UPDATED 01/20/2015-Writing can be such an emotional labor of love that many authors consider the physical publication and printing of the book to be the finish line. But it’s not. If your goal is to be a writer who uses the art as a form of personal expression, then the completion of a book manuscript may be the finish line.
But if you have slightly larger ambitions of becoming a published author whose work is widely enjoyed by others, you will need the following three things to be successful.
The three things you will need to have a successful publication are: 1) a great book, 2) a platform, and 3) a good marketing plan.
How do you get a great book?
- Study what your target audience wants and needs and develop a publishing plan-or blueprint-that will allow you to meet and even exceed their expectations.
- Write a message that is focused on your target audience’s wants and needs while exceeding their expectations.
- Have your book critiqued and professionally edited and give your book a memorable name.
- Get great endorsements before your book is published so that your book promotion will feature the endorsements and help encourage potential buyers who are on the fence to buy your book.
- Have your book cover and interior layout professionally designed in a way that appeals to your target audience.
- Produce the e-book, audiobook and/or print book in excellent quality.
- Distribute and promote the book in the markets where your target audience hangs out. Your promotion activities should always direct people to your platform.
The “Quick Start Guide to Writing and Publishing Your Book” will help you get started on this process right away. The Book Blueprint service is allows me to build a custom plan, budget and timeline for you to guide you through these steps.
How do you get a platform?
The beauty of working with a traditional publishing company-and sometimes a self-publishing company-is that their company already has a platform and network to help promote your book. This is a huge advantage for a first-time author.
However, these companies are interested in making money, and the main way they do this is by publishing several books each year. If your book does not immediately top the bestseller’s lists after publication, their attention will shift to another title that does. This is why many seasoned authors recommend that new authors build a platform of your own.
An online platform is much cheaper-and quicker-to develop than other offline platform options. The following tips are based on recommendations from Michael Hyatt’s book “Platform: Get Noticed In a Noisy World.”
- Define your ideal platform. What does your platform offer to meet your follower’s needs? How does it allow you to interact with your followers? How does the platform allow your followers to interact with each other? How can they interact with people outside of your platform about your message and/or product? Answering these questions is a great way to start designing the best platform for you, your message, and your ideal readers.
- Design your elevator pitch. How do you quickly communicate your message or product in a way that distinguishes you from your competition? The quality of your pitch can help make the difference between simply being a published author and being a published author that sells books.
- Develop your branding tools. All of the following represent you, your message and your products to the world, and your mission is to make sure they present a unified message: email address, email signature, business cards, website, and social media profiles. You want to design and use them wisely.
- Develop your online media kit. This kit includes all of the information that your strategic partners need to help you spread the word about your message or new product. Traditionally, this includes a folder of material that you mail out to key media contacts, but including the information as a page on your website or at least a downloadable file makes it easier (and cheaper) to share.
- Designate your success team. No successful author reaches their goals alone. Take your time assembling the team you need for your success.
- Build a powerhouse online community. Design a blog or dynamic website that attracts the people you want and allows them to engage with you, each other and outsiders they may encounter on the Web.
- Engage your community. Remember that they are not there for you. It is all about the message or product that helps them achieve their personal goals. Great marketing always connects you to your community. Great marketing can use a combination of offline and online strategies, but I highly recommend that every author use content marketing to help you make that connection to your community.
The “Quick Start Guide to Writing and Publishing Your Book” includes tips on how to start thinking about what you will include in your platform, and the Book Blueprint service is allows me to make custom recommendations for which tools, service providers and strategies to use to build your platform.
How do you get a good marketing plan?
Do you remember the target audience you identified before you started writing your book? Well a good marketing plan takes your target audience research a step further by:
- Defining where the target audience is likely to live, work or hang out in large groups (aka finding your book’s market) and
- How you plan to get information about your book to them (aka the marketing plan).
Use this Quick Start Marketing Guide to help you find your book’s market.
When you finish the guide you will have the chance to save your market information, and you will see a link to a detailed post that will help you build the comprehensive marketing plan your book deserves. Click here to begin writing your marketing plan now.
Marketing plan strategies and resources are also provided as part of the Book Blueprint service.
This message is intended to be an overview of the key components that separate successful authors from those who are simply published. It does not include exact details, but I hope that it does give you a better idea of what it takes to succeed whether you decide to take the traditional or self-publishing route. In fact, there are many traditional publishing companies that prefer to publish authors who already have a well established platform with thousands of followers and a marketing plan that demonstrates how willing people are to buy the book well before they agree to publish it under their own imprint.
Now that you have a better idea of what is involved in becoming a successful published author, does it make you question your desire to become a published author?
Image: By Apdency (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons