I must write year-round… but for my personal writing … as in a new book, the seasons matter. As in sunshine. As in sunshine—meaning spring, summer, and fall are my chosen seasons. I’m a confessed seasonal writing for when it comes to settle into the next book—whatever bubbles up for the next book. If it’s wintertime … hello cruise!
Any time I talk to agents, editors, or other authors about the future of publishing, where it’s headed, and what’s going to happen, I usually get something like, “No one really knows at this point.”
We’ve seen incredible changes over the past decade: the explosion of digital formats and audiobooks; the rise of successful mid-list self-published and indie-published authors; the ever-shrinking shelf-space of brick-and-mortar stores; the increase of sponsored and premium books; the expansion of what the internet can do with book marketing and the ever-changing platforms to do it on.
Who would have thought that Facebook would dwindle in marketing position … and the video promos via Instagram and TikTok would become the players for authors in the year 2023?
Not me … yet here we are. Meaning, get on the merry-go-round … change is the constant, and authors can’t risk being the dinosaur. The changes often leave us feeling a bit excited and unsettled as we try to understand how we fit into the publishing picture. Authors now know that things won’t ever be the same again.
Is author success seasonal? It’s a maybe … maybe not. You may not be able to predict what’s going to happen in the upcoming year. But as I sat down to think about what would help me survive the upheaval and even succeed through it, below are five traits I will continue to cultivate to support my author, publishing, and book marketing success.
1. Keep an open mind.
There’s no one “right” way toward publication anymore (if there ever was). Those who turn up their noses at self-publication or who scoff at traditional methods are likely to miss out on opportunities.
Wise authors are looking carefully at both options and considering how they can best build their readerships.
And publishers need to keep an open mind too. Authors who make more readers—be they great reader or revealing insights and solutions—sells more books.
Be ready to receive ahas and surprises … some outrageous and downright fun!
2. Maintain a long-term vision.
Wherever you are in the writing/authoring process, the climb upward for most writers is slow and gradual. Very few writers have instant fame and fortune. VERY FEW. You can’t put one or two books out there and hinge your hopes on them. Instead, most authors have to publish multiple books before they develop a loyal fan base of readers, and the sales figures show that. Odds are, you are no different.
3. Grow in internet marketing savvy.
Most I talk to insist that while venues are changing, readers are still buying books. Fewer readers are browsing brick-and-mortar stores which have led to a decline in impulse buying. That doesn’t mean you should stop going … go to bookstores, please!
Such changes within the industry have increased the need for publishers and authors to find ways to help draw attention to their books online. Those who want to succeed will need to study what’s working, find new inroads, and continually grow a web presence.
Readers and buyers are heading to online bookstores and are usually more directed—knowing what they want even before they click on the shopping page. It’s the key word; key problem trying to be solved; key author; sometimes, a title.
4. Write powerfully but pragmatically.
I wish all it took to find publishing success was a powerful, well-written story. However, we could all probably name at least a dozen incredible books published in the past year that only had mediocre sales and tepid success. The writing and story alone are not enough to rocket a book to fame.
So while I firmly believe authors need to write passionately and powerfully, authors can’t ignore the market and what readers like and want. As an author, you must begin to understand what sells and what doesn’t and then why.
I’ve learned from personal experience that traditional publishers must keep reader needs paramount. But the reader relationship is key in any type of publishing. WHO is your reader … and what do they want.
5. Work incredibly hard.
There are no shortcuts to success. Anyone who’s reached a level of success either through traditional or self-publication has put in the time and the effort.
As the numbers of writers and published authors continues to grow, the factor that will separate the wannabes from the want-nots is WORK—and lots of it. Talent, friendliness, and savvy won’t take a writer the distance. Sure, those qualities can help. But without plain old elbow grease, a writer won’t make it very far.
Choose your season … maybe all four of them … and why not!
Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 43 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, Snappy Sassy Salty: Success for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a Million Dollar Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon and her historical fiction debut Secret Journey. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences.
Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE.
Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.
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