Find Your Own Way
For many years I've been listening to writers as they pitch their ideas and manuscripts. As I've written about in these entries in the past, each one believes they have hit on a "hole" in the marketplace with their idea and it's bound for the bestseller list. I admire their enthusiasm then often I look at bit closer at what they are actually doing to make that idea a bestseller. It's one of the places that the process has broken down for them. They have created something--a manuscript, a book proposal, a novel. In the next breath they tell me they have no visibility in the marketplace. It's normally where the conversation breaks down in my view because the writer begins to tell me they have no interest in marketing or they have no money or they have been focused on writing their book or _________ (you fill in the blank).
If there was a one, two, three point formula, then the publishers would have figured it out a long time ago since they have to create a financially viable business to keep their doors open. It is not an exact science and each person has to find their own way toward success (however they define success).
Some writers are stuck in research mode. You know if you are one of these folks. You've read every book, purchased almost every product and attended almost every writers conference. Your commitment to learning and acquiring information is admirable and applauded but you have not put your shoulder to the wheel and written or submitted your work or marketed your work. These writers plan on launching a website but have only gotten as far as purchasing the domain. These writers are thinking about a newsletter but haven't launched one. The key is to get moving into the marketplace and find your own way.
In the last few days, I completed reading Stephanie Chandler's excellent book, From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur, Make Money with Books, eBooks, and Information Products. She points to some different resources than I've used in the past and has solid information. I liked her focus as she says in the preface, "My goal is always to exceed my customer expectations and this strategy has served me well in every business endeavor." I identified with this goal because it's also been my intention as I've created products or magazine articles or my teaching at writers' conferences (like this coming week at the Florida Writers Association). It was good to read Chandler's line, "There is an eager market of buyers out there. My goal is to show you how to develop and market your own products. One of the greatest advantages of selling information products is that they can essentially become passive income--money you make while you sleep. Once the work is done and you’ve created a high-quality product, and you’ve automated the product sales and delivery process, your primary role will be to continue marketing your products. That's where the real fun begins."
Here's several basics that Chandler highlights for the reader saying, "There is no single secret to success, though there are many tips to help you along the way…
Everyone is an expert at something: Whatever your expertise, whether it's fly fishing, yoga, parenting, knitting, sales or customer service, you have something to teach others who know less than you do.
The Internet is a powerful venue for reaching customers: Learn to maximize your reach in order to run an efficient and profitable business.
Marketing is an investment in your business: Rare is the business that succeeds without marketing. Try a variety of strategies and repeat the ones that work best.
Don't be afraid to ask questions: Nobody has all the answers and most people are willing to help. Just ask!
Invest in other people’s information products: Not only will you have the chance to learn something new, but you can evaluate the content and begin to understand the formula for success. It's also good karma to support people whose work you admire.
Persevere: My favorite word in the English language. There will be days when you feel as if you are spinning your wheels for nothing. But eventually, with enough effort, something magical happens. It all starts to come together.
Never stop learning: I don't care what industry you are in. Things change. Rules change. People change. Stay on top of your area of expertise. Learn about new technology. Remember how much fun it can be to learn something new and how rewarding it is to succeed." (page xi to xii) I recommend From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur. Read it and you will be sure to learn something.
I love what Armand Morin says repeatedly about success: "Success leaves traces." If you want to succeed in publishing, then you need to continually work at finding your own way.