Since this topic seems to prompt the most questions from writers in my domain – as it should if you want to make money at writing good books – I did a bit of searching around for some tidbits that might be useful to us all. NQ
From a post by Chris Robley of BookBaby (6/4/13) regarding what he learned at the 2013 BEA in New York:
WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN BEFORE YOU WRITE YOUR BOOK
Many of the successful authors I talked to had similar advice: figure out the business/marketing details first.
• Who is your audience? How will you find them?
• What will they get from your book?
• What will set your book apart from similar titles to make it an essential purchase?
• What is the marketing hook?
• What is the elevator pitch? Can you summarize your book in 3 sentences while conveying the depth of its content?
• Will it be part of a series?
• What is your writing schedule and deadlines? How will you measure your progress?
• What are my weaknesses, and how can I get assistance in those areas?
• How can I build my platform WHILE I write this book?
By answering these and many more questions, you’ll have a clear vision that will not only guide you through the writing process, but fuel you with enough energy to begin the book in the first place (if you decide it’s worth your time).
By pre-determining your book’s purpose, audience, plus a strategy to market it — you’re better positioning yourself to get a book deal. You’re thinking like a business person, and publishers want to know they’re partnering with a pro. They want to make a smart investment, and doing this legwork early-on will set you apart from the other folks who are just… writing.
If you don’t get a book deal (—and maybe that was never the goal—), you’ll STILL be better positioned to sell your book in a crowded marketplace.
Resources that I use for information and ideas:
If you have published a book using CreateSpace, be sure to make use of the terrific resources that they provide there for authors. Marketing, publicity, writing craft, editing and technical topics are all there from a large number of industry professionals including authors, editors, agents, publishers, etc. Just visit http://www.createspace.com, sign in and then make use of this very current and well done information source. Recorded webinars are available as well, on topics such as “Creating a Marketing Plan to Sell More Books,” “Launch Your New Book Successfully,” and “Reach More Readers with Online Marketing,” just to name a few.
PROFESSIONAL WRITING GROUPS
I’ve been blessed over the years to participate in writing groups that were chock full of experienced, successful, generous and talented authors. I know I’ve said this before, but there is no substitute for spending time learning and sharing with people like that! Do an online search for your genre or non-fiction interests and see what comes up. Make sure the organization is legit, pay your dues and get to the meetings – either in person (best case) or online, and listen, learn and share with that group. I list several of these on my website at www.ontargetwords.com. NQ
FINDING READERS – THE MARKETING-AUTHOR CHALLENGE
Galleycat has established a list of authors who would visit book clubs, either electronically or in person. You can add your name to the list here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/11oEVUrhnTtnauJHHY65ioOXY2yEKcNV17t6PAcfUxow/viewform
The value in giving these communities your time and attention is to see for yourself what readers are reading, what they want, what they’d love to see, etc. Also, when you’ve found those readers, begin to build relationships with them and in time, you’ll have the opportunity, just like you would at a cocktail party, to let them know you are an author, you care about what they care about, and you’ll get the chance to let them know what you’ve written! Like any marketing activity, budget your time and money with diligence. Writing is still the most important activity for an author. As freelance accounts often ask, “what have you written lately?” Fiction is no different! NQ
Online Book Club– Our book community offers those people who love to read a wide range of book reviews and book recommendations. Also, we have many interactive discussions and polls about books.
Mystery Net Community– Hundreds of discussions about everything mystery!
Goodreads– Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Our mission is to help people find and share books they love.
BookTalk.org– BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group.
Reader’s Paradise– This forum is for the discussion of all topics related to reading and literature. Here, there is always a comfortable chair and just the right light.
Until next time, keep reading and writing! Have a writing-related question? Drop me an email or leave a comment – I’ll try to find you an answer!
Nancy Quatrano – email@example.com