Writing a book is a wonderful achievement. Getting it discovered is wonderful, too. It’s probably a bigger challenge. The problem is that the finish line for these efforts is very different.

In the first, the writing, you complete the book. No more work is possible. The success lies in the eye of the buyer. This is a matter of taste and it’s very subjective.

In the second, the success lies in the sales numbers the author can plug into a spreadsheet—as well as the deposits and expenses related to generating the discovery. This work goes on forever, and it is never complete.

For example, look at “I wrote this great book. Some people agree” versus “I’m selling my book. Some people are discovering it.”

Being published: an author’s second act

The difference in the above is “I wrote” versus “I’m selling.” The joy of having created, versus ongoing work. This is your book being in the world at large. Much more than being available to sale on Amazon.

Creating and its joy might not be the only reason you’re writing a book. You want others to discover it, buy it, recommend it, connect with you. To be published, you need both parts. You can do it well if you have help from pros.

If you like commerce and relationships, you’re suited for the second goal. If you don’t find those fulfilling, you’re suited for the first.

But if you have something to say that only you can say — a unique voice, even more than a unique story — you’ll be motivated to learn the second part so you can make the first part more rewarding. You will read advice that says you’re not ready to push a book in the most effective way if you’ve only got one.

Books take a while to write, though. Publishing’s marketing can never start too soon. One wise answer to “What can one-book authors do?” comes from The Book Designer website. Buried in the comments are these three commandments

  • Come up with a good book title
  • Have the best cover you can get
  • Write a good blurb

The article goes on to say

You come up with great titles by studying your genre and/or similar books to your own.

There are plenty of affordable book cover designers. There’s no excuse for not paying for a good cover when you’re not a professional designer yourself.

There are plenty of writer forums on which you can ask for help with a blurb. If you can’t afford to pay someone to write one, ask for help.

Finally, spend the time getting to know your audience, the influencers in that area of interest, and the places online where they discuss their common interest.

It’s fine to not want to learn marketing. Instead, take the time to build relationships with the people you want to read your book. Also, make sure you’re creating a book they would want to tell people about.

That very last part is what triggers sales and builds readers. We make great books because people read great books—and then spread the word to other readers.

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