The world is filled with authors who have yet to write the first word of their bestselling book, let alone get their book published.
Then there are those who do write their book and either self-publish or pay a hybrid publisher to get their book to market, but do nothing to market their book. This is where their story ends.
The “stars in their eyes” author waits and waits and waits for their book to hit bestseller status on any number of charts. And they wait some more.
A very common scenario.
An uncommon scenario is an author writing the book, publishing it and putting daily effort into marketing their book. Even if you sign with an agent or traditional publisher, you have to market. But first…
Is an Agent for You?
Some authors focus their attention on finding an agent. For years, I resisted this route. I was content in marketing my own books, keeping most of the profits and using my book as an entry point for speaking engagements and consulting gigs. I’ve done well with this model, but in some ways I feel I’ve created my own glass ceiling.
Admittedly, there’s a part of me that finds the whole process of securing an agent a daunting task. There’s a lot to it.
Here’s a quick overview of a few of the tasks at hand.
- Research the type of agent that’s a good fit for your manuscript
- Write a query letter
- Write a synopsis
- Develop a marketing plan
Recently, I’ve seriously entertained the thought of seeking an agent. From my research, I realize I have a lot going for me that agents find appealing.
The number one area an agent is interested in, besides a book that sells, is your platform.
What is a Platform?
Your platform is the ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach. Your platform includes your website, blog, guest blogging you have done and will do, podcast and radio interviews, television, speaking at conferences and social media reach.
According to Courtney Carpenter in her article, The Basics of Building a Writer’s Platform, your platform is how visible you are. The definition of platform, broken down, is your personal ability to sell books through:
- Who you are
- The personal and professional connections you have
- Any media outlets (including blogs and social networks) that you can utilize to sell books
A mistake many authors make is thinking they should wait until their book is done before building their platform. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Begin now. Regardless of where you’re at with your book, you need to put effort every single day into your platform. Understanding marketing and promotions is key to your platform.
If you’re looking to increase your visibility, develop a rock-solid platform and understand how to market your book, there is an incredible amount of great information available in the Book Accelerator program.
As I begin the process of creating a proposal, I’m excited. Why? Because I have the foundation of an outstanding platform.
Any proposal will need to include a marketing plan, what visibility you currently have and what you can generate, have you done interviews, will you book interviews, what social media presence do you have and what are you willing to do to generate sales?
Here’s a bit of some of what I would focus on in a proposal to an agent.
I’m constantly enhancing my knowledge by studying, reading, attending conferences, participating in mastermind groups specific to marketing and testing strategies.
In addition to well over three decades of marketing knowledge and experience, I never accept my current level of knowledge as the end all, be all. To think we know it all is the mistake of fools.
This would appeal to some agents.
Not a day goes by that I don’t do something to increase my visibility in front of my ideal readers. This is an ongoing process and requires daily action. It also requires testing, analyzing and adjusting as needed.
Beyond posting memes and quotes for your family and friends on Facebook, what are you doing to gain visibility? Are you clear on what social network is the best fit to reach potential readers and build a community of raving fans?
If not, put time into understanding the various networks based on the genre of your book, the type of people you want to reach and who would be interested in what you have to say.
Over the years, I’ve been interviewed hundreds of times on podcast and radio shows. Many of the hosts have invited me back more than once. This is something agents and publishers look for in an author.
Don’t overlook the power of podcast and radio interviews to rapidly grow your platform. Rather than taking a “throw a bunch of mud on the wall” approach, be very clear on which shows are a great fit for your message.
By far, being able to engage an audience with speaking, is one of the most enviable skills an author has. Having spoken to thousands upon thousands of men and women over the years via breakout sessions, panels and keynote presentations, I can assure you this; when you put effort into your speaking skills, you can pretty much write your own ticket to success.
If you fear speaking, hire a coach, join a Toastmasters group and do what you can to find opportunities to share your message through speaking. The more you speak, the better you get.
Make Your Marketing Plan Rock Solid
Begin now to build your platform. You never know when all your efforts will pay off and you get the call from a producer of a talk show, a huge radio show or even an agent indicating they want to represent you.
As Jane Friedman mentioned in her article, “Many people write their marketing plan in extremely tentative fashion, talking about things they are “willing” to do if asked. This is deadly language. Avoid it. Instead, you need to be confident, firm, and direct about everything that’s going to happen with or without the publisher’s help. Make it concrete, realistic, and attach numbers to everything.”
Are You One of the Lucky Ones?
It has been said that luck is when opportunity and preparedness meet. Are you prepared for the opportunity that is waiting to show up?
Ready to learn some proven book marketing strategies? Check out Book Accelerator Membership program.