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10 Lessons Learned From Launching My Book
Writing a book can be a great way to build a fanbase and gain credibility within your industry.
But how can you ensure that your book gets into the right hands?
What steps can you take to prevent the dreaded ‘no review, no purchase’ pitfall so many authors find themselves in?
We’ve compiled 10 pearls of wisdom shared by some of the most successful authors in their genres. Here’s what they had to say about what they’ve learned from launching their books.
Tips About Finding Your ‘Why’
1) Do It For The Passion
“I write because I love it, not because I see readers as dollar signs”, says bestselling author Amanda Hocking. Having sold over a million copies of her books, it’s clear that her love translates into books her readers can’t put down!
What does that mean for you? Well, if you’re not passionate about the topic you’re writing about it’s going to be virtually impossible to finish the book, promote it, and build an engaged audience.
2) There’s Money To Be Made, Though Not Necessarily How You Might Think
Best selling author and coach Charles H. Green echos Amanda’s sentiment that writers shouldn’t see book sales as a way of making money.
“In my case, The Trusted Advisor has done pretty well. It still ranks in the top three to four thousand on Amazon, which for a ten year old book competing against the likes of Harry Potter is not that bad. You know, we don’t make a lot of money on it though. We’ve spent more on promoting it.”
More on promotion than received from book sales? So he’s made a loss then?
Well, not exactly!
“If you’re a speaker or consultant or trainer it is more than worth its expense in terms of what it brings in for your business…I would say that maybe half the people that come to me come because of the books”.
That makes sense. I mean, a bestselling book is a definitely more impressive than a fancy business card, right?
Tips About Your Content
3) Does Your Book Fill A Burning Need?
As Paula Forbes, senior editor at Epicurious, says, “The key is to fill a niche, to write a book people don’t even know they’re craving.”
That’s something Amelia Saltsman certainly took to heart when she self-published her Santa Monica Farmer’s Market Cookbook (2007).
“One of the things about this book is that I wanted to express the sense of market culture—what it means to be a part of that community, and to shop in that way, and to get to know your farmers”, she explains.
Given that the book is in its sixth printing and was included amongst Cooking Light’s top 100 cookbooks of the last 25 years, her very precise audience of foodies clearly filled a burning need!
4) Is This What You Want To Be Known For?
If you’re writing about a topic you have no interest in, stop! As J.K Rowling of Harry Potter fame eloquently puts it, “What you write becomes who you are”.
J.K Rowling herself had to release her book The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pen name ‘Robert Galbraith’ because her identity had become synonymous with Harry Potter.
Make sure you write about a topic you’re happy to be known for.
Tips About Putting It All Together!
5) Don’t Try To Be A Superhero
There’s things you’re good at. There’s thing’s you’re not so good at. The key is to hire others who can produce a better result in the areas you’re weak, whilst ensuring you retain ultimate control.
As Jasina Wilder, a successful, self-published writer says “I work directly [with a cover artist]… to create a cover that matches the book and my vision. I hire an editor, and work in the same capacity. But all the final work and final decisions are mine”.
Now that’s clever writing!
6) Assemble Your Dream Team
“Hire people who are not only excellent at what they do, but with whom you really enjoy working,” Anna Watson Carl, author of The Yellow Table (2014), advises.
Hiring people just because they’re good at their job doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right for your book.
Be methodical and considered in your hiring decisions. Surround yourself with a dream team that will bring out the best in you..
7) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask!
“I am fortunate to know a few indie writers, and they’ve been kind enough to let me pick their brains and ask all kinds of inane questions”, says Mary Frame, author of the highly regarded ‘Imperfect’ book series.
The best way to ensure you have a great book is to seek advice and feedback from those who have experienced it all before.
If you don’t know any writers personally, a great way is to connect online. I’m always happy to help! I’ve also got a Coaching Program you may be interested in – you can take a look here.
Tips About How To Market And Promote
8) Creativity Goes A Long Way (Literally!)
Uploading your book to a platform like Amazon and hoping it will make sales by itself isn’t a strategy that lends itself well to success.
With self published books, it’s important you take a proactive approach to marketing, something Anna Watson Carl certainly excels at.
As publishersweekly.com report, “Carl initially tackled marketing and PR on her own—giving it a creative spin. Before the book came out, she partnered with Volkswagen and Whole Foods to embark on a road trip in order to throw dinner parties across the country and spread the word about the book. Volkswagen provided the car, and Whole Foods donated food and wine. She also partnered with prominent food bloggers to promote the gatherings”.
Clever way to drum up publicity, don’t you think?
9) Turn To The Crowd?
When it comes to gaining investment and raising the profile of a book, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo can play a huge role.
John Sundstrom, an award winning chef and restaurateur, turned his Kickstarter into a huge PR success story when he launched his first book Lark: Cooking Against the Grain in 2013.
“During the creation of the book—for about seven months starting with the Kickstarter—we began to produce recipes and content. We had photos, videos, and the actual recipes…That was to build excitement. The idea was to keep people involved and to keep [the cookbook project] on their radar.”
By sending his fans teaser content, it helped to ensure they stayed engaged and the project remained in their thoughts long before it was actually available for purchase.
10) Personal Relationships Really Matter
In the same way that Sundstrom fostered a personal relationship with his followers, bestselling author Bella Andre also did something similar, albeit in her own novel way. Andre’s first book, Take Me, had been published by the publishing house Pocket. Her second book, however, was to be self published. In order to let her fans know about the launch she decided to embark on a very personal method of building relationships.
She explains; “When I released my first original self-published story (LOVE ME) in July 2010 I took a week and wrote a personal email to everyone who had ever written to me in the previous five years. Almost every one of them wrote back to say, “Wow, I can’t believe you still had my email!”
It’s a fair bet that after receiving such a personal outreach, most went on to buy her sequel too!
So to wrap up, there’s a lot of great advice here from some fantastic authors. I’d strongly recommend implementing these tips and tactics for writing and promoting your own book.
Feel free to get in touch, to share your personal experiences or ask any questions you may currently be facing!
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share.