By the Time You Finish Reading This Post 15 More Books Will Be Published

That unwieldy title is the fact behind yesterday's post about literary agents and your social media platform, and today's follow-up.

Depending on who you ask or where you check, each year between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books are published. That's more than one every minute, 24 hours a day.

If you only take away one thing from Sue's post and today's, this is it:

#1. If you don't stand out, agents, publishers, and readers will choose someone who does.

When Sue posted some of her thoughts from that blog post on other social media platforms, there were always a few who quibbled about how agents don't necessarily require this, that, and the other thing. Perhaps. However, see large note #1 above.

A second note which seems, still, to escape far too many authors:

#2: Publishers do not do marketing. Authors do marketing. If you won't, they'll find someone who will.

This shatters the dream of so many authors who, apparently, still hope they can simply write their book and have someone else do the hard work of earning the money for them. After all, writing a book is hard enough already; I know this well and understand the frustration of those who, having typed The End are dismayed to discover that it's just The Beginning.

If you're still secretly hoping someone else will make this easy for you, see large note #2 above.

A third note:

#3: Reputations are hard-earned currency. No one is going to lend you theirs without good reason.

Yesterday's post touched on the quagmire of guest posting. The entire point of guest posting is to share reputations, to find mutual benefit.

If you have a brand new blog about entrepreneurship, having Richard Branson write a guest post is a great idea, right? Doesn't hurt to ask, right?

What earthly reason would Sir Rich have to lend you his reputation?

Bringing it down to more realistic levels, what reason does mid-level blogger Jane Doe have to lend you their reputation, giving you access to their hard-earned network of fans? By writing a guest post for you, or allowing you to write a guest post for her, Jane is endorsing you, telling all and sundry "I trust and respect Billy Bo Bob Brain and you should, too."

Why would they do that?

Flipside: why would you do that? If you have a worthwhile blog and a total stranger, entirely unknown, wants to post on your blog, why would you share your reputation with them? Do you really want to publicly endorse the views and ethics of a total stranger?

A final takeaway:

#4: If you intend to sell your book or use it to promote your business you are not just an author, you are an entrepreneur.

You may already be marketing your business. Your book is part of your business, and you have to invest the same marketing effort and savvy as you would any other new product or service launched.

A solid social media presence is vital to getting noticed as an author and should be in place long before your book is published.

Let Insiders (and Outsiders) Choose Themselves

We all subscribe to newsletters we mean to read and then don't. And then we transfer that feeling to our readers and worry they've done the same thing. I combat that by regularly asking folks to unsubscribe. (And if I discover I'm not reading a newsletter, I unsub myself. There's only so much time. We can't do it all. What we cull is as important as what we keep.)

Telling them it's okay to leave helps cull the folks who are staying because they're too nice to unsubscribe.

Everyone is busy. I see the choices as (a) be easy to ignore, and become One of Those Newsletters, or (b) be so good they don't want to ignore you.

Yeah, (b) is harder. It's also the professional choice.

Making the Reasonable Ask

Marketing your book is going to involve asking people for things. Whether it's cover blurbs, a foreword, testimonials, or reviews, it's far more practical to ask than to wait for volunteers.

How you ask makes a world of difference. My goal in this article is to help you do your homework so you have the best chance of getting a meaningful response. Note I didn't say a positive response; 'yes' isn't always the right answer, much as we'd like it to be. You can't be too timid to even ask, but it doesn't work to be so confident you come off as a jerk.

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Do One Thing

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Water wears away stone by constancy, not power, not volume.

Marketing with a long vision will serve you better than looking for short-term sales.

Every day, do one thing to market yourself as an author, or to learn more about successful marketing. Here are 20 ideas to get you started:

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Your Business Needs a Blog

In The Commonsense Virtual Assistant we wrote about the four fundamental customer needs:

  1. Get it right
  2. Get it out there
  3. Give 'em advice
  4. Give 'em a voice

A blog fills the last two needs, with proactive advice, and room for feedback, not just from your existing clientele, but from two groups we call prospects (people who are considering doing business with you) and suspects (people who should be doing business with you but don't know it yet.) Never underestimate the power of fortuitous discovery. When someone stumbles upon your blog, they may discover you're exactly what they need—but didn't realize it.

It's astonishing how many small businesses don't blog regularly. (We all realize that as nonfiction authors, we're in the book business, don't we?)

… more … "Your Business Needs a Blog"