Monday, July 22, 2019

Perseverance Pays Off


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Whether they know it or not, many book authors are doing aimless marketing. These authors have no plans or goals and are almost certain to fail.

Yes, I understand I’ve made a sweeping statement which is a bit harsh. Yet from my years of experience watching authors and working with them, I know it’s true. I encourage you to keep reading because I’m going to provide a series of steps so you can change from aimless marketing to a targeted effort for your books. If you take action, then you will move forward with your dreams of reaching others with your books.

The old saying goes “If you aim at nothing you will be sure to hit it.” The first question you need to answer is who is your target reader? Please don’t say “everyone” because no book is for everyone. While some books achieve a broad spectrum of readers, every book has a specific target audience. Write to a specific group of people and you will have your target clearly in front of you. Next write down a secondary group of people who would be your target.

Create what Mark Victor Hansen calls a “Big Hairy Goal.” What is your overall plan to reach your target audience? Set aside anything that your publisher or anyone else is going to do for your book and focus on yourself and your efforts. Do you plan to sell 5,000 books over the next 12 months? Write down your specific goal on the back of a business card, and then stick that card in your wallet or someplace where you will visually see it often. It can serve as consistent reminder of your goal. 

For your next step, break down your large goal into incremental steps. How are you going to take the tiny steps to achieve those book sales? Maybe it means taking an hour a week to focus on having a more active role in an online forum (where you include mention of your book). Or maybe it means you will create a postcard about your book then send it to 1,000 names and addresses. Each goal should be definable and specific. The successful Internet marketer, Dan Kennedy, wrote about the most important component of success in business boils down to “one thing.” Implementation was the “one thing” which means to take action and complete the most important activities in your business. I encourage you to take small steps yet also make consistent action to complete those goals.

If you are going to take consistent action, you need perseverance. Consider the perseverance in the story of Andy Andrews, author of The Traveler’s Gift. A popular speaker, Andy wrote a manuscript which he tried to get published. It was rejected 54 times. How many of us can handle this level of rejection? He continued in his popular speaking work but did not have a book for his audience. One day Gail Hyatt was in Andy Andrews’ audience. She came up to him afterwards and suggested that he write a book.

Looking a bit sheepish, Andy told Gail, “Your husband’s company (Thomas Nelson) has already rejected my manuscript.” Gail asked for a copy of his manuscript and promised to read it. Andy sent her the manuscript. She showed it to her husband (Michael Hyatt,  at the time he was the president of Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher) and the book was published.


Notice the perseverance in what happened next. When Andy got his new book, he gave away 12,000 copies of the book. Most of those review copies didn’t make much of a difference. But one of those copies got in the hands of Robin Roberts, who at the time was a producer of ABC’s Good Morning America. Roberts selected The Traveler’s Gift as their Book of the Month. The Traveler’s Gift sold 850,000 copies and the rest is history.

From my study of publishing, there is no formula to make a bestseller or achieve success with your book. Each author has a different definition of success. For some it is simply creating their book and getting it into the market. For other authors, they want to get on a particular bestseller list. A range of answers lies between these two extremes. What is your goal and how are you going to reach it? Consistent action is the key. Michael Hyatt wrote about The Power of Incremental Change Over Time. I encourage you to take action and turn aimless marketing into consistent marketing. Productive authors have a commitment to marketing their books on a personal and consistent basis.

Have you seen perseverance pay off? Let me know in the comments below.

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers

1 comment:

  1. Terry, this is such a helpful article and the examples are motivating. I always remember how Chicken Soup for the Soul finally got a publishing contract after 144 rejections (pretty sure that's the number, definitely well over 100). It was through positive thinking and perseverance. The book market is so overwhelmed, it's important authors know how to help sell their own books. Thanks for sharing.

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