A Few Things I Learned About Being a Published Author
by David Gruder, author of THE NEW IQ
The first and biggest thing I learned about being a published author is that writing a book is only a small parts of the book process. Here are the most important lessons I have learned about being a published non-fiction author. Truth told, I wish someone helped me master these as I was writing my first book. And, in fact, these are precisely the items I review with the helping professionals and leaders I mentor who are thinking about writing a non-fiction book. I now offer this list publicly for the first time, you so that you might learn from the mistakes I have made as an author.
1. PLATFORM CREATION: The publishing business favors the authors with the largest following, the biggest pipelines for accessing additional customers, ant the best-developed marketing materials for getting people to buy. Because of this, it is crucial to build your platform for selling your book before you finish writing your book – and in many cases, before you submit your book proposal to a publisher. The good news: e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking pipelines, are making platform-building easier than ever.
2. BACK-END SELECTION & DEVELOPMENT: Non-fiction books are rarely ends in themselves because only the rare exceptions sell enough copies to be an author’s primary income source. It’s therefore wisest to think of your book as your ultimate business card rather than your ultimate meal ticket. Before you write your book get clear first about the upscale backend you want your book to generate interest in. Consciously write your book so that it serves your back-end. When you’re writing your book simultaneously develop that backend so it’s ready when your book is published. This should include effective strategies to convert book buyers into upscale customers.
3. PASSION-MATCHING: The people you primarily want to write your book for are those most likely to be interested in your back-end. These are your ideal (or target) readers. Find out what these people are most passionate about: what they’re in the most pain about, what problems they are most interested in solving, and what dreams or aspirations they have the post passion to pursue. These are the benefits or results your ideal readers most want from you! Next, match these benefits and results with what you have the most passion to write about. This is what I call “Passion-Matching:” fulfilling your target readers’ passions by writing what you are deeply passionate about offering them. Your biggest writing challenge will be to make sure your book topic, messages, content, examples, and writing style, live at this intersection. If you write about anything else, you’re writing as a hobby or a selfless contribution to a cause, rather than to make a living. There’s nothing at all wrong with writing for either of these reasons. What’s wrong is bad matchmaking: think you’re writing to make a living without doing the passion-matching that makes this possible. Once your passion-matching has revealed your book to you, make sure your passion about both your topic and your target readers shines through on every page.
4. START YOUR MARKETING IN HOW YOU WRITE: Write your book in a marketing-friendly way, rather than writing it for the sake of the content only. I don’t mean writing a book as though it’s a sales letter. That’s not book writing. I mean writing directly to the pains and aspirations of your ideal readers who, again, are the people most likely to purchase the back-end you are writing your book to get people interested in. I mean structuring your book in the ways that make it easy for the media to extract excerpts to build articles around. The more of their job you do for the media, the more inclined they will be to quote your material.
5. DEVELOP PASSION ABOUT ALL ASPECTS OF THE BOOK BUSINESS: Become acquainted with each step in the book creation, production and marketing process… from soup to nuts. Make peace with the fact that writing a book is about 15% of the book process – and get excited about the rest, which includes securing a publisher, pre-release marketing, pre-production, printing, distribution, post-release marketing, and maximizing your back-end sales. Invest in experts who specialize in whichever parts of the process you don’t have the expertise, passion, objectivity or time to do yourself. You don’t have to do it all, and in fact you shouldn’t even try. But, if you’re truly passionate about your book, its messages and the reason you’ve written it, do what is necessary to ensure that each step in the book process is done with impeccable excellence. In particular, get really, really good at and passionate about effective book marketing. Why? Because absolutely NO publisher will rescue you from this responsibility. A very small handful of exceptions aside, there is no such thing as a successful author who is not an effective marketer.
6. LEARN TO LOVE THE ENTIRE PROCESS: No matter how much of the process you decide to outsource, learn to love every step or don’t bother writing a book. And remember: once you start marketing your book, be prepared to persist, persist, persist, learn, learn, learn, and improve, improve, improve. I wish you all the best and look forward to welcoming you as a fellow author.
David Gruder, PhD, DCEP, is perhaps the world’s only clinical-organizational psychologist specializing in integrity development. Known as "The Integritizer," he is the leader in transpartisan nondenominational strategies for solving the massive integrity deficits that have caused today's vast social, economic, and political challenges. Dr. Gruder founded the "Integritize America Campaign," an integrity stimulus plan for renewing personal, relationship and societal integrity so we can finally co-create sustainable solutions to today's most challenging issues. His latest book, "THE NEW IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and our World," is the world's first step-by-step guide to attaining personal, relationship, and career fulfillment during difficult times without sacrificing ethics and integrity. It has won five book awards in the areas of "social change," (book of the year), "current events in politics and society" (honorable mention), "health & wellness" (book of the year), "self-help" (bronze medal) and "metapsychology" (book of the year). A professional speaker and trainer for almost three decades, Dr. Gruder speaks, trains, consults worldwide on how to "Integritize" citizens, government, communities, businesses, health care, education, religion, journalism, advocacy groups, and leadership. His clients have ranged from family-owned businesses to American Express work teams, from the Sanoviv Medical Institute to the San Diego Office of Education Management Academy, and from local politicians and executives to World Trade Organization ambassadors. His main website is www.TheNewIQ.com.