I’m pretty much a sucker for a good disaster movie. Escaping flaming buildings, getting out of a sinking ship, tunnelling to freedom from a cave in, returning to Earth after a space dock mishap. All very dramatic I know. I recall one movie I watched was about a giant meteorite that was about to crash into our lovely planet. Another epic collision I see most every day is the struggle indie authors have reconciling their art and their business.
Art vs Business
The reality that we need to make money from our writing can be a messy conflict of interest, and derails too many self publishers from really stepping into the future they envisage.
Write? Yes. Market? No way!
Too many have an unspoken aversion to selling their work, thinking it somehow devalues the purity of their craft.
For others, they have been led to believe that it just plain is difficult to sell. Writing is a breeze compared to what comes afterwards so they just put their words out there, close their eyes, and hope for the best.
I have rarely, if ever, seen that kind of head-in-the-sand strategy work.
As an indie author, it is essential that you accept the dual role of creator and marketer.
Without being able to comfortably wear both hats your creations will never reach the audience that were intended to connect with.
The Number One Essential To Marketing Your Book
I have three P’s that sum up my best advice, plus a fourth that will be result of grasping and applying the other three. One of these ‘P’s is primary though. Without having it in it’s proper place the others just won’t work.
The three P’s are Produce (or Publish), Promote and People.
But for most would-be indie tycoons there is problem. It is easily remedied, but one that so many fall into and come away feeling disillusioned.
Here is a typical workflow…
Publish > Promote > People
Do you see a problem with the flow of things here?
I hope so, because this is the number one mistake that publishers and product creators make all the time.
They begin with the product. That, my friend, is your first mistake.
So many authors, with dreams of publishing riches, begin by writing their book. Then, and only then do they go in search of the reader. They promote vainly hoping to reach people who will read their awesome book.
The flow of things begins with the book, then promotion and finally people.
But your book is not the most important or essential factor in the selling equation. In many respects it is secondary.
The #1 Component of Your Selling Equation
The most important ‘P’ is first in line and in some ways the ONLY important thing when you are looking at the business side of your indie author business – People. Get thing wrong and nothing else will work for you.
The first marketing essential is People – the audience. Your reader.
That is where you should begin, before one word is penned.
Make it your mission to find out if there is an audience of readers for the book you propose to write as a first priority.
Take TIME to research the Amazon bookshelves for similar books. Consider the books that are ALREADY selling – originality is overrated in a genre market. The real key comes down to discovering pockets of readers who love certain stories, and then give them that story again and again. Same story, different clothing.
Lovers of genre-fiction like familiar faces in all of their books. Similar storylines, and common conflicts.
And for non-fiction – we read the same life-transforming tips again and again from a hundred different perspectives. Diet books still sell even though they have been read and written 10,000 times from different perspectives. Spiritual devotionals abound, and each year the shelves fill with new takes on old truths.
Only after determining the target do you then sharpen your pen and pull back the bow.
Knowing that an existing readership is ready and waiting for the kind of book you are writing makes a huge difference. No longer are you playing a game of chance.
It also means that your promotions will not be scattershot – they can target the very people you scouted out in your first phase.
The 4 P Equation
People > Produce/Publish > Promote
And the fourth ‘P’?