While the NanoWrimos are pounding away at their novels, I think this is a good time for those of you who are considering writing a book, to get excited about it. Earlier this year, marketing guru and bestselling author Seth Godin wrote a post called “Advice to Authors”.
In all Seth Godin fashion, this was extremely generous of him. He offers a lot of valuable insight that gets taken for granted like lowering your expectations, hiring an editor, and not hiring an expensive publicist. He encourages to write niche vs. general, and discusses the value of getting or not getting a “real publisher.” among many other things.
I agree with much of what he said, including promoting your book well before you’re finished writing it, and that blog links and blogging about your book can really help.
Since I’m from a publishing background, I have yet to get behind the PDF printing alternative, and that is a debate we could go back and forth on. I’m sure doing a book PDF style has it’s value, especially if it pertains to info packed material. But I’d like to tell writers that participating in the publishing process is a unique one. It has always fascinated me how many hands touch a book before it gets to the reader, and meeting the staff that work in the warehouse, and sitting down with sales reps that get your book into the hands of the book buyer (at a bookstore), have always been rewarding experiences for me. As a writer, it was good for me to learn early on that there is a delicate balance between a book being all about you, and sometimes not at all. Guess what? Sometimes no one shows up at author events. Is that a catastrophe? No. It’s an opportunity to spend one on one time with the bookstore staff. Make friends with the people behind the books, and they are more likely to handsell your books after you leave.
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Your book can exceed everyone’s expectations (low or high) if you invest yourself in it. If you become an evangelist for your own work, people will take notice. Word of mouth has tremendous power, even in the little old struggling book world. And btw, Seth’s books teach you even more about how to be effective in this department.
So go read Seth’s list, and think about the book you are writing, or want to write. Start brainstorming how you can promote it right now, even if it’s putting a temporary title in your bio, or in your email signature. Get connected. Attach yourself to this project. Love it. Immerse yourself whether you’re a “front of the house” person or not. That doesn’t matter. The beauty of the web and web marketing, (as well as old fashioned letters) – nobody has to see you. Introverts and social phobes can write compelling letters to bookstore staff, publishers, agents, readers, and dominate the blogosphere like there’s no tomorrow.
Make new friends. And tell them about your book. Your excitement will show and the buzz will be contagious.
What are you working on? Tell us! Let us be excited for you.