Authors Need to Become Entrepreneurs and Focus on Their Brand:
6 Steps to Becoming a Successful Authorpreneur
A Detailed Look at Step One: Pre-Publication
I believe we are fortunate to be writing and publishing books in this day and age. With so many options available to us, we can make ourselves visible to readers, both online and offline. We can promote our brands without spending a dime. Notice how I used the term “promote our brand” rather than “promote our book.” How come? Well, indie (independent) or self-published authors have to become entrepreneurs if they wish to sell their books in book stores, Costco and other large retail stores.
At the February 2014 IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) “Publishing University” conference in San Francisco, publishers, agents and book marketing experts repeated the following:
- The Author is the Brand
- The Book is the Product
- Author’s build fans with their Brand, not their Book
Most authors would prefer to stay home and write rather than market and promote their books. Some authors believe that the way to get readers to buy their books is to say, “Buy my book.” Unfortunately neither method is successful in building an audience of fans, potential readers or “customers.”
With the dramatic increase in indie-published books, it is crucial for all indie-authors to step-up to the competition, and to view themselves as entrepreneurs, rather than just writers.
If we look at statistics, Bowker reveals that the number of self-published titles in 2012 jumped to more than 391,000, up 59 percent over 2011. Add to that the number of traditionally published books, and we are now competing against 600,000 to 1,000,000 new books published each year.
According to Beat Barblan, Bowker Director of Identifier Services:
“The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only, but as business owners. They invest in their businesses, hiring experts to fill skill gaps.”
As an indie author, publisher and now a “gutsy” book publishing and marketing coach, I’d like to share what’s worked for me, and what I encourage writers to think about when they start their journey towards becoming a published author.
Since most of us are not celebrities with tons of fans, press opportunities and a full-time publicist to book us on national TV shows, our biggest problem is:
- Discoverablility (Another popular term mentioned at the (IBPA) conference. As the experts mentioned:
- It’s easy to write a book
- The hard part is selling the book.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is:
How can we publish and market our books professionally, on a small budget?
I’m happy to inform you that there is a solution:
- You do everything you can to become your own professional marketing department and your own public relations agency while keeping those high standards of professionalism.
Start marketing the minute you write the first word of your manuscript. I realize this may sound a little crazy, but this is the way to build your platform before your book is published. Marketing guru, Seth Godin, recommends starting your blog at least three years before you publish.
- Start a WordPress.org blog based on a specific theme or niche that relates to your book. (Download Webinar) with tech expert, Jay Donovan to learn more about websites for authors and avoiding website pitfalls.)
- Build a brand. Ask yourself, “What’s my brand?” Successful authors have a brand. (Sign up for free Google+ Hangout with author Kathy Pooler) on May 1st, at 9 a.m. PST about blogging, branding and social media)
- Start building relationships with other authors online. (Google blogs related to your niche or theme.) Download Webinar on Relationship Building: The Secret to Marketing and Selling You Books.)
- Start your social media presence. Join Twitter, FaceBook, Google + and LinkedIn.
- Volunteer and network at libraries, author events, writing groups, Meetups.
In the following weeks/months, I shall cover:
- Step 2-Writing/Editing
- Step 3-Publishing
- Step 4-Marketing
- Step 5-Promotion
- Step 6-What Next?
I shall fly out to Philadelphia to speak about this topic. Please join me and register below.
May 8th, Workshop on “The Author Entrepreneur: How to Build a Platform and Sell Books.”
May 8th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Fairfield Inn, Exton, PA 19341 (MAP)
Sponsored by, “Women’s Writing Circle.”
Sonia Marsh is the award-winning author of the travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island and founder of the “My Gutsy Story®” series. The first anthology in that series, My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, was a silver honoree in the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards.
Sonia offers “gutsy” book coaching to authors, as well as Webinars and Workshops. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website: http://soniamarsh.com. Subscribe to her free “Gutsy” newsletter and receive two bonus prizes.