Quite often I speak with my clients and to audiences about successful books. I have to remember that every author has a different idea of success. For some, success means having a book become an Amazon Bestseller or a New York Times Bestseller.
For others, it means selling more than the average number of books most authors sell per year — about 300 copies. For still others, it means selling more than 3,000 during their book’s life time – better than average. And some authors feel successful if they simply get their book published so their friends and family can enjoy reading it. Others won’t be happy unless they sell 100,00+ and creating a speaking career around the book.
However, prior to actually writing or publishing a book you should get a picture of what success looks like to you. By defining publishing success you can set realistic goals for your book. These goals help you when it comes time to create a marketing plan, write a book proposal or promote your book as well. By taking this step first, you can determine if your book is a business or a fun project, a career step or an experiment.
Let Nina Amir help you achieve your success as a published author. She will be speaking with 9 other thought leaders at our Nonfiction Master Course this October on How to Turn Your Blog into a Book Production Machine.
The Original Book Coach
When determining what publishing success means to you, examine what factors play into your book’s success.
Then try to visualize success as an author. What would becoming a successful author look like to you? Try to create a visual picture of success for your book and describe it. See all aspects of success, including how your book’s success will affect you and any parts of your life or business, such as whether a successful book will increase sales of a product or service you offer, affect your free time or marriage, etc. Pick a number of books you’d like to sell per year and include this figure in your vision of success.
Create a Vision of Your Publishing Success
To help you come up with a publishing success vision, complete this sentence:
For me, nonfiction book publishing success looks like…
You might write it in the past tense, as if you’ve already achieved the success. This can be very powerful—to see yourself as already a successful author.
Write as much as you like! Describe your success in detail.
Don’t forget to include this information:
My publishing success also includes selling ___________ books per year.
I’d like my book to sell ___________in its lifetime.
Consider placing this vision of success close to your computer and reading it often. It’s a good idea to read it ever morning when you wake up or start work and every evening when you complete work and just before you go to sleep. This will keep you moving toward your goal of a successful book – whatever that looks like to you.
You can also create a vision board or map of what success looks like to you. This can be a visual representation to help you get into a feeling place with publishing success and remind you daily.
Get From Your Vision to Reality
So, how do you get from the vision of being a successful author to the reality? Work backwards. Once you know what it looks like—how many books you want to sell, for example—figure out how you will accomplish that. Create a step-by-step plan to make it happen.
For each image or item in your vision of success, write down 3-5 things you can do (at a minimum) to help you achieve that goal. If you want to sell 5,000 books per year (or 500), for example, what will you do to accomplish that?
If you don’t know, write down:
- Hire a coach.
- Read 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, Write Your eBook or Other Short Book - Fast!, The Frugal Book Promoter, The Savvy Book Marketer’s series, and Guerilla Marketing for Writers.
- Hire a PR or promotion expert.
- Hire a social media coach.
- Research the tactics used by bestselling authors.
You get the idea. Then create promotion plan for 3-6 months prior to publication of your book, 3-6 months after publication of your book, and 6-12 months after publication of your book. You might also want to have a plan for 1-3 years after release of your book. This is the kind of promotion plan that publisher are looking for in a book proposal. It’s quite simple really—just a list of bullet points that say how you will help sell your book. Whether you plan on self-publishing or becoming traditionally published, however, it’s your success plan. So, create one and then follow it.
When you combine this promotion plan with your written success vision and your vision board, publishing success comes more easily. You have a way to visualize your success and to feel as if you are successful already—so you get inspired and energized—and a way to take action to achieve success. If you still feel you need help, hire a coach to encourage you, provide you with additional help and to make you accountable for your action plan. Before you know it, you’ll be that successful author you dreamed of becoming.
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