Beginners Safely Navigating the Minefields
Believe it or not, we self-publishing indie authors run into a lot of minefields in the beginning. Hey, we’re still viewing our authoring business as a creative outlet or even a hobby.
Now, I know I dragged my feet on this too. But, the truth is that the sooner we begin treating what we do as a business and not a hobby, the better off we’ll be. And one way to shift our mindsets is to no longer just see ourselves as self-published authors. But instead, believe deep down inside that we are now authorpreneurs.
As much as we may not like it, people still judge a book by its cover. So, obviously, we can’t just have any old cover on our books if we want them to sell well. Nor can we just wear any old façade ourselves if we’re going to be seen as a real professional in this business. Notice I said business and not a hobby or creative outlet.
Hey, I know I talk a lot about using sweat equity instead of paying others to do everything for us. But, here’s the deal. Sometimes we should bring in an expert to help us speed up our learning curve. An expert can help us get beyond our blind spots and navigate those minefields. Experts will help us look and be more professional.
However, if you’ve been following my writings, you know I believe in learning all you can. You do this so you can have better conversations with the experts when you do call upon one. I also promote learning everything you can from the experts, so you don’t have to keep relying on them. It’s always better to learn and to depend on oneself, wouldn’t you agree?
Your book is your business. And it helps a lot if you know early in the game how you want to position your book. Do you want to use your book to get speeches? Would you rather do coaching or consulting? Or are you trying to sell some big-ticket items from your book?
If you know early what the end game is for your book, you can avoid some minefields and sprinkle them in your book. You can begin going after your niche market for follow-up services right away instead of wandering through the forest, trying to avoid the minefields, and stumbling upon your destiny later in the game. Hopefully, not too late…
Writing a book and then being unable to sell it is a huge minefield. Doing all that work for nothing stinks. And it really hurts too. Don’t fall into the trap of going too narrow with your books. Consider other outlets for your books early in the game. Don’t put your book out in print only. Also, put your books out in eBooks, audiobooks, and even perhaps follow-up workbooks.
Think about special sales and nontraditional markets as well. Getting our books into the bookstores is hard, and that’s a whole other minefield in itself. But, maybe we can get around this by selling our book on a table at a sports tournament if our books are about sports. Perhaps we can get our books to be sold at a pet store if our book is about animals. Or maybe a bakery if our book is about baked items or recipes.
Not being able to get into book stores and not being able to sell any books is a vast minefield that could blow up everything we’ve been trying to do. But, if we’re smart and wise, we know that there are always other routes we can travel to avoid those minefields of being squeezed out and ignored.
Quitting too early is another minefield that many of us beginners stumble into. Think of your authorpreneurship business as your nontraditional college education. Most of us spend a year or two writing a book. We spend a little bit of money doing it. And after trying to figure out how to market it for a bit in the real world, we quit because things aren’t working out so well. Could you imagine if you partook in those same kind of behaviors with your college education? You wouldn’t get too far, would you? You certainly wouldn’t graduate. Don’t fall into the minefield of quitting too early. Instead, give it the old college try.
Other pitfalls include writing too wide and waiting for our audiences to come to us. If we’re going to build momentum in this business with a limited amount of time and money we have, we can’t write for everyone. Instead, we need to stay in our niche for a while until we have built a following and momentum there. They we can begin to slowly increase our circles of influence by bumping into the next sphere of people one at a time. Also, we have to start early in pounding social media to build our audiences in the beginning Then we take these people along for the journey instead of trying to find them all at the end of the rainbow. By the way, have you ever truly found the end of a rainbow? I haven’t…
Finally, there are a lot of sharks out there in the business world. And since we authorpreneurs are business people and not hobbyists, we’re going to occasionally find ourselves swimming with the sharks. Be careful. Do your homework and thoroughly check someone out before you do any business with them. Many people are just looking out for their own interests and don’t care who they hurt along the way. So, find mentors that can help you know who and what to trust in this business.
Now, go do this business!
*Check out the free video lesson on this chapter!