I spent the week thinking about what I would write about for the next few weeks. I’d asked not too long ago what you would like to read about as well.
Since I’m getting close to “officially” launching Turtleshell Press and due to the interest you’ve all mentioned (thanks!), I thought this would be a great “kickoff” post:
Specific Self-Publishing Advice
When I say “self-publishing,” I mean DIY-ing your book from concept to sale, and everything in-between. And when I say “specific,” I’m talking about the actionable, usable advice that you can take and put to work immediately.
However, there’s a caveat:
Specific advice isn’t always as helpful as general advice.
What I mean is that I could give you my recipe for weight-loss soup, but if you didn’t like spinach it probably wouldn’t do you much good (or, it would “do you good,” but you wouldn’t like it). Another analogy is that I could give you my “In-List” — my personal list of Twitter followers with whom I want to make an impact, but the list wouldn’t specifically fit your niche, market, or needs.
I just read one of my favorite authors’ (Jeremy Robinson) latest blog post, My Best Advice for Self-Publishers, and his basic premise for success in this crazy world is, “figure it out.”
While he’s right on in regards to the belief that the best success comes from a certain amount of “figuring-it-out-yourself”-ing, I think he missed a prime opportunity to explain the specific things he had to “figure out” along the way.
Here are three analogies to explain what I mean (and what this series will be about):
- I can’t give a specific answer to you about what the best design for your mousepad (that you’ll give away with your book) is, but I can tell you that generally it’s not a great idea to worry about printing mousepads.
- I can’t tell you how to set up your MySpace page, but I can tell you to not set one up at all because it’s probably not worth your time.
- I can’t tell you how much time you should spend each day writing, but I can tell you to spend more time writing and less time on social media.
These analogies are all examples of what I call general specific advice — they’re helpful for prioritization, “wrapping your mind around things,” the “big picture,” etc., but they’re not going to get you all the way there. For that, you’ll need a good dose of “figuring it out yourself” and trial and error.
So, therefore, the equation for “success” online, as far as marketing your book to generate income, is:
[Generic Advice] x [Trial and Error] = [Book Marketing Success]
I’ll give you the first half…
Let’s make a deal: I’ll give you the first half of the formula — the “Generic Advice” part. I’ll show you the main areas to focus on, which ones to worry less about, and which ones to ignore completely. Over the course of the next week/two weeks/month (?) I’ll write a series of guides that walk you through setting up an online platform to actually making that first sale. I’ll assume you’ve already got a book under your belt, but if not, NaNoWriMo is about to kick off (and I highly recommend it).
If you’re not a writer or author, the series should still be helpful — I’ve been in marketing for years, since I started my own company in college, and throughout the past few years as I’ve coached individuals, businesses, and churches on setting up an online presence, using social media, etc. I think you’ll find the series helpful in some way, but if not — your money back! *wink*
The other half you’ll have to do yourself — like Jeremy said, “figure it out.” Not to sound harsh, but it’s really important that you put in some time discovering, exploring, creating, and failing. Seth Godin loves failure because it leads to strength, understanding, and success, and while no one’s advocating being stupid and failing for dumb reasons, failure is a part of life.
How does all that sound?
I’m excited to get started, and I hope you are too — let me know in the comments section if there’s anything specific you’d like to see covered!