The journey as an author is paid in blood, sweat, and tears. I want to take a moment to be vulnerable with you and cut right to the point:
I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. A LOT.
Side note: this might become an ongoing series; follow my mistakes and extract their wisdom! This is for all aspiring authors who can learn from my missteps.
After releasing my first book in winter 2016, I was having a nice conversation about its media engagement with my publicist. We’d worked together throughout its launch and had planned to wrap our work in spring 2017.
Now she did a fantastic job! My book was featured in many big brand publications like Ebony and Jet Magazines as well as Rolling Out.
BUT in that conversation, I realized I’d made a mistake. I’d hired a publicist to get the book out in front of the media but what I really WANTED (but didn’t know until later) was sales.
Those are two related hats, but they are not the same hats. And to make matters worse, I hadn’t spent nearly enough on sales and had funneled a huge chunk of my budget to PR.
The misstep didn’t give me what I ultimately wanted. Here was my big takeaway:
Focusing on placement doesn’t always have an ROI
There is a completely different strategy for getting big sales as an indie author, and the media placements aren’t high on the list.
I was too concerned with placements and not on ROI. Because I love writing, but I didn’t/don’t want my books to be an expensive hobby.
So I developed a sales strategy later which worked much better for my second book. I moved PR down and genuine connection up.
Because the things that generated me revenue were assets I already had in place like my newsletter and Facebook profile.
That’s right. My Facebook friends list and my newsletter list generate the majority of my revenue.
I know the most people in real life from Facebook, and my newsletter list grew organically from doing events and teaching.
My goal was sales, and sales stem from a connection.
Sales is fundamentally about connection and trust. That’s why those vehicles brought me so much success!
People in my email newsletter had given me that persimmon to connect with them; to become a part of my world. They indirectly said:
“What you’re doing and the books you’re writing intrigued me. I want to know more about it.”
So focus on that permission when you’re first getting started. You DON’T need to go all out and break the bank. You can still be an underdog and have a small, intimate, but extremely loyal following of true fans. Aim for your first 10, 50, or even 100 fans and ask them to subscribe to your newsletter. You don’t want the readers who don’t read your genre or have interest in you. You want the readers who say:
“This world is bombastic and full of noise, but what you’re saying speaks directly to me. I want more.”
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