As a good writer, you have probably spent countless hours reading books on writing: how to plot, theme, arc, and publish your amazing new book. You know you must edit the book, edit it more, and then have others edit it. Polish till it shines. Then, you learned how to write the perfect synopsis and query letter. You send off a few, make changes, and receive your first full read request. While you wait, you study more books on what to expect when you get a contract, how to negotiate this contract, and you compile a list of questions you will ask your future agent and publisher.
So now, you have the coveted book deal. And life has begun. You have written a great book and found an agent and publisher who agree with you. Or maybe you didn’t catch the eye of an agent, but found a small press that shares your vision. Or perhaps, you chose to skip those steps and go straight to self-publish your masterpiece.
This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for. Your book is live and for sale. And when the numbers come in…you are thoroughly disappointed.
Didn’t you write a great book? Didn’t you follow all the rules of writing? Yes, I’m sure you did. But what you need to know is that once you publish your book, you are not a famous author. Nor are you a desired speaker or best-seller. What you have become, in actuality, is a small business owner.
I know, catch your breath…breathe in, breathe out.
Whether you like it or not, you are now an entrepreneur of a fabulous new company that sells a product. This product is your book. Now, if someone came up to you and said they opened a burger joint, and since McDonalds has had extreme success selling burgers, they will too, you would probably squint, twitch, and wonder what the hell was wrong with that person’s thinking. But isn’t that what most authors do? They publish a book and think, since other people have been successful in that genre, or with that publisher, or in general, they will too.
*Buzzer Sound* “Sorry, you lose…”
The truth is that you must hustle and sell your book, regardless of your status with a big house, small house, or self-published venue. Most businesses fail within the first year, so you have to know that you must work your business for a good year before you should expect to see a profit. Doesn’t every other business work this way? Realtors and Salesmen and Insurance Agents all work selling a product that is common and dependent upon repeat sales and word of mouth. All must expect to invest money into their business to see it successful. All must be willing to put in 40-60 hours a week working toward building a client base, studying their industry, generating leads, and servicing their clients. All must purchase sales tools such as business cards, postcards, posters, marketing freebies, and products in advance to giveaway.
Why should your job as an author be any different?
You have a product to sell to a specific target audience who has hundreds of thousands of other choices. Why should they choose your book? What have you done to close the deal and ask for the sale? Or are you sitting in your living room outlining your next book with boxes of your old book stacked beside you?
If you found this post helpful, please consider buying my book.
Remember, you are a small business owner, not a creative genius. You can have the best book in the world, but no one will read it if you don’t learn how to sell it!!