I’m going to start this article with three easy ways to get a book finished because I started going into how to sell self published books, and I realized that this will be helpful for you too.
1) Get PLR content and put your spin on it.
2) Borrow from the public domain.
3) Record your entire book by audio and send it off to be edited (Otter software for trascription is another option).
if you are doing a novel, join a writers’ club that brings chapters to share to each meeting. And, now to introduce you to another one of my mentors who helped with the classic struggle of writing what is meaningful to you and also having people be interested in it. An, easy way is to collaborate with other artists. They will purchase a copy because their work is featured in the book.
Gather the People
Gather the People is the title of a book written by Sarah J. Bray (now Sarah Avenir) that takes on the fundamental problem that most artists have. When you make your work, which is usually a natural expression of your life or stuff that matters to you, when you choose to write for an audience, the work is not as fulfilling. Now, there are writers that study and train just to write tantalizing copy to sell books. These are the books in the murder mystery, fantasy, and X-rated romance novels that are designed to appeal to the basest human nature.
So, what about if you are writing a coffee table book full of pictures of ducks and inspirational quotes? (a.k.a might not have wide appeal). Or, what about if you’re just starting out, and you’re not that great of a writer? If you are concerned about either of these, the you will want to use Sarah’s process of involving potential buyers from the beginning of your writing project to the end.
You do not want to do what I did: pour your heart and soul into a book project and sell one copy to your mother.
Here is a summary of the 7 Step Framework for getting people to care about your work and buy it before you publish:
1) Take Inventory – Look at what you have to offer, what financial, spiritual, relational resources you have. I love talking about social capital. It is the most important capital for new artists of every kind. If you don’t have a lot of money, the you better build a wealth of goodwill that you can borrow against later. Daniel DiPiazza has a great story like that of how he landed an agent to get his first book published and out there.
2) Finding Your Vision – I remember going through something Sarah called ‘Ari’s Visioning Process” at this step, but basically, you take time to think about how you’d like this project to fit into your life as not to create something you hate from it. Don’t let it turn into a big ugly monster that sucks your time and your strength from you because you set up huge commitments to deliver in a short time frame.
3) Building Small to Build Big – Can you get your first chapter or two out and get feedback on it? Who might be interested in your work? Are there other artists who have made similar work? Are there podcasters that create shows around topics that you are writing about? Build a small community of people you share your work with that can later serve as a launch team or even friends that you collaborate with and cross-promote with (accomplished grammarians please forgive the preposition at the end of this sentence.)
4) Sharing Your Story – What was is that one guy said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Small scale and large scale sales efforts hang on stories. Get good at telling your story, sharing your struggles and triumphs as you are releasing more “FREE’ chapters to people who have expressed an interest in your work. Looks like I skipped over the fact that you are building a list of contacts in the last step. They should be expecting content from you on a somewhat regular basis.
5) Creating Out Loud – Quite simply, most of us like to create in solitude and emerge with a finished project (that may or may not sell). But, the process that Sarah Avenir outlines is to keep in contact with this list of supporters who are looking for to the completing of your work and for those who are FANS, work with them on developing your content by soliciting feedback on what they like and dislike. The deal is that you are sending them subsequent chapters and communicating a publishing schedule with them.
6) Releasing Your Work – Now you have somewhat of a launch day hack. You can ask for reviews from the list. You can include them in the front matter of the book like in the “Special Thanks” section. You can ask them to share it with a specific number of people in exchange for a goodie (there’s software for tracking their shares). And, then you have so many options if you did the other steps right. Will you be a guest on podcasts with podcasters you built relationships with? Will you get a ‘FREE’ endorsement from a more established writer because you befriended them in the process? Releasing your work actually begins a whole other process focusing on sales.
7) Focusing on Growth – I see Sarah has an author profile on Goodreads (a social network for avid readers and authors). That is a way to connect with an audience of potential new readers by commenting on similar works to yours. I love to talk about Hal Elrod and his Miracle Morning series because he already had some clout as a speaker when he released his book, and he had an expectation to sell a million copies of his book in the first year. I think he sold like 10,000. Then, he went back to the hustle of building relationships and got there after six years of promotion work. It started with one book. It’s now a best-selling series.
Much like Sarah J Bray (Avenir), Hal Elrod’s books are an extension on his profession. He is attracting potential coaching clients through his books. Sarah owns a marketing firm that uses an approach to marketing that clients actually appreciate. So, if she wanted to push her book sales to create leads for her business she could.
If you are focused on creative literature like me that is not directly related to your profession, then the collaboration is crucial to at least get over that nagging feeling that you should be “working” instead of working on your hobby. You can create and get paid for it. That’s the life.