By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
From time to time, I’ve had author envy. I look at someone’s twitter following with thousands of people or the thousands of subscribers to their blog or newsletter and I wish it could happen to me. Or I read about a bestselling book and wonder why my books haven’t achieved such a level of success. Envy sprouts into my mind and heart and I begin to grow jealous of another author’s success. Then I pull myself up short. I’ve interviewed more than 150 bestselling authors. Repeatedly I’ve learned there are few overnight success stories. Most authors who spring to the top of the bestseller list have been in the trenches for years growing their presence in the marketplace.
Every author has to take action and begin building their presence in the market. I do not believe there is a magic formula, but there are tried and true methods when used consistently will help you. Recently I was listening to the audio version of Jack Canfield’s bestselling book, The Success Principles, How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. The book is full of insight. Success Principle #13 is Take Action. He writes, “Most people are familiar with the phrase, ‘Ready, aim, fire!’ The problem is that too many people spend their whole life aiming and never firing. They are always getting ready, getting it perfect. The quickest way to hit a target is to fire, see where the bullet landed, and then adjust your aim accordingly. If the hit was 2 inches above the target, lower your aim a little. Fire again. See where it is now. Keep firing and readjusting. Soon you are hitting the bull’s-eye.” (Page 103)
Recently I was meeting with an unpublished author who had written about a 400-page Christian fantasy. He gave me a copy of his novel to read and recognized that he is an unknown writer. Like many people they wonder what steps to take to enter the publishing business and change from being unknown to being known. These steps are not a quick fix and will take on-going time and effort. The good news is with the Internet and regular effort it can be done with a minimal financial investment. Here are ten simple steps.
1. Pick a good domain name—a dot com. How do you want to be known? Pick that for your domain name. What is your area of expertise? If you write Christian fantasy, select something you can brand and promote.
2. Get a Hostgator account. Most writers can get along for with a small monthly fee. This system is powerful and inexpensive.
3. On your Hostgator account, start a Word Press blog (not a free one but one you set up). The tools are free and because you are hosting it, you don’t have the restrictions of the free Word Press account. Then post several times a week on your topic that you want to brand.
4. Start a Twitter account with your brand name and post only on that topic—link to articles about it and other things to draw readers.
5. Also post to your Facebook about this topic—automatically repeat your tweets.
6. Join forums on this topic. At first, watch, and then participate with solid content about the topic at hand—and emphasizing your topic. You will become known as a thoughtful expert.
7. Eventually begin a newsletter with your blog posts—repurpose them into a newsletter and encourage people to subscribe to it.
8. Repurpose your blog posts to Internet articles and post to the free articles sites (there are many of them). As you repurpose your material in this way, you will become known as an expert in your particular area of the market..
9. Get a free copy of my 43-page Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. Read this book and take action.
10. Take action over and over—consistently and regularly to build your brand. It will pay off and you will build your presence and become known.
As you work this simple plan, you will be surprised with the results just like the bestselling author who took 20 years to become an overnight success. A seemingly innocent event set off the unplanned chain of events propelled the author to recognition. You are the best person to promote yourself but you have to take action. Work your simple plan and it can happen. I’ve seen it over and over.
How are you working your simple plan? Let me know in the comments below.
W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Check out his free Ebook, Straight Talk From the Editor. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Every author needs to work a simple plan. Get the straight story from a prolific writer and editor. (ClickToTweet)