The third of the six words in the new model for becoming a successful writer is communication.
There’s a New Yorker cartoon showing two disreputable guys sitting a bar talking, and one is saying: “I tried victimless crime, but I’m a people person.” If you want to be a successful author, you have to be a people person.
Writing is a solitary profession, but it’s the only part of the process you must do alone. Create communities of fans, writers, mentors, and other professionals to help you with your writing, promotion, technology, reviews, and cover quotes. Reciprocate as well as you can. Relationships are media. The more people you know, the farther you’ll go.
You have to have a platform, which is your continuing visibility with book buyers and your communities, online and off, on your subject or the kind of novel you’re writing. Test-marketing your book enables you to build a platform and an ever-growing legion of fans who will buy whatever you create.
Publishers test-market their books with the first printing. But there are more ways to test-market your book than ever: a blog, other social media, podcasting, video, media interviews, articles, print-on-demand books, and speaking. Test-marketing your book in as many ways as you can enables you to
- prove it works
- get testimonials you can use to sell and promote your work
- maximize the value of your book before you sell it, which for most nonfiction, is the only way to get the best editor, publisher, and deal for it
Two cannibals are having dinner and one says to the other: “You know, I don’t like your publisher.”
“OK,” the other cannibal says, “then just eat the noodles.”
The most common reason authors become disenchanted with their publishers is lack of promotion. If you’re writing a promotion-driven nonfiction book, the promotion plan you include in your proposal will determine the editor, publisher, and deal for your book. If editors have to choose between two publishable novels, and one includes a promotion plan, that writer has an edge. A plan is a list, in descending order of impressiveness, of the things you will do to promote your book, and when possible, how many of them. Exaggerate nothing, but submit the strongest plan you can.
Chicken Souperman Jack Canfield says: “A book is like an iceberg: writing is 10%, marketing is 90%. If this is true for the kind of book you’re writing, you will need to spend nine times more effort building your platform and promoting your book than you do writing it.
There are more ways than ever for you to promote books for free. Good books fail all the time. Promotion makes the difference. Editors also take the platforms and promotion plans of novelists into consideration when acquiring.
Next: the fourth word in the model: contentpreneuring.
The goal of the blog is to help you understand what you need to know about writing, publishing, promotion, and agents. Rants, comments, and questions most appreciated.
The 9th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 16-20, 2012 / www.sfwriters.org / [email protected] / https://sfwriters.info/blog / @SFWC / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109 / www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference / 415-673-0939 / San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn / Laurie McLean, Dean / free classes / www.sfwritersu.com / [email protected] / @SFWritersU