Sunday, February 21, 2021

Don't Play the Blame Game

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

When things go wrong (and they often do in the publishing world), it is easy to blame someone else. 

As an editor, I hear writers who are disappointed with their book sales. They blame the publisher for not doing enough marketing and pushing on their book. Yet when we look to see if we've heard anything from this author in the last few months, often we find nothing but silence. We can't be promoting the author if we don't hear about their marketing activity. Are they marketing (hopefully so) but then they also have the responsibility of telling their publisher about their marketing efforts. In my detailed calls with authors, one statement that I always make sure and include is: “80% of the marketing is up to the author.” 

This statement is true no matter who publishes your book—whether they pay you a large advance or a small advance. 80% of the marketing is up to the author and the author's activity. Your publisher may be able to sell the book into a brick and mortar bookstore but it is the author's activity (marketing) which drives people into that bookstore to buy the book.
When you point your finger, think about the way your different fingers are pointing. One is extended but the other four are directed back to you. A pointed finger is a good illustration of what authors need to think about when it comes to blaming others for something not happening. My key message in this post is rather than blame others, take your own actions and responsibility.
If you aren't getting enough sales, what are you doing to tell people about your book? Are you booking yourself on podcasts? Are you collecting the recording and continuing to use the recording to market your book? There are many different ways to market your book? You can be on talk radio. You can write print magazine articles on a related subject to your book. You can write blog posts on your blog. You can write blog posts on other people's blogs as a guest blogger. You can advertise on Facebook or some other platform. You can market your book to your email list.  You can write a newsletter and send it to your list. You can market your book on social media (various platforms and methods). You can market your book in person to others and also when you speak. The list of possibilities and opportunities are endless and only limited by your own imagination and energy.
Have you hired a publicist to promote your book? You still have to market and can't give the entire responsibility to the publicity firm. Many of these places charge $3,000 to $5,000 a month. One of my authors told me that last year she spent $50,000 with a firm and wasn't going to do that again. When I heard that information, I thought to myself, “Wow, that is a huge investment and would have to sell many books to get a return on that investment.” It was not a wise move in my view. During my conversation, I affirmed that she needed to do something different in the future.
Bestselling author Jack Canfield has studied what it takes to be successful and wrote his book, The Success Principles. The first principle is I will take 100% responsibility for my own success. I suspect no one wants to take 100% responsibility for their own success (I don't) but it is the best course of action for every author. If you take this responsibility, then you don't play the blame game and point the finger at others. Instead, get busy and take action yourself to make things happen. 
Have you played the blame game in your conversations, writing or thoughts? What steps are you going to take to move in a different direction? Let me know in the comments below.

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