Launching a new book in today’s publishing world is quite similar to launching a business enterprise.
Books sales take off because the author makes them take off.
Treat your new title as a new business product that you want to take off. Taking off requires energy as it does with a plane, starting a car, or launching a business. Lots of energy.
Many authors are adamant that if they write the ‘great novel’ that people will find it, buy it and read it just because it is a great novel.
However, as successful entrepreneurs know, buyers just don’t “discover” your new products. Launching a new product takes strategy, time, and lots of energy. An author with a new title is launching a new product—whether or not the author is traditionally published or self-published.
Traditionally published means that the author has found a venture capitalist, so to speak, to help share the costs of creating a new product—taking a manuscript and then creating a new published book. The author has usually put in the sweat equity of creating the work. The publisher determines if that the work is worth investing into. Self-published authors take on all the costs and risks of creating a published book.
Premise: Each new novel is a new product that needs to be launched.
Even if your work is picked up by a publisher, you still have the primary responsibility of launching your novel (unless you are in the top two percent of all authors).
There are 2 Rules that you must learn to successfully launch a a new book:
Rule #1: You cannot wait for Readers to come to you. You have to go and get them one by one.
You, Author, must be aggressive in “Early Reader Acquisition.” Venture capitalists call this “early user acquisition.” You cannot expect potential Readers to discover your new book just as you would not expect a potential buyer to discover a new product. You must do whatever it takes to get those first Readers.
I hear three reasons why Authors are not going out there and acquiring Readers:
- I’m shy. I’m an introvert. I don’t like networking. It takes meeting people one on one. You don’t have to get on stage to build readership.
- I’d rather be writing. Who wouldn’t? Pounding the streets hawking your product is hard work.
- I don’t have time. What would you think of a business owner who doesn’t make time to get clients or customers?
To succeed (aka get paid) for your writing, you must acquire Readers. Period. There is no other way around it. Acquired Early Readers, or AERs, are an integral piece to your book’s marketing plan.
To find AERs, you must spend at least thirty percent (minimally) of your time marketing your book even as you are writing it. You must prepare for the launching of your your book on a daily, consistent basis. No matter where you are in the publishing process, start acquiring your early readers as soon as possible.
Rule # 2. Cherish your Early Readers. Show them how much you appreciate them. Be over the top.
Be “insanely appreciative,” as Steve Jobs would say, of your Acquired Early Readers. Translated this means that your AERs should have an “insanely great experience” for taking the time to read your new book.
My next post will be about how to find AERs.
NOTE to AUTHORS: I will go into more and more details about this topic in a series of articles over the next several months. Please expect approximately one article a week along with homework assignments.
I am writing this series in response to the many authors who have written well crafted and compelling works, but are not increasing their number of readers or of book sales. Several of these authors have been contracted by legacy publishers. Others by small presses and, yet, many others are self-published. All are true entrepreneurs in this new era of publishing. I hope to pass on sales and marketing techniques that are tried and true in the business arena to authors who are trying to launch their works and their careers.