One of the most daunting challenges facing any new author today is coming to terms with what is involved in getting their book into the hands of readers. This is because, despite all that has been said about the challenges associated with writing books and self-publishing, there remains a vast gray area about the role of marketing, how to market, who to market to, and how much time to spend marketing. As if these issues aren’t complex enough, the rules of the game keep changing! The reality is that writing a book is only the first step, and often turns out to be the easiest part of the process.
While there is no question that being an “entrepreneur” is not for everyone, developing an entrepreneurial mindset can be invaluable when it comes to the business of being an author.
To better understand what this means, consider the following 8 traits of an entrepreneurial author.
Able to Bridge the Gap between Art and Business
The entrepreneurial author understands that, regardless of how their book is published, if they want to achieve the success they must embrace the opportunity to control their own destiny as the driving force behind promoting their brand identity and marketing their book(s).
Clear About What They Want to Achieve as an Author
The entrepreneurial author is clear about their intention and willing to think long-term. Whether it’s to build a career around their writing or to share with the world a single important story; they know that all strategies, from branding to targeting an audience, to crafting a plan to market and sell their book(s), must support this intention.
Recognizes the Importance of a Marketing Plan
The entrepreneurial author uses their marketing plan as a step-by-step guide to remain focused on key objectives. They understand the plan does not have to be elaborate, nor does it have to be set in stone, but it does need to be well thought out and intentional when it comes to critical elements, such as identifying a target audience. After all, it won’t matter what you say, if you aren’t saying it to the right people.
Actively Manage their Brand
Contrary to popular belief, branding is not about business cards or logos. Your brand is how people perceive you. Entrepreneurial authors choose the stories they communicate about themselves as an author – and this includes everything from impressions of their book(s), to what they say in social networks and the images they post online, to how they respond to email.
Please understand, whether or not you buy into the need for managing your brand identity, people form opinions based on what they see and read, so… for better or worse, you already have a brand.
Strategic about Platform Building
Many authors quickly start back-peddling when the topic of building a platform comes up because they can’t imagine how to add even one more task to an already overloaded schedule. Others, determined to build a platform based on amassing large numbers of followers, set about busily sending out one tweet or post after another.
The true entrepreneurial author understands the importance of having a ready audience before they publish, and that building a meaningful platform is how to make that happen, but it’s also about learning how to best communicate the value of their book(s) and developing trusting relationships with those who care about what they have to say. These followers become a community of influencers, willing to share their trust in the author’s ability with people in their sphere of influence, creating a powerful marketing machine that functions 24/7.
Entrepreneurial authors learn to multiply their efforts by creating marketing partnerships to benefit from the strength and resources that each participant brings to the relationship. Marketing partnerships for authors include such things as joint venture partnerships, incentives, author interviews, advertising, book reviews, and book tours. The key to leveraging these activities into partnerships is developing relationships that are mutually beneficial and ongoing.
Much as I hate to resort to a cliché, to keep growing as an author requires that you regularly challenge the boundaries of your comfort zone. The entrepreneurial author makes time to read because they understand this helps them grow as an author, and is continually working to improve writing and business skills.
Last, but certainly not least, the entrepreneurial author understands that all the planning in the world is worthless without action. They are adaptable and willing to try new things, including the occasional calculated risk, and they take time to celebrate even small victories.
No question, there is a lot of hard work and sacrifice required to achieve success as a published author, which is exactly why so many writers become overwhelmed and give up before they ever really get started. But here’s the key to achieving more than you ever dreamed possible. When you become clear about what you desire to achieve as an author, and focus your energies on the things that you can control, your odds of succeeding will drastically improve.