The life does include flip flops and lots of coffee, lots of freedom and lots of excitement and pride when you see–when you hold–that book in your hands. And it’s sexy to talk about, of course. I’ve enjoyed certain “titles” along the way (“real estate investor,” “broker,” and so on) and “writer” is right up there. But all bullshit aside, there are lots of challenges, money being the first. If not for the support network around me and a kind of unusually patient wife, I simply would not have made it this far–and I have a long way to go.
Most writers sell something like 20 books nowadays (just grabbed that from the air, but it’s close!), because so much goes into creating a book, many are shocked to find they’ve simply created one more drop in the ocean. Inertia. But inertia can start working in your favor, if you just set your book up for “health” (quality writing, professional design, lots of reviews, and a LONG-TERM commitment and plan). But many fall down at that point. In fairness, lots of people achieve their goal just by having a book. It can be a kind of miracle in terms of professional credibility and as a newfound tool and an ability to reach and engage with people–even without many sales. In fact, I had a pretty savvy professional I had to convince to list his book on Amazon, because he didn’t want the headache of accounting for just a few books sold! And just a few sales was his plan!
But where most writers fall down is after their first book. It seems they had the wrong expectations, and that they lack half the formula for success as an author, which is “list x list,” meaning your list of books published (or “backlist” in the biz) and your list of emails you can promote to. Social media following is helpful as well, but not nearly as good as a list of people who have consciously decided they dig what you’re doing and want to hear from you, and are likely, therefore, to buy and recommend your book. It’s Marketing 101, 2017.
Yet so many dinosaurs and shysters still don’t get it. There are “marketers” who are stuck in the 1980s and think simply (and falsely) acting enthusiastic will compel a simple mind their way, and get them to part with their time or money. Or simple repetition of exposure will do the same. Anachronisms! When the internet destroyed a percentage of real estate salespersons’ practices it was either an inability to adapt or a former reliance on a sort of synthetic exclusivity that was abolished once anyone could find out what was for sale. And when the bubble in Florida burst, hairdressers and lawyers alike who had left their original callings for the easy money in real estate sales went back to their natural habitats, and it was a good thing. Likewise, the agents who remained had to embrace, often for the first time, the fundamentals.
Accumulating the identities of people who are interested in what you do, make, or sell, and satisfying them with things of relevant value are the basics of exchange. Always have been! Technology facilitates that, and exposes the pretenses in the market. It takes money, time, and if you want to move ahead more quickly, both.
So every good writer with a book also needs to “grow their base” while, of course, working on the next book.
This is why my current website is devoted almost solely to finding and connecting with potential fans and friends. I can say that loudly because I have no interest in a simple quantity-based business model. And life is too short. There are plenty of people in this big, fat world who are fans and friends and just don’t know it yet.
Why not find them?