As writers, we’d all like to know how to wave a magic wand and make our books appear instantly. But learning is a process, not an event.
Likewise, making your book “appear” by way of self-publishing is typically not one big decision at all. Rather it takes the shape of many small choices, or “baby steps,” toward your goal.
Here are four tips to encourage you on the journey:
1. Move in the direction of your dream
Just because you don’t know exactly what to do next doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something. Feeling your way along is still making progress. So—decide to do something. You’ll know after you do it whether it was right. If it wasn’t, you can make another move. Make it a practice to fail forward. Keep a list of all your ideas. Whenever you feel stuck, re-read the list and choose one idea for action!
2. Ask and you shall receive
I’ve garnered a wealth of other people’s wisdom just by asking. After locating the contact information for an author or publisher, I craft an e-mail with the subject line “Requesting a courtesy.” I ask if he or she would be willing to spend a few minutes talking with an aspiring writer, and I offer to pay for the call. It has never failed to elicit a positive response.
3. Be open to the possibilities
Warning — wild ideas will come to mind! Don’t dismiss them out of hand. Because I was self-publishing my book, Living a Life of Significance, I assumed I would have to bear the entire cost of the project. After all, wasn’t that why they called it self-publishing? Just then a wild idea raised its goofy head. I pitched a kind of “joint venture” to a colleague with similar interests. He had access to funds to pay the book designer — not an insignificant sum. This infusion of cash freed up some dollars to invest in marketing the book.
4. Ask “what if?” to transform your thinking
Who knows what may develop if you spend a little time asking yourself the question, “What if…?” As I began working on my book, I asked myself, “What if I could create a book customers would want to buy in quantities of 25, 50 or more, instead of just one at a time?” That led to the concept of selling my book to organizations and offering to customize the covers to include the organization’s name. The books could then be used as gifts and relationship-building tools. It worked! My goal is to create a continuing series of books, which organizations can purchase each year.
Now that Living a Life of Significance is published, I feel an energy and sense of accomplishment I could never have anticipated. And as I move into the next phase of my work, I’m again using the four tips to help me promote and market my book. Why not put them to work for you?
Sheree Parris Nudd is the author of Living a Life of Significance (La Tour Press), the first in the “Living Series” quotations gift books. She can be reached at www.designsforgiving.com.