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.
There’s a marvelous scene in one of the Crocodile Dundee movies where someone points out that his hotel room has a television. He turns it on saying, “I've seen television before.” As the I Love Lucy theme fades in he says, “Yup, that’s what was on”.
Can you imagine if the food in the fridge really never changed or if the show on television was actually always the same?
There are some activities in life which hinge on variety, newness, change, to keep our attention. Eating the same foods over and over again gets boring fast – even pizza.
The single greatest reason for potential fans (which means potential purchasers of your book) to visit your website is to find something new.
George Troy contacted me after he finished writing his book, The Five Laws of Retail. He said, "I want to build my social media presence and begin blogging. I am overwhelmed and need help."
This past year George Troy's followers on Twitter increased 1,234%, on Facebook 178%, on Instagram 242%, and on LinkedIn 237%!
How Did We Do It?
We put together a plan to make sure his blog was updated regularly, establish a solid social media presence, and expand his online network. Together we created goals and discussed and adjusted these monthly as needed. Within just a few months we saw substantial increase in his followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Here's what George had to say:
Sue and her team have made invaluable daily contributions to my work. I worked in business for decades and recently completed a book on the subject, The Five Laws of Retail. I quickly learned that building a social media platform to support the book was a full time job and needed a professional. We created targets for each channel for each month, measure against them and ultimately met and exceeded each goal. I can’t imagine achieving my goals without her help and support.
George's editor, Candace Johnson, assists him in updating his book proposal and makes sure we get updated book promotion information included. Candace recently wrote a guest post for us about what social media information publishers are looking for in a book proposal. "Publishers want to see that your audience is growing. You might have recently begun blogging and don’t yet have impressive numbers to report, so show them the rates of growth over a period of time."
We've been working together with George for over a year now. He just updated his book proposal again and this time we included the percentage of increase for each network over the past year as noted above.
In the bad old days, some folks were trapped in a poverty-inducing cycle, farming land they could never own. Rich landowners allowed ("allowed" !) tenant farmers to work the land in exchange for a share of the crop. The rich landowner, simply because he owned the land, received a share of the crops as well.
The sharecropper could never make enough to buy the land. The system was designed to keep the rich rich and the poor poor.
Eleven times a week I hear questions about "the best blogging platform." And I read recommendations of, not only various free blogging tools, but even folks who consider their Facebook page or other social media presence to be their online marketing.
If you don't own the land, you're sharecropping, building someone else's empire.