Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Writers Are Just Actors Who Don't Want to Appear on Stage

Someone mentioned this proverbial statement in one of my writing groups today, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is exactly the mentality of about 99% of the writer population, don't you think?

The rude awakening comes after their books are published, and they aren't selling.

Before I became published, thoughts of going on Oprah and Montel were swimming in my head. I wanted it all. I wanted the house in Bel Aire and books flying off the shelves so fast, the stores couldn't keep them in stock. I had no idea what it was really going to be like.

Promotion was the key word, and while I knew it was my responsibility as well as the publisher's to sell the darn book, nothing prepared me for what it would take to actually sell them the way I wanted them sold.

If I wanted to become a bestseller and appear on the talk show circuit, I was going to have to come out of my safe little cocoon and do what needed to be done to help sell books.

But, I learned it wasn't my books that needed selling. It was me. If I wanted that house in Bel Aire, I had to become a household name.

So, I started branding myself. When one of my books, Romancing the Soul (Zumaya 2004) became published, I knew in order for the book to take off, I would have to have some kind of platform in which to show the talk show circuit that I was an expert in the field. This led to writing and syndicating relationship columns, as well as personal coaching those who were looking for answers about the soul mate experience.

I went on radio talk shows and while it still was nerve-wracking, I knew I had to do this for my book to sell. A few years after Romancing the Soul was published, I learned a good deal about promoting, and I'm learning more every day. I decided, then, to choose another platform, and that was showing people how to promote online effectively. Thus, another book (this time a self-published ebook), A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published eBook, was put together to help authors learn how to pump up their online book promotion. This time, I went on virtual book tours and started a workshop. So, in effect, not only am I branding myself as a relationship expert, but a marketing guru as well. To show you how effective my campaign was, the editor of the celebrity tabloid, OK!, called me on the phone and asked me for my opinion on an article they were putting together. My quote ended up one of the October issues.

Now, if I just relied on my book's merit to sell, would I have gotten that interview? Heck, no.

As writers, all we really want to do is write, but that's not all there is to it. We have to be actors. We have to be performers. We have to brand ourselves, then show the world we are experts in our field. The more we are actively and aggressively doing this, the more that those golden opportunities will show themselves.

And this relates to more book sales.

Your story may be different. You may have taken your book and gotten on the bestseller list and already live in that house in Bel Aire. For me, it's a little tougher, but it's just something that I already know I have to do.

Sometimes, it's not fun, but I have found that the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Incidentally, I'll be appearing on Fran Silverman's Marketing with Fran Radio Show on Tuesday. I will be discussing how to pump up your own book promotion campaign and perhaps give you ideas on how you can start yours.

Wish me luck and I hope you can listen in!

3 comments:

  1. Radio... hmmm... probably my next step. Guess I should tune into this show first. Wishing you the best!!

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  2. That was me that said break a leg. I don't know why it came out as anonymous.

    I'm starting to understand exactlhhzlny what you are saying. I've gotten myself into a position where I may get paid for what I write (and I'm no writer anyway), but I have to do my own promotion. The advantage is that I was a promoter before I was ever a writer.

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