Over time, I have noticed that there are some common traits that are shared amongst the most successful of the authors I personally work with, i.e. the authors who sell the most books. They are:
1. I am contacted by them often. Not every day, but I do hear from them at least once a month or every other month at the most. They contact me to request assistance in sending out press releases or scheduling book signing events, or just to let me know what they are working on in terms of promotion.
2. They schedule more book signing events than I do. I still help them schedule events any time they ask, but more often than not, they have been busy scheduling events, speaking engagements, public appearances, etc. on their end and they send me the events to post on our web site's events calendar. They don't depend upon me to schedule every event they do, and we do cover a lot more ground that way.
3. They rarely ask me about events at bookstores. Bookstores are struggling right now, and they aren't doing as many book signing events as they once did. The most successful authors know this, and they are typically doing events at venues which reach their niche market. More often than not, that isn't a bookstore. Also, their books usually get stocked in bookstores more often because they have created demand for their title through their niche marketing efforts.
4. They rarely contact me about royalties. The most successful authors I work with are busy with direct resale of their books, or selling books in the back of the room at their speaking engagements, or they have partnered with various organizations to buy their books in bulk. The reason is they make far more money on the sale of each book this way than they do when their book sells through distribution. They do sell books through distribution, but they don't completely depend upon those sales, and their royalty checks are basically just the icing on the cake. They don't call me to ask when their next royalty check is coming out, because they usually do get one every quarter.
5. They are active in social media. The most successful authors I work with are not only active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites, but they are actively expanding their network and adding more contacts to those sites every day. You only have so many friends and family, and eventually you're going to run out of people to tell about your book and book signing events unless you are expanding your circle of influence and adding new fans to your social networking pages. Most important, they network with readers, not just other authors.
6. They don't give up. I have been working with most of my successful authors for 5 or 6 years now. Success didn't come for them right away. For most of them, if they had given up within the first year of their book being released, they would not be on my list of "successful authors" and they would not have sold nearly the number of books that they have so far. Successful authors actively promote their book month after month, year after year.
7. They all started locally. None of the successful authors I work with appeared on a national TV talk show right out of the gate when their book was first released. They did book signings at coffee shops, spoke to local Rotary clubs, appeared on local radio shows, etc. and they took every opportunity they could get. After awhile, media outlets and bookstores started contacting THEM asking if they could appear on their show or do a book signing in their store, because the author had taken the time and effort to build their reputation.
8. They work very hard. I am constantly amazed at the amount of time and energy these authors put into promoting their books. They spend hours on it each week, and while my staff and I do help them when they request it, they most often do the heavy lifting themselves, because they want to manage their brand, image and reputation. They know that making personal contact with their readers makes a difference.
9. They all have day jobs. I work with authors who have sold tens of thousands of books and have made a lot of money on book sales, but none of them have quit their job to write full time. The number of authors in the U.S. today who do nothing but write is actually very small. Most of them have day jobs, and writing is their second job.
10. They know their audience. If they have a secular book, they don't ask me to try to get them a book signing event at a Christian bookstore. They have taken the time to think about who the target audience is for their book, and they spend the bulk of their time working to reach that audience. This is probably the most important factor in their success.
If you already practice these traits, keep plugging away! I am certain you will eventually achieve the success you are seeking for your book. If you currently aren't, adapting some of these traits could help you see increased sales of your book and a growing list of possibilities.
at 8:36 AM