certainly don’t have a relationship with each and every follower. I’m planning on doing another book launch of Night of the Cossack, but I’m still not ready! Not this year and maybe not the next.
My novel is still selling on Amazon—one here, two there. It has 81 reviews and a 4.5 star rating. I’m not doing anything to promote it. Why is it still selling? My belief is–as followers connect with me and after I develop a relationship with them–they search for what I have written. It’s relationship development 101. A process that takes time. Lots of time and a huge amount of effort.
I’ve talked with hundreds of authors and I’ve found a fairly common thread:
- Devote every minute of spare time writing their book.
- As soon as their manuscript is finished, try to find a traditional publisher or agent.
- After a ton of rejections, make a decision to self-publish.
- Pay a self-publishing company thousands of dollars without researching them through the Better Business Bureau or searching for authors who have used the publisher to find out their experience.
- Get discouraged because their book doesn’t sell without realizing they don’t know who their target market is, they don’t have a solid (quality) platform, and they believed the publisher was going to do the marketing.
If you’re a writer:
- You probably need, not just want, to write.
- You probably can’t wait to have your family and friends read your manuscript.
- You probably really don’t like the thought of marketing.
- You probably don’t understand how to market, but you get on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to start building a platform—whatever that is.
- You probably rush to get your book on Amazon.com, not realizing there are some 12 million other books on there with yours.
- You probably don’t have a budget for a professional website or a coach.
- You probably immediately start posting regularly about your book.
- You probably wonder why authors, on the average, sell less than 250 books.
- You probably decide that you didn’t write your book to make money anyway.
- You probably start your next book and repeat the process.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing as a hobby.
If you have written a book, you deserve kudos because only a small percentage of people who think about writing a book actually do it.
If you have published a book, you deserve many more kudos because only a small percentage of writers actually follow through.
If you have sold books to people outside of your circle of influence—family and friends—you deserve even more kudos.
If you have a desire to study marketing and truly learn the depth of the process—you deserve thousands of kudos.
If you understand that it could take as long as 3 – 5 years to build a quality platform in your target market before your book should be launched—you deserve the grand prize of a best seller.
I hope you learn solid principles to help you on your journey of success—whatever success means to you.
Change something today to make your tomorrow better.
Literary Strategist, LLC
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