PUBLISHED JANUARY 2017
by Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer, Media-Connect.com
Over the past quarter century, I have promoted more than a thousand authors and their books, including my fair share of self-help, motivational, and inspirational authors. I enjoyed promoting best-selling icons Ken Blanchard, Og Mandino, Stephen Covey, Mark Victor Hansen, and Brian Tracy, as all of them had similar things to say. They were consistent with those who came before them—M. Scott Peck, Art Linkletter, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, and Norman Vincent Peale—and those who came after them—Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, and Wayne Dyer. All authors can take advantage of an optimistic, you-can-do-it approach to life and apply it to their writing career and book marketing.
There is no shortage of insightful, touching advice, but when it comes to authors and self-publishers of 2017, perhaps they need a reminder and a little reassurance of what they will need to make this year a truly successful and enjoyable one in regard to marketing themselves, selling books, and promoting their brand.
In the spirit of the greatest works from some of the most prolific, profitable, and powerful writers of the past century, here are some resolutions today’s writers and self-publishers should consider committing to:
- Stop wanting something that you do so little to achieve. It’s great to have a dream, but at some point you need to take real, tangible steps to reach it. If you just keep thinking about something but lack any action to support it, you only waste time and opportunities to achieve your dream.
- Be honest with yourself. Assess where you are in your career. Take stock of your circumstances and look deep within to see where you really want to be. Look at where you fall short, and start to explore what it will take to move forward. Once you acknowledge a problem, then you can begin to solve it.
- Make friends and influence people. The best way to get ahead is to call upon friends, family, colleagues, and the people with whom you’re connected. You may be a great writer, but to get the break you need, you may have to ask others for a favor, an introduction, a loan, or support.
- Do your best, then try harder. Believe in yourself and do your best, but don’t rest there. Try again, and try harder. Analyze things from all angles. Try things in a different way, or try different things. Be persistent and relentless in your pursuits. Past failures don’t guarantee new failures any more than past success guarantees future success.
- Confront your fears. You can become consumed by fears and worries. Why drown in an ocean that doesn’t exist but in your head? The best way to tackle fears is to stop avoiding them. Acknowledge a potential weakness, challenge, shortcoming, mistake, or loss, and look for ways to correct it, get around it, or dismiss it. Get out from under the burdensome shadows of the unknown or the bully that mentally fatigues you.
- Set goals. Plan ahead, or plan to fail. Set different levels of goals—short-term, six months to a year from now, and long-term. Have attainable goals—goals that are tough but worth pursuing—and a few that are lofty or big ideas. Reach beyond your comfort zone.
- Get help. Seek out a coach, find a mentor, consult a therapist, or talk to family—seek support, counsel, and guidance from others. Pay for help, such as an assistant; buy technology that makes you more efficient; hire a publicist/marketer; pay for a targeted advertising campaign; and buy something that helps you to go where you want to be.
- Double down on your core strengths. You can grow in any number of ways. You can take an area you have always been weak or absent from and improve there. You can also take your strengths and continue to ride them to the next level. Neither approach is mutually exclusive of the other, so go ahead and work at both.
- Operate under a sense of urgency. Every three and a half days represents 1 percent of the year. In no time, the year will soon be half over. Operate every day with a sense of need, or even desperation. Don’t let days go by without accomplishing something. Don’t keep putting off what needs to be done now. Stay focused and disciplined, and always pursue your prize.
- Dream it. Do it. Visualize your purpose and goals; now act toward achieving them. Take a step, experiment, try again, and then try harder. Make an adjustment, change your approach, involve others, and find a way to convert your concept into a reality.
So how can you improve right now and for the year to come? How will you become a more proficient writer, a better promoter, and an ardent book marketer?
Start by doing away with the negatives or things that you need to blunt. Try a deny-delay-dilute approach. Look at dieting: You can deprive yourself of having certain foods. If that doesn’t work, dilute the food and water it down, or have a smaller portion. If that doesn’t work, delay. If you succumb to eating the forbidden food, keep going for longer periods of time in between sittings. We need to stretch ourselves away from what holds us back or keeps us down.
Here are the areas to address for 2017:
- Time management
- Balancing efforts tour to write with promotions
- Learning/reading about book publicity
- Social media participation
- Branding and marketing
- Media relations
- Speaking engagements
- Acquiring technology devices/programs/skills
- Developing spinoff products such as book series, audiobooks, films, video series, services, etc.
- Raising or borrowing finds/resources for book marketing.
For each of the above, ask yourself these questions:
- What can I do more of, less of, or differently?
- How can I make a better effort to improve in this area?
- How much more time or additional resources can I dedicate to this?
- What should remain at the same level, and what will be needed to do so?
- How do I avoid the same pitfalls, bad habits, or mistakes that I incurred before?
Some advice to improve in any of these areas includes:
- Find a good model to follow or copy—imitate good habits.
- Set goals and reward yourself for small steps of achievement.
- Break up goals into smaller steps, set deadlines, and evaluate your progress often.
- Be specific. Quantify and qualify exactly what it is you seek to do. Instead of loosely searching, you’ll network more often, set some targets or meters to measure your progress. How many networking events will you attend per month? What events will you go to? What will you do prior to them, at them, and as a follow up to them?
- Be proactive. Don’t just say, “I want to get more media attention.” Specify which media outlets.
- Build flexibility into your approach. If one area takes off in a positive direction, play it out and stay with the hot hand even if it means other areas suffer. You never know what opportunity will come your way; you don’t want to dismiss it just because you have a rigid plan or budget. Recognize when an opportunity presents itself—be mindful and aware.
This year can be a great one for all writers and self-publishers. It will come down to your level of skills, knowledge, experience, connections, resources, drive, and ability to modify your approach. Your mindset can lead a new change. You can continue to wallow in defeat or fear and do nothing, want but not act, and feel jealousy without merit, or you can do something about it and become the writer and book marketer you have always been capable of being.
Your destiny awaits, but you have to rewrite some of the chapters.
Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer for book promotions firm Media-Connect.com. He blogs at BookMarketingBuzzBlog and can be reached at 212-583-2718 or Brian.Feinblum@finnpartners.com.