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Your Book is a Business
Dr. Jamie Fettig
Think like a businessperson, not an author.
Once the final draft is written, you’re no longer an author. You’re an entrepreneur with a product to sell, and it’s critical that you start thinking that way. Instead of spending your time on editing and proofreading, you’ve got to invest your time in marketing activities. That means finding the answers to three critical questions:
a. Who is your audience?
b. What will compel them to buy your book?
c. What methods should you use to reach them?
At this stage, you need to think about capturing leads, producing sales material, getting testimonials and positive reviews, and arranging publicity events. Your focus should be on all the ways you can create awareness of your book.
The best way to get started in thinking like a businessperson is after your final draft is done but before you go to print, sit down and write out the answers to these questions:
• What is my marketing budget?
• What resources do I have in place already?
• What people do I know who can help me?
• What are my sales goals for the year?
Keep your expectations realistic.
The average self-published book sells only about 3,000 copies, and the average book issued by a publisher sells only a few thousand more. For every bestseller, there are hundreds of books that sell moderately and disappear. So you’ve got to keep your expectations realistic, or you’ll set yourself up to get discouraged and quit trying to market your book.
Rather than worry about the overall number of copies sold, I recommend to people that they set their goals, especially for a first book, like this:
a. Monetary goals. For most authors, selling enough copies to break even is a very worthwhile goal. If you can do that, you’ve done great!
b. Career goals. Your book might give a big boost to your speaking career, medical practice or other endeavor.
c. Publicity goals. Your book could position you as an expert in your field, so that you get invited on radio programs, TV, speaking engagements, etc.
d. Publishing goals. Maybe your book is noticed by a publisher who wants to re-release it, or you are offered a chance to write future books.
e. Networking goals. You meet agents, designers, journalists and others who could be wonderful contacts for the future.
Your expectations for your book should not be centered on copies sold. Instead, focus on developing and executing a brilliant marketing and PR plan, making key contacts, and finding ways to create value for readers, for the media and for organizations who might make big bulk purchases. If you focus on those things, sales will take care of themselves.
Concentrate on meeting all 5 types of goals. That way, even if your sales are only moderate, but you do brilliantly in getting publicity and making contacts, you can consider your book a success.
Have a solid, long-term marketing plan.
Before you ever get close to even finishing your first draft, sit down and map out the basics of your marketing and promotional plan. The key questions you’ll need to answer:
• What is my marketing budget?
• When should my book be ready?
• Who is my audience and what need does this book meet?
• What will my price point be?
• How many copies do I need to sell to break even?
• How many copies do I want to sell?
• What marketing channels will I use to reach my readers?
• What relationships can I leverage to make bulk sales?
• What relationships can I leverage to get press coverage?
• Who will design my Website?
• Do I need a marketing staff?
• Will I do an e-newsletter?
• Will I hire a distributor or ship the books myself?
• Do I want to be in the bookstores?
• Will I do “guerilla” marketing?
• What ancillary products can I produce (tapes, CDs, etc.)
• How can my seminars/consulting/current business support this book?
That’s a lot of material, but it’s all important. Take a couple of months and figure it out. You can also cut some time off your learning curve by learning from others who have done it already.
About the author:
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