You have pitched your book to every editor, agent, publishing house, sister’s brother’s uncle’s cousin who is in publishing, and your pet goldfish, but still no bite? Or maybe you’ve had a few nibbles, rewritten your book until you’ve developed arthritis, and bent over backwards to make the publishers happy, but they still can’t sign you because they just can’t figure out how to “market” you?
Well, join the millions of writers out there who have similar stories. The publishing world is broken. We have known this for quite some time, but we still attempt to please those we have always thought of as the all and powerful gods of literature- the big dinosaurs of the publishing world. The truth is, they are not the ones we need to win over anymore. The ones we really need to pitch to are the readers, the consumers, who will actually shell out the cash to purchase our carefully crafted words on paper.
How do you do it? Should you self-publish? Should you give it away free? Should you give up?
Nowadays there are so many avenues to go down, you don’t have to choose just one. We as authors are able to reach billions of people in all different countries, with all different lifestyles, who like all kinds of fiction with the click of a mouse. If you can find the right venue, you can build a fan base without having a published book. Our world now is all about finding the “next new thing”. If you can market yourself to be that “thing” that everyone is looking for, you will be on the right track.
Get a blank notebook and start brainstorming. Ask yourself:
Who reads books like mine?
Where do they frequent?
What will they think makes my book exciting or different?
Once you have an idea of who might like your work and where you can reach them, build yourself a business plan. Yes, you have to think of this as a job. Make goals, dedicate time, and network just like you do for a job. The business plan doesn’t have to be a 30 page report with graphs and boring details. It can simple be:
“I am going to start a fan base by marketing my work through a podcast where I read chapters and they can listen for free. Then I will focus on college campuses and coffee shops because my book is a love story that takes place on a college coffee shop.”
Next, list how you expect to do that, for example:
“I will post a podcasted chapter of my book once a week. Then, I will market it by contacting other romance novel websites to trade links, swap promos with other podcasters and try to get on as many romance talk shows, podcasts, talk radio shows as possible. Then I will put down flyers at my local coffee shop.”
Once your idea is in place, set it in motion. Make sure you have the website complete before you begin pitching it. Contact everyone you know as well as any authors you have networked with to let them know what you are doing and ask them to pass the info on to their friends. It is all about word of mouth. Join all the social networks: Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc… and start making and adding friends.
Once you start getting fans, keep them. Start a mailing list or a group on Facebook that will alert all those interested with every “new thing” you put out there. You have to remind them and have new content on a regular basis. Weekly is best.
After you have built a good fan base, say 1000-4000 fans (this is easier than it sounds), you are ready to publish in print. Perhaps by then you will have caught those “big fish” publishing houses, or perhaps you will be ready to self-publish. One thing is for certain, you will have learned if you truly like the business of writing or if you are happy just writing for yourself.
For those of you still interested, I will give you a quick run down of my writing business plan.
Night’s Knights Simple Business Plan
“Podcast the book, build fan base, publish book, and take over the world.”
A bit ambitious… but if you set your sights high, you never know what you can accomplish.
Good luck and KEEP WRITING!
Published author of Night’s Knights