Change the Way You Look at Things
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. When I participate in organizations, I often hear, “That’s the way we have always done it, so that’s how we will do it.” I cringe when I hear this statement because it means the organization’s board of directors is not open to trying new ideas or making a change in direction. To get a different result, you have to change the path you take to get there. It could be small changes or big ones, but you have to do something different.
Authors have to think differently when they write. If they write fiction, they should let the writing determine the direction of the work. Often, it will become something you hadn’t considered, but it is more effective than what you had envisioned. When I wrote my first novel, I had no idea what was going to happen. I just kept writing every afternoon while my children watched their cartoons. After I completed it, I realized that the manuscript flowed, was surprising and had a good plot. I had trouble writing the second novel, which originally was my first novel. I would write 10 chapters and then stop. I couldn’t get past that mark for years. After I wrote the first, I was inspired to finish it, but I completely overhauled the novel with new characters and new ideas, and it finally worked. For my third novel, I knew only that it was to combine characters from one and two and be set in a university. I let the writing tell me the direction.
Nonfiction Needs Direction
While I am referring to fiction, the idea to let the writing work for you instead of against you works for nonfiction too. If you are stuck on a key point, chances are great that the whole manuscript needs to be overhauled into a new direction. Take what you have and consider it from a different angle or point of view. Ask yourself, “If I am reading this for the first time, what would I want to know?” You could be surprised by the answer. If you are stuck, have someone else read what you have so far. Listen to his or her opinion on how it should continue or what might be wrong with it. If you keep plugging away at a book that doesn’t work on some level, you will go insane (see previous definition of insanity). You have to try something new to get a different result.
Change Your Marketing
While taking a different approach in the writing is important, you also might need to take a new direction in your marketing. After books have been released for awhile, you have to come up with fresh marketing ideas to keep the sales going. People’s attention spans are short. Book stores give only six weeks of shelf time even for best-selling books. If you can’t make the sales in six weeks, you will be returned to the publisher or you will end up in the bargain bin.
That’s why you should think of creative ways that might produce a different result. Most books are sold outside the bookstore. Speaking engagements tied to the book will sell the book while the book will sell the speaking engagements. If you are an expert in transformational experiences, you might look for an association of people who are searching for new beginnings. Ask to be a speaker at a meeting and promote yourself and your book.
If you are a real estate expert, you might promote your book to real estate investor groups or associations of real estate agents. You also could get it reviewed by real estate magazines or other trade publications. You know your target market and who could benefit from your book; brainstorm ideas that will help your marketing. Also, if you don’t utilize Amazon’s free promotions, such as an author page, your marketing is not going to be as effective.
Writing and selling books take time. You have to have patience to be the front person constantly. You have to talk about your books all the time. One way to accomplish that is through involvement. I meet a lot of people who are not willing to go to events because they are outside or at the wrong time or run too long. They want their social media to do all the work. It won’t. You have to be the face and voice behind the book. You have to get involved in promotion and in other activities where you might sell. I network so much that I often hear people are referring me even when I don’t attend meetings. People have begged me to write the third in my 1776 series of books, so I did. Go to events you normally wouldn’t. I sell more books at flea markets and arts and craft festivals than book events.