It’s a marathon, not a sprint. This ties in with my Write It Forward concept that authors must have solid goals and a business plan for the long term. Here are ten keys to keep in mind:
- Know your goal. Each of us has a different goal for our writing. Thus each of us is unique. I call this the strategic writing goal in Write It Forward and it should be stated in one sentence, with a concrete, external outcome and a time lock. Much like your protagonist’s in your novel.
- Write. Sounds easy, right? When I was under contract for three books a year, I wrote four. In traditional publishing I always stayed on ‘spec’ manuscript ahead. Thus, if a contract wasn’t renewed, my agent was already out pitching a new book to a new publisher.
- Write. I set my own deadlines as an indie author/publisher. Writers are TERRIBLE at meeting deadlines. Here’s the amazing thing though: if you force yourself to write every day, it’s interesting how the pages add up.
- Focus on the story not the book. I’m going to blog more about this, but I recently saw that the COO of one of the Big 5 said something to the refrain of “it’s all about the book” and my first thought was: Duh. Then my second was, no, it’s not. It’s about story for fiction and content for non-fiction. How that story and content get to the reader can vary from the book, to digital, to audio, to etchings on cave walls. Don’t limit yourself.
- Network. This business is run by people. The BIGGEST mistake I made in traditional publishing was not doing more networking. At Cool Gus we spend a lot of time and money going to events like BEA, RT, ITW, and other events to meet people. To put a face, besides that cool dog face of Gus, on Cool Gus.
- You must market and promote, but you can’t. But you must. But you can’t. But you must. Enough on that.
- When choosing between writing time and marketing and promoting time, lean toward writing time.
- Being a guru feels good but it doesn’t sell books. Because I’ve done it, I can tell you, it can reach 50,000 people and lead to zero sales. Seriously. How many of you are going to read this and go “Gosh, that Bob Mayer guy knows what he’s talking about, I’m going to buy his book! Right. Thought so.
- Admit when you’re wrong. At Cool Gus we constantly re-evaluate our business plan. What worked? What didn’t? We can’t change for the better if we don’t admit what we did turned out wrong. Be prepared to change course when the winds of publishing blow in a different direction or be prepared to sink.
- Keep track of what other people are doing but remember, each of us is unique in terms of Platform, Product and Promotion. Thus what someone else is doing is never going to fit us exactly. Sometimes what someone else is doing could be a disaster for me. Pick your own path wisely. This loops us back to number one.
- Because Spinal Tap says you have to go up to 11. Don’t take it all so seriously and be slow to react. The internet is a very dangerous place. I’ve seen internet lynch mobs go crazy over the slightest thing but a day or two of waiting and watching isn’t going to change anything.
Bottom line: The best marketing is good content. Better marketing is more good content.
Bob Mayer is a West Point Graduate, Former Green Beret, CEO of Cool Gus Publishing and a NY Times Bestselling Author. He has had over 50 books published. He has sold over four million books, and is in demand as a team-building, life-changing, and leadership speaker and consultant for his Who Dares Wins: The Green Beret Way concept, which he translated into Write It Forward: a holistic program teaching writers how to be authors. He is also the Co-Creator of Cool Gus Publishing, which does both eBooks and Print On Demand, so he has experience in both traditional and non-traditional publishing.His books have hit the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and numerous other bestseller lists. His book The Jefferson Allegiance, was released independently and reached #2 overall in sales on Nook.
Bob has presented for over a thousand organizations both in the United States and internationally, including keynote presentations, all day workshops, and multi-day seminars. He has taught organizations ranging from Maui Writers, to Whidbey Island Writers, to San Diego State University, to the University of Georgia, to the Romance Writers of America National Convention, to Boston SWAT, the CIA, Fortune-500, the Royal Danish Navy Frogman Corps, Microsoft, Rotary, IT Teams in Silicon Valley and many others. He has also served as a Visiting Writer for NILA MFA program in Creative Writing. He has done interviews for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, PBS, NPR, the Discovery Channel, the SyFy channel and local cable shows.