Written for Where Writers Win
The will to prepare is more vital to your success as an author than your will to succeed. Here’s why: If you don’t have a solid game plan in place before you write a single word you will flounder, be unable to handle the many obstacles that are sure to come your way and you will lose your confidence.
The very act of preparation attracts to you opportunities that will help you move ahead more quickly. Begin with the end in mind.
Here is a great example of what NOT to do.
I received a call this week from a first-time author. The conversation went like this:
Unprepared Author (UA): “Hi Lynda, I’ve just self-published my novel and want to start promoting it now.”
Insight: *How do I absolutely know this author is unprepared? He is just beginning to think about marketing. It is going to take a Sisyphean effort because he didn’t PREPARE for his book’s success.
Me: (Prepared): “Congratulations on finishing your book. The easy part is over. (Crickets on UA’s end) Do you have a website I can take a look at?”
UA: “Uh, no. I’ve been so busy…”
Me: “What are the goals for your book? How much have you budgeted for marketing?“
UA: “I don’t have a budget; maybe you can take a percentage of my book sales.”
After explaining that a Publicist does not take royalties from an author’s book sales because even best-selling authors sometimes don’t earn enough to make that possible, and briefly informing him about the hard and necessary work he now faced in his marketing efforts, he decided to ‘put things on hold’ for a while.
This is not an uncommon conversation. It happens far too often. It makes me sad every time because I love language, the written word, great stories and the possibilities that writing brings.
By preparing for the birth of your book as you write it you will always set yourself apart while setting yourself up for success.
Marketing is part of the creative process…
Not separate from it. It takes mental toughness and a winning mindset to launch a book into the world. The preparation it requires demands self-discipline.
I suggest beginning your marketing efforts six months or more before your projected release date. Think of this preparation as you would the birth of a child. Wouldn’t you carefully prepare for its arrival? Why would you put any less effort into marketing your work than you would in the writing of it?
Preparing for your baby’s (book’s) arrival requires:
- A room is prepared (your website)
- You design it specifically for the baby (your book)
- You pick a great name (the title)
- Invitations are sent to your friends/family for the baby shower (target audience – pre-sales),
- Everyone you meet knows you are expecting (pre-publication publicity – guest blog posts, articles, presentations)
- You celebrate its arrival (launch events)
- Nurture and help it thrive (non-stop promotion and marketing)
- Your child (book) is confident, strong and ready for the world.
Prepare to succeed. To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.