Fifty years ago, an author’s life was totally different. There were no social media channels, search engines, or even stable connectivity. Now, the world’s going crazy and with it, every single industry changes its face, submitting itself to the present technological advancements.
In 2018, being an author supposes a lot of things. I believe that the competition’s tougher than ever simply because we’re living in the age of all possibilities. Even in this age, the ones who know how to work smart and have the will to work hard will eventually climb up the ladder and establish themselves as “successful” people.
You’re probably reading this post because you’re seeking ways to improve yourself and your work. Well, if you’re an author who’s just getting started, I’d like you to pay attention to my following words, which are obviously meant to bring more light.
In today’s post, I’m presenting 9 ways to sabotage yourself as an author in 2018, and some smarter ways to act in several different circumstances. Pay attention and apply!
1. Failing to Realize that You’re an Entrepreneur & Marketer Already
You start with an idea, which turns into a concept, which then turns into a sketch. Sooner than you’d ever expect, you recognize an urge to write a book. Once you’re “there”, the next “battle” begins.
You are now an entrepreneur, marketer, networker, public figure, and more. Oh, and you are also an author. Keep in mind that once your book is ready to be sold, there will be new responsibilities and requirements that only you can take care of.
Therefore, acknowledging that your professional career has changed the moment your book is ready is one of the keys.
The second key is this: don’t get overwhelmed by the number of things you must do. Plan them, split them in small pieces, figure out the requirements and start meeting them. Indeed, you may have to pick up some educational on different subjects such as marketing or selling. Why? Because unless someone does this job for you, you’ll have to learn how to sustain your success by running your errands in a professional manner.
2. Having a Poor Understanding of Your Target Audience
Considering that you’re looking to sell a decent amount of copies today, you’ll need to “play” the marketplace’s game. Because most of the marketing & selling operations happen online, you must understand and adapt to certain rules.
For example, the target audience selection. I’m asking you now: who is your target audience?
Most authors are usually giving me extremely general answers like “all fantasy lovers”, “people who have emotional issues”, or “everyone who wants to read”. If your audience characteristics are similar in generality, you’re doing it wrong.
Simply put, you can’t market your book to everyone. The #1 of digital marketing is to know who you’re selling to because if you do, you’ll know where to “spend your time” online, connecting with individuals who will potentially become your buyers. Spend your time where people don’t care, and you’ll waste your time, energy, and money.
3. Having a Poor Understanding of Digital Marketing & Sales
As I have mentioned, digital marketing & sales become a part of your professional venture the moment you’re ready to sell your book. Therefore, it would be extremely wise to focus on the proper distribution channels because you only need targeted traffic.
· Content Marketing
Content is everything. Your book is content, your website is content, your articles are content, and basically, everything is content. Content can be seen as information, and the information is showcased through language.
The point is: your marketing strategies will always revolve around content. That means you’ll need to develop a content marketing strategy that’ll blend with several other digital marketing techniques.
· Social Media Networks
Social media networks are the most popular trends in today’s times. As an author, social media platforms may give you and your books an immense boost in awareness and reputation. The key is to develop a social media strategy that is well aligned with your content marketing strategy and to remain consistent.
· Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO exists since search engines have appeared and have started to help us find all the information that we need.
Search engine optimization is surely not a task that an author is used to, yet it is critically important for a prosperous professional growth. Managing to rank your website pages while focusing on specific, targeted keywords that will “get searched” only by your most targeted potential buyers, your efforts will have amazing outcomes.
4. Pursuing Vague Goals Without an Efficient Marketing Plan
Previously I have mentioned the top three distribution channels that every author must keep in mind at some point if not all the time.
Knowing where to look for traffic is one thing and knowing what to do with that traffic is another. Once you reach your targeted potential customers, what do you do? What happens once the person clicks on your social link?
Ideally, you should set up an effective strategy or sales funnel that will do the automatic job of “transferring” the internet traffic, through different pages, to the end page which is the sales page.
5. Throwing a Superficial Pre-Launch Campaign or None at All
Performing a superficial pre-launch marketing campaign can hurt your book publishing performance more than you can imagine.
First of all, if you want to start strong, you need to build a little buzz, a little momentum that will propel you to faster growth. Failing to even strategize a pre-marketing campaign is not going to kill your campaign, not at all. However, considering the strong competition we’re all facing, a pre-release campaign is quite essential to overstep our competitors.
6. Neglecting E-mail Marketing
Do you have an email marketing list? Do you know why an email list is probably the most critical element in your entire authorship journey?
If search engines, social media, and other distribution channels are perfect for connecting with an audience, the email channel is the perfect place to develop those connections.
It’s called email marketing because once you develop these connections, your followers and subscribers become your customers and then it becomes business. Without a list, every website visitor you get may leave and never come away. However, if you retain his/her basic contact information, you’ll be able to re-engage with the person once again.
7. Designing Your Own Cover
If you’re considering designing your own book cover or if you already did, I’d like you to reconsider. Of course, if you’re absolutely confident in your designing abilities, you should go for it.
However, if you’re an author who knows how to write and not to design or program, promoting your poorly designed book cover is severely going to hurt your success chances.
Why? Because you’re not the right person to do the job. You will waste a lot of time and energy learning to design your book cover. Even if you spend a few good weeks or months, your work could be easily replaced with the work of a professional designer who “knows what he’s doing”.
If you’re afraid to invest in design, you shouldn’t expect to be highly successful – simple as that.
8. Expecting Amazon or Other 3rd Parties to Do the Work
Many authors write their books and believe that their job is over. They believe that their ideas, concepts, or stories are enough to accomplish their goals. However, most writers and authors will suddenly realize that it will never happen.
Publishing your book on Amazon or on other 3rd parties that promise to help you sell your books is not a bad strategy. However, you need to play smart no matter what strategy you choose.
So, if I were to launch my book on Amazon, I’d ensure that I have at least 30 people that are ready to read my book and give me ratings. This way, Amazon will skyrocket my book and it’ll offer it a great amount of visibility.
9. Not Testing, Optimizing, and Scaling Your Work
You need to listen to feedback. Every piece of feedback, whether positive or negative, is truly critical for your long-term growth.
The moment you test, you are able to measure what happened. When you see what happened, you are ready to come up with new ideas that will improve your future results (that is optimizing). Then you need consistency and persistence, and you need to get into the work for real.
Once you find the best way to approach a situation, e.g. launching a book and promoting it online, you’ll be able to use the same working strategies over and over again. Most importantly, you will always be able to scale your operations because you’re already controlling them!
Here’s my last advice: work smart and hard. Smart first, as you can always “cut the hours” and bring enhanced solutions to your present issues. Once it gets tough, use your willpower to get out of the dark and use the momentum you receive to keep on working. Work until you’re satisfied, work until you reach your definition of success!
Cathy Baylis is a writer who creates motivational stories and provides programming help. She is the author of hundreds of posts online, and uses her knowledge to craft only motivational content, and nothing else. Cathy believes that people should write only about what they really know.
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