Getting the word out is the trick, isn’t it? As Mark Coker says in his Smashwords Style Guide, hijacking is NOT the worry writers should have – it’s obscurity. And I agree.
I know I’ve hit on this before, but if you are writing for commercial publication, regardless of whether you are published traditionally, indie or self, you need to include a marketing plan in your business plan.
Please don’t fool yourself; this kind of writing is a business. You need to have a budget for your time and money. You need to know how much support you can count on from the family – will someone help run the kids to soccer if you have a book signing event? Will someone help with cooking and laundry when you have a deadline closing in? Will someone help you stuff envelopes for your book signing event? Share your dream and your plan with the family! Let them share in the journey with you. If they buy in on the plan, they’ll be sure to help where they can.
- Marketing materials (bookmarks, post cards, business cards, giveaways) for readers; posters, professional letters and book sale sheets for book sellers, librarians, teachers, etc.
- Copies of your book in various formats: print copies, PDF, ePub and mobi so you can solicit reviews from both online and in-person readers. Reviews make the book sale world go round and round. The e-formats could go on a flash drive as giveaways at a conference or readers group. The print copies are needed for instance if you want to do a Goodreads giveaway campaign which generally produce very good results for building buzz about your book.
- Transportation and meal expenses (keep a travel log in the car or in your purse)
- Personal care: dress to impress, but not overly! Be sure you are well groomed from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Everyone should have a nice business card holder and some nice pens. Keep your dental and medical checkup appointments.
- Daily time to write. For most of the writers I know, including myself, this habit seems to work the best for consistent progress on a manuscript.
- Daily time to market (1-2 hours 6 days a week). This could include blogging at other blog sites, doing Facebook, Twitter, or calling radio stations to do an interview. Every day work on getting the word out.
- Daily time to exercise and laugh (for me, that means dancing in my office behind a closed door. I can’t dance so I laugh a lot – and get some much needed exercise. Kills two birds with one stone.)
- Planned time: with the family, with other writers, with yourself.
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to need to take good care of yourself, but with planning you can do it and if you aren’t completely burned out, you’ll write better, be happier and healthier and probably enjoy pretty good book sales, too.
So – as always – keep reading, keep writing, and keep learning. NQ