platform then involves staying connected to the channels they already
Do you often shy away from
marketing because you envision hard sales tactics, cold calls, and
“pushing” your books? This is terrifying and difficult, and it’s not
the most effective way to market your book. What if, instead of using
“marketing,” I said “networking” or “talking about your book”? Are
these terrifying? No, and a smart author is one who sets up his or her
writing business with this as the primary form of marketing.
What does craft have to do with marketing? Everything! Without strong
craft you won’t generate the word of mouth buzz that is crucial to the
success of your books. So take time to discover what your target market
is reading. What are they watching? Do you see commonality between
these? Chick lit is a very different audience from suspense thrillers.
Word choice, pace, and tone have to reflect the needs of that customer
base. So what are you doing to study and build your craft in your
specific genre? I don’t encourage chasing the market, but you do need
to understand your target market if you want to be successful.
While people don’t often see this as a skill, it really is. Anyone can
spend money on a full-page ad in a periodical or pay a publicist to
send their books all over the place, but are these the only ways a
writer can market? When I work with students of my course, several are
surprised to learn how many opportunities they actually have already
established. Building their platform then involves staying connected to
the channels they already have.
What system do you have in place to collect those wonderful ideas? Do
you know how many words you need to write today to stay on target? When
do you have writing time scheduled for next Wednesday? What are you
writing then? How many articles have you sent out in the last two
weeks? Whom did you send them to? What was your purpose in pitching to
that magazine? How does it fit in to your overall goal in writing?
These are questions I ask writers at every stage of their careers. I
also ask them of myself every quarter. Organization speaks to a plan.
Do you have a plan in place for each project (both large and small), or
does your annual outlook consist of “sell a book”?
If you don’t have
the steps planned along the way, then your goal of selling a book will
take much longer—if it happens at all.
Writing is a team sport.
Truly it is. Nearly every writer that I’ve coached over the last couple
of years started the course either thinking they didn’t need a team or
not understanding what a writing team was. I would argue that, after
writing a great book, having a strong team is the next most important
thing for every author.
To form the best team possible, I need to first shift your thinking.
Are you ready?
You own a writing business and you need to look at it that way. If
you’ve ever read my blog you understand the business focus I put on the
art of writing. I don’t do this because I am coldhearted; I do it
because this shift in focus helps most authors understand why they are
not growing as an author or making more on their writing.
Think about an office where you or someone you know has worked. Each
person in that office had a role—sales, marketing, distribution, and
production. The same is true in your writing business.
Therefore, it is important to read the writer guidelines for a book or
magazine publisher. Are they good business partners? Does your writing
meet the goals of their publication? Does that publication offer you a
chance to reach your long-term goals?
Apply this test with finding an agent. Does that agent have expertise
in the area you want to focus in? Are they recognized in the industry?
Remember, an agent will represent who you are. Is the person you’re
working with someone you want others to associate with you? Finally, do
you get along? Why would you want to work with an agent you don’t like?
In writing, this is your closest business partner. You need to connect
in personality and vision—choose wisely.
This is only an overview of some of the things I help writers with when
they purchase my Writing Career Coach course or when I mentor them. I
hope that some of these ideas have caused you to start thinking about
your writing business in a different way. I’d love to answer any
questions you may have, so bop on over to my blog at www.WritingCareerCoach.com.