On publication day, because your book is new, it’s news. Books are on bookstore shelves, reviews start to appear, and you begin carrying out your promotion plan, which includes arousing media interest. Writing, publishing, bookselling, reviewing, and marketing are migrating online, but publishing is a hybrid business that requires your best efforts online and off.
Depending on your publisher’s commitment, your book may have a launch window as short as two weeks, after which your publisher will focus on the next book on its list. Your goal is to help generate enough sales momentum for your book to sustain the interest of booksellers, the media, and your publisher. You need to be visible in as many ways and places as possible, online and off. Visibility is not a spigot you can turn on because you need it. You have to prepare for your book’s launch window by maximizing its value before you publish it or sell it to a publisher.
Here are four simultaneous, overlapping ways to guarantee the success of your book that you must integrate for maximum impact:
- Write the best book you can. Only books that fulfill their promise succeed.
- Test-market your book in as many ways as you can to prove it works, including a blog, videos, podcasts, a website, talks, teaching, articles, self-publishing, and media interviews.
- Build your platform–your continuing visibility with potential buyers, online and off, on the subject of your book or the kind of book you’re writing.
- Crowdsource your success by building win-win relationships with engaged communities of people who want to help you, because they know, like, and trust you: writers, fans, mentors, techies, bloggers and other media people, reviewers, booksellers, and key people in your field.
Technology forces publishing to reinvent itself. Before the Internet, books were the beginning of the information stream. Writers wrote them; publishers published them; and whatever happened–usually nothing–happened. Then writers wrote their next book. Because it keeps getting harder for publishers to launch writers, for new authors, the system is broken.
Now, books have to be the end of the information stream. The only time to publish your book, or sell it to a publisher, is when you have met the four challenges above as well as you can. This is only way to get the best editor, publisher, and deal for your book or ensure it sells, if you keep publishing your edition. Sell enough copies, and publishers will find you.
Although a publisher can add great value to a book, technology empowers you to control as much of the process as you wish. If your book delivers enough value to your readers, social media guarantees bestsellerdom no matter who publishes it. If you’ve got the goods, technology makes it faster and easier than ever to become a successful writer. Good luck!
The goal of the blog is to help you and me understand writing and publishing. Rants, comments, questions, and answers most appreciated.
Just Announced: The 4th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference
Changing the World One Book at a Time
September 15, 2012 / Unitarian Universalist Center / Geary & Franklin, San Francisco
http://sfwriters.org/blog /@SFWC/ www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference /
415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109